Interesting read from across the Pond. If the Times columnist is right than the GOP establishment is really trying to clear the deck for Christie. Of course by limiting the number of debates and making more states winner-take-all it could boomerang on the party.
In particular, what if Christie flops in one of the four or so debate? Without many other opportunities to right his ship, in this scenario, Christie would be in real trouble. Or someone like say Ted Cruz gets hot at the just the right time and narrowly takes a bunch of big winner take all states. There is a chance the party could be setting up a way for its conservative base to unite behind one person and take the nomination away from the establishment.
One thing about last times process was that it gave the party time to really see if someone could make it as a candidate. Newt Gingrich had a couple of good debates but over time people saw that he would be an electoral disaster. Rick Perry looked good initially but the long contest showed he was not ready for the big time.
That kind of vetting may not be there this time. So the GOP establishment might be careful in what it wishes for in a nominating process, they just might really get it.