Though none of these players is the end-all-be-all of Republican politics, they all have a say, and while Mr. Christie has earned a lot of respect and admiration for his tough style and good work in New Jersey, he has given every wing of the GOP one reason or another to pass on any real excitement for nominating him to lead the party.

While it is likely that the large majority of these players would support him in a general election against a Democrat, following Mr. Romney’s shellacking, a 2016 run would require more than grudging acceptance.

And while a Republican nomination for attorney general may have once seemed a fun possibility, any official candidate may recall Mr. Christie’s conspicuous change of heart on the 2012 trail.

The simple fact is there’s no living American who can do no evil in the mind of their future supporters, and though we once gathered around the television to watch “Happy Days” and still enjoy the occasional re-run, like that American show, Mr. Christie has jumped the shark. Which is OK for him, really, because in spite of — or because of — his decision to sever so many ties to the national GOP and its base, the governor of the strongly Democratic New Jersey is looking at a 2013 re-election bid without a single serious opponent in sight.