Chris Christie Buzz More Symptom Than Remedy for GOP

(Mel Evans/AP Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was so committed to not running for president that he joked earlier this year that the only thing he could do to prove he’s serious would be to kill himself.

Nobody is joking anymore. The latest round of Christie-for-president pining is the most serious and urgent yet — fueled by the admission by top aides that, while nothing has changed in the governor’s thinking, yes, the calls for him to reconsider have grown in volume.

Christie, of course, would have some explaining to do if he does admit any daylight into his previously firm denials. He’ll be in the national spotlight this week, with a cross-country fundraising blitz and a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library where 2012 questions will surely follow.

But the buzz is more symptom than it is remedy for the Republican Party. As Herman Cain’s upset at a closely watched Florida straw poll this weekend shows, the party’s conservative base isn’t sold on its latest would-be savior, Rick Perry, whose debate performances have underwhelmed and disappointed.

If Christie does get in — and party insiders aren’t quite as convinced his denials will hold as they were just a week ago — he’d face some of the same obstacles Perry has.

Christie has done virtually nothing to build a national fundraising and activist network. He has little high-profile debate experience to match up with Mitt Romney and other candidates who’ve spent months in such forums.

I’ll be discussing the insiders’ thinking on Christie tonight on ABC’s “World News with David Muir,” along with what’s become the new normal: a budget fight that’s threatening a government shutdown, again.