And now back to our regular programming, the “Romney and Not Romney” show. For those just tuning in, the role of Not Mitt Romney is being played for this half-hour by Herman Cain, who replaced Rick Perry, who inherited the role from Michele Bachmann. Christie could have been the most successful Not Romney to date, but as it turns out, he prefers the role of Not Running. Team Romney was so happy that when they got early word they called major donors to let them know. The campaign can now reach out to those who had been awaiting Christie’s decision.
The Republican race for the presidency is now set. There may be more guest appearances, but the nominee is going to come from the current cast. Despair was the emotion animating the Christie candidacy, which wasn’t so much a shadow campaign as a zombie campaign. No matter how many times Christie tried to kill the movement, it reappeared, enlivened by pundits, party insiders in the thrall of blunt talk, and an unsettled field.