This morning, Jennifer Rubin explained why she believes "Chris Christie should thank Sarah Palin":
... [A] gift with a big red ribbon arrived in the form Sarah Palin's pronouncement that Christie has too much shtick -- if winning a blue state overwhelmingly is shtick, perhaps the whole party needs more of it -- and is a "big government" Republican.... Palin, even among conservatives, and even among hard-line conservatives, is a bit of a joke and not a serious person. She ... serves as sort of a reverse compass for political judgment. Whichever way she points, it's a good idea to go in the opposite direction. When she declares she will "Stand with Rand," she is solidifying Paul as the not-serious candidate and casting Christie in the role of the grown up.I agree that, in general, Sarah Palin is a laughingstock. However, there's one group of voters that doesn't consider her one: Republicans. They've mostly stopped rooting for her to run for anything, but now that she seems settled into her role as a gadfly, they like her again.
Christie hardly needs Rand Paul and Sarah Palin to seem like a grown up. He, along with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, if he decides to run, will have the benefit of being a successful executive with a record of success. Add his role in Hurricane Sandy recovery, and you have an impressive leader....
It isn't clear Christie is going to run.... But in the "better to be lucky than good" department, it sure helps to have the nutty wing of the party go after him.
It's hard finding an A-to-A comparison, but here are some poll numbers from YouGov on Chris Christie's favorability among Republicans. These are from a couple of weeks ago (PDF):
Very favorable: 15%Now, here are June YouGov numbers for Sarah Palin (PDF):
Somewhat favorable: 33%
Total favorable: 48%
Somewhat unfavorable: 25%
Very unfavorable: 13%
Total unfavorable: 38%
Very favorable: 34%Republicans like Sarah Palin a hell of a lot more than they like Chris Christie.
Somewhat favorable: 39%
Total favorable: 73%
Somewhat unfavorable: 12%
Very unfavorable: 8%
Total unfavorable: 20%
(If you care, Palin's overall rating in that poll is 37% favorable, 52% unfavorable; Christie's is 42% favorable, 32% unfavorable. Regarding Christie, 26% have no opinion -- we in the Northeast Corridor forget that Christie isn't a household name nationwide.)
I don't know what's going to happen in the GOP between now and 2016. It's possible that Chris Christie will tack relentlessly to the right starting ten minutes after he's reelected this November, which will allow him to dominate the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. But whatever happens, I see no reason to believe that moderation and establishmentarianism will prevail. I think the inmates have picked the locks and now run the Republican asylum. If you want that nomination, I think you're going to have to get right with Palin.