Frank Bruni's column this morning is nominally about the estimated 1-in-4 potential of a Jeb Bush '16 candidacy (which comes with a 1-in-100 chance of anyone caring, even among junkies), but in actuality his column is about a GOP establishment that is contemplating the much greater potential of a Chris Christie candidacy with dread and fright:
[He’s] ... scaring some Republican power brokers, and not solely or even mainly because he’s iconoclastic. It’s because he’s so very loud, so very proud, a ticking time bomb of self-congratulatory bellicosity and gratuitous insult.
That would be insults lobbed inside the tent, and far too early. There was already the Rand contretemps--which if anything only fired the passions of the non-neocon right--and a few days ago Christie ridiculed before a gathering of Republicans the eminently ridiculous Bobby Jindal, which may seem as natural as a George W. malaprop, but, come on, it's just not done.
Worse, Christie's insults seem less strategic than Tourette-like. The prospect of this particular "Fat Man in the Middle" fracturing his party even further through unmindful self-indulgences is, as Bruni reports, putting a lot of people--and money--on edge.
Of course Rand Paul doesn't do much better at checking thoughtlessness before the klieg lights turn on. And while Ted Cruz's malevolence is decidedly strategic, it could prove just as fracturing. That leaves a gaggle of other unpolished ambitions--Rubio's and Ryan's and Walker's, for example--which, as the usual course of "You're-it" GOP presidential politics would have it, only elevates the odds of a Jeb Bush compromise candidacy.