It's happened. The build-up and anxiety over whether folks like Chris Christie and Sarah Palin are going to throw their hats in the ring for the GOP presidential primary has reached critical mass.Read the rest of it here.
And now, the will-they-or-won't-they game has flipped from fun and energizing to damaging to the party. Christie and Palin now do conservatives more harm than good.
With the question marks still lingering in the ether, and pundits on both sides of the aisle still performing their daily trapeze act -- swinging back and forth between "yes, he's running" and "no, she isn't" -- the focus on Christie and Palin has taken valuable resources and attention away from the rest of the field.
Because of those question marks, conservatives haven't been able to invest fully in the candidates who are running. They haven't been able to imagine one of them as president. They've held back support, money and endorsements, because they still don't know that the field is settled.
When it comes to Christie the only thing I've ever heard him say is "I'm not running", so I'm not sure the speculation surrounding him is his fault. The real problem seems to be the people, many of them part of the establishment GOP, who insist on pushing for a Christie candidacy and keeping the speculation alive. They're practically begging him to get in, and he keeps saying "no". Somehow he's got to make it official.
Palin as offered several possible dates (including today) that she promised to give a final decision, but as each date approached she'd push it off again. I think she's just playing everybody and has no real plans to get in. It's getting awfully late to line up campaign cash and top quality staffers.
So, my advice to Republicans is to pick somebody from the existing field and back them until they win or drop out. And if they don't make the cut, plan on supporting whoever does, because it will take a unified GOP plus a lot of disenchanted independents and Dems to flush the Obama curse from the White House.