Earlier this year, before the Republican 2012 field began to take shape, many conservatives hoped a better candidate would enter the race--someone without the tricky health care record of frontrunner Mitt Romney, with more charisma than Tim Pawlenty, less insistant on abolishing the Federal Reserve than Ron Paul. And one by one, the maybe-candidates dipped their toe in the water and either ran away screaming--like Haley Barbour or Mitch Daniels -- or quickly lost that fantasy candidate sparkle once they actually got on the campaign trail--like Jon Huntsman. On Saturday, after months of pleading from some conservatives, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has entered the race. That's still not good enough for Karl Rove.
The Hill and Politico note that Rove is still talking up two more fantasy contenders for 2012: Rep. Paul Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. On Fox News Monday night, Rove admitted Republicans have "a good field." But!
I don't think that's the end, though, of the field. I think we're likely to see several other candidates think seriously about getting in, and frankly, they have time to do so.November 22 is the first deadline to file papers to get on a ballot -- that's the last day somebody could get in without starting to lose their place in some of the early primaries or caucuses. ...Palin has got a pretty active schedule in early September. I think Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are going to look at it again, and I wouldn't be surprised if all three of them gave serious consideration to it.
Both Ryan and Christie have said they're not running--though the Weekly Standard's Stephen F. Hayes says Ryan is on vacation right this very moment, talking to his family about reconsidering his decision to opt out of 2012. Watch Rove hope they change their minds: