So far, 2016’s most buzz-generating possible Presidential candidate in Governor Chris Christie. Every move the guy makes in recent weeks has been viewed through the lens of implications for 2016. Was he too chummy with the President? Was he too combative with the Speaker? Is he moderating himself to appeal to independents?
Back in 2011, it looked like Chris Christie could have stepped into the Republican primary and carved out an immediate niche as a forceful voice opposing government largess. At the time, some idiot even said that political memories are short, so if he wanted a shot 2012 was his time. That might prove true now, as Christie finds himself as the most prominent nationally-recognized Republican in the public consciousness.
It’s the same spot Sarah Palin found herself in following the 2008 campaign. Suddenly, the governor of Alaska was the standard bearer for a party in disarray, while still trying to play the role of maverick outsider. Palin proved ill-equipped. (After all, it’s tough to look Presidential by shutting down “lamestream media” contact to communicate through Facebook posts. Crashing the Iowa straw poll to steal headlines wasn’t particularly helpful either.)
Christie isn’t likely to step into the same pitfalls as Palin, but he has a 2013 re-election effort that will likely be colored by the shadow of 2016. Factor in that the national media already accepts Christie as the GOP front runner, and it makes for a pretty big target the governor will have to lug around with him for a while.