Christie would not transform New Jersey into a presidential swing state — a persistent but hopeless Republican dream. But he could contribute to the repositioning of the Romney campaign in two important, seemingly contradictory ways. Christie would provide an infusion of blue-collar combativeness, which is foreign to Romney and pleasing to GOP conservatives. At the same time, Christie would represent a move to the ideological center. He is not a global warming skeptic. He supported an assault weapons ban in his state. He is an immigration moderate and has friendly relations with New Jersey's Muslim community.
Christie, at his worst, is capable of nastiness and name-calling — tendencies he would need to keep in check on a national ticket. But who else in the Republican Party combines a tea party tone with a relatively moderate public record? What other choice would cause Republicans to pray for 10 vice presidential debates?
Everyone on Romney's short list of prospective running mates is impressive. But Christie has the skills of a vice president.
Michael Gerson's email address is email@example.com.