A New Jersey lobbyist and former state Republican political operative has launched a website designed to entice the state's governor, Christopher J. Christie, into running for president in 2012.
In an announcement letter posted at DraftChristie2012.com, Donald Sico, who was the top GOP aide in the state Assembly before launching his own government relations firm, writes that Christie "will not leave the job he started in New Jersey easily. We have to convince him. We have to sway him with our numbers." He claims that he's not looking to raise money and merely wants potential supporters to register their interest.
Sico writes that Christie, who has served less than a year as governor, is a particularly attractive '12 option for Republicans because of the other candidates' deficiencies:
I love Sarah Palin, but the media despises her and many voters find her unacceptable as a Presidential candidate.
I respect Mitt Romney, but "Obamacare" is the illegitimate child of his Massachusetts health reform experiment. It will weigh like an anchor around his neck.
I admire the intelligence of Newt Gingrich, but baggage, baggage, baggage.
Mike Huckabee. Nice guy, but never caught on. And the rest ... none of them excite me.
Christie has repeatedly said he's not interested in running in '12, even as he's become a national sensation within the Republican Party. His war with the state's public employee unions (and particularly the teachers union) has won him lavish praise from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the Wall Street Journal, among others, and his public communication skills have been a revelation: Several Christie YouTube clips have become political porn for the right, even as they've attracted ire from some on the left. (Ed Schultz tore into Christie and called him a "fat slob" on a recent show.)
Of course, it would be easy to ascribe a cynical motive to Sico's move. By stoking presidential chatter, he's flattering Christie's ego; and a friendly governor can be invaluable to a man in Sico's line of work. In that sense, it's fair to note that Sico has in recent years contributed money to many Democratic candidates -- including Reps. Rob Andrews and John Adler and several state legislators (among them, Wayne Bryant, a former state senator who is now serving time for funneling state money to a hospital that provided him with a no-show job).