OK -- before this goes any further, let me tell you what I think's gonna happen.
I think people will continue carping about the current GOP candidates.
I think Rick Perry will have a hard time holding onto his "frontrunner" status -- IF he still even enjoys that status. Also, others (beyond Romney and maybe Cain) will find it hard to break out of the pack.
And I think Chris Christie will not run. Here's why:
1) Family. Chris Christie is a passionate guy. And he's particularly passionate about his family. He has already said that his children are at an age that would make a presidential run difficult, at best. He must consider his obligations to his wife (who may not be thrilled at the prospect of a presidential bid) and his children. His family needs him, and he knows it.
2) Finishing the job. There's a lot more work to be done right here in New Jersey. Christie has a full agenda and more than enough challenges to face in the Garden State where he reigns as the most powerful governor in America. Tackling the state's fiscal mess, improving education, eliminating waste and corruption, creating jobs and (let's not forget this one) actually lowering property taxes: Yeah, there's work to be done!
3) Funding. Barack Obama is expected to raise one billion dollars for his campaign. And Obama's organization is already in place. Romney has already tapped many big donors and is far ahead of his GOP rivals in raising dough. Romney's organization is also in place. Raising money and setting up an organization are big, big tasks that are not undertaken without lots of planning and lots of people on board. It's getting late in the game.
4) Findng time. Running New Jersey (especially according to the Chris Christie template) is more than a full time job. Christie is a whirlwind. He has a great staff and a sharp mind and enormous energy and he go do lots of things at once. But it's hard to imagine how he can run New Jersey and run for president. That's daunting!
5) Following his own rules and statements. Christie does not like to revisit decisions. If he is rethinking a run, he's doing it because very powerful, serious people are urging him to do so and he feels he owes them that. But this is a man who does not like to change his mind or go back on his word. He says he's not running -- and I think he means it.
Christie will comment on all this soon. He won't be evasive. He won't tease. And right now every indication is that he will say "No."