09/27/2011 01:25 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2011

Anyone-But-Romney Crowd Needs Work

You have to wonder if the frenzied search for a Romney alternative has something to do with his aloofness toward pundits and operatives who are used to being major players in national GOP politics.

Chris Christie is the new darling for veterans such as pollster Frank Luntz, writer Bill Kristol and many others who are worried that Rick Perry can't hack it, possibly leaving them with a nominee who doesn't care about them if they can't find someone to beat Romney. And with primary filing deadlines fast approaching, time is running out.

The resistance to Romney could be as much about ego as anything else. Since his days as Massachusetts governor, he has assembled a dedicated inner circle that does not include the party's usual Washington suspects.

There's an advantage for Romney in keeping his distance. In both parties, the best known operatives often tend to their own image-making at the expense of their candidates. And some are notorious leakers, building and maintaining media contacts for their own career purposes - even if that means trashing the campaign they are working for at the time.

Romney has done fairly well without the GOP's Washington running dogs. From his perspective, so what if they want to chase parked cars like Christie.

"I don't want to say it's the Beatles arriving in New York City, but Republicans are so excited about the possibility of Christie getting into the race. I've not seen anything like this in my time in politics." - GOP pollster Frank Luntz (Christian Broadcast Network).

Craig blogs daily on Trail Mix at