Can Chris Christie win?

Christie is someone that Republican big-wigs can talk themselves into supporting. He is not a simpering, vain ideologue like Ted Cruz. He doesn’t give off a religious vibe that creeps out the most deep-pocketed donors. He’ll avoid meandering at length on social issues, and he’s far too self-aware to talk about “legitimate rape” or some other insanity. Christie has a personal toughness that seems lacking in an aspirational good-boy candidate Marco Rubio. That quality looks like something that could hold up against attacks from Hillary Clinton — and Donald Trump.

Christie has nothing like the saccharine piety of John Kasich. He does not have the spookily melodious cadence of a megachurch preacher as does Ted Cruz. His bridge-and-tunnel personality is spiky. Irascibility is not necessarily an obstacle to the presidency. It is sometimes loved by the media because it seems more authentic and risky than the usual wide smile. (See McCain, John.) But that personality — which is mostly what Christie is selling — can get you into trouble, too…

If the past few election cycles have taught us anything about the Republican primary, it is to be patient. We should be skeptical of political deaths, like John McCain’s in 2007, or political surges, like Newt Gingrich’s in 2012. But Christie still looks like a longshot to me. His personality is likely to wear on New Hampshirites over time, as did Rudy Guliani’s. His record as governor does not automatically recommend him.

Christie comes off as the character actor in the 2016 race. All personality, but no purpose in the larger plot. Republicans will enjoy watching him chew some scenery. They won’t cast him in the lead role.

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