The decision of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, fresh off a choice NOT to run for the GOP Presidential nomination, to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for President is a major victory for Romney in his battle with Rick Perry and other conservatives in the party.
Christie adds legitimacy to Romney as someone who can appeal across the political spectrum within the party, and certainly puts Christie on a short list of potential Vice Presidential choices for Romney, if he ends up the nominee, even though it seems likely that Christie would not wish to be a “second fiddle”, when he is the powerful Governor of a state which makes that office very consequential in the state constitution.
However, it can also be seen as the “Establishment” Northeastern Republicans trying to co-opt the Tea Party Movement, which is the extreme right wing within the party, and secretly terrifies many in the party.
Since so many Wall Street types and Establishment people were pushing Christie to run, it is assumed that they are now switching to Romney, even if with some reluctance and doubt, in order to stop Perry and other conservatives from taking over the party apparatus.
The question still is there: Will the Tea Party Movement be willing to back Romney, with his changing views on social issues, on health care, and with his Mormon faith? If not, it means a threat of a third party movement which could defeat Romney. So will Romney move to the right further, or ignore the Tea Party Movement and attempt to run as a centrist candidate to win independents, moderates, and conservative Democrats?
It will be interesting to watch tonight’s debate in New Hampshire, sponsored by Bloomberg Television and the Washington Post, as to how Romney answers questions, and deals with attacks by Perry, Herman Cain, and others, including Jon Huntsman, who wants very much to start to be a real moderate alternative to Romney!