May 10, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: The GOP’s Ace in the Hole?

With many Republicans pining for a knight in shining armor to parachute into the 2012 race and save us from the (perceived) weakness of the candidate field, has the party overlooked an answer right under its collective nose? Stanley Kurtz, of the NRO Corner, thinks so:

“Wake up, Republicans! The answer to your prayers is already running. And if all the pundits would just stop fantasizing for a minute about everyone who’s not running, maybe they’d pay more attention to who actually is.”

…Tim Pawlenty has already beaten the Democrats in a government shut-down battle. He’s defeated public-employee unions in a high-stakes strike. He was regularly rated as one of the most fiscally conservative governors in the nation. And he managed to do it all in a blue state. Pawlenty is Scott Walker with experience. It’s just that nobody knows it because Pawlenty’s clashes with his state’s public unions and big Democratic spenders happened some time ago. If anything, Pawlenty ought to be getting extra credit for having faced down public-employee unions and profligate Democratic legislators before it was cool.

I like that analogy; just like Rudy Giuliani’s supporters profess, “He was Chris Christie before it was cool,” Pawlenty was Scott Walker before it was cool.

Kurtz concludes with the following:

If he does win, it will be the first time we’ve ever had a president from that kind of urban, blue-collar immigrant background. Reminds me of folks in Pittsburgh, where I grew up.

It also reminds me of Chicago, where I grew up; my parents fall into the category of “urban, blue-collar immigrant background”. Fortuitously for Pawlenty, so do the families of many people in the Midwest, a region undoubtedly essential to the GOP’s chances in 2012.

I also highly recommend the Ramesh Ponnuru piece referenced in the above article. It summarizes the Governor’s background and provides a balanced analysis of him as a candidate. At the risk of making this post too lengthy, I give you the following highlights:

Governor Pawlenty dealt with a Democratic senate for his entire two terms and a Democratic house for his second one. But “dealt with” may not be the best choice of words. Pawlenty set a record for vetoes, partly shutting down the government during a budget battle in 2005. During another budget fight, this one in 2009, Pawlenty withstood pressure from the two previous Republican governors of Minnesota — both well to his left — to agree to raise taxes. He took on the transit workers’ union, which believed that the state should have to provide its members with health insurance for life after 15 years on the job. It went on strike, and lost.

Pawlenty guided Minnesota’s political culture firmly and sharply to the right. From 1960 to 2003, when Pawlenty took over, the state budget grew, on average, by 21 percent every two years. Under Pawlenty that average fell to 4 percent. Some fees rose, and so did cigarette taxes, but Pawlenty managed to resist all income-tax increases. He is one of four governors to get an A on the Cato Institute’s most recent “fiscal-policy report card.” Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana is widely lauded in Republican circles as a budget-cutter. But in each year they were both governor, Cato ranked Pawlenty ahead of Daniels.

Larry Jacobs, who studies politics at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School, comments, “In Minnesota, Pawlenty was always seen as the state’s most charismatic and politically talented politician. Here’s a guy who was a conservative fending off often large Democratic majorities and [he] consistently had over 50 percent approval and dominated public debate. He had a remarkable knack for appealing to people on non-political grounds. . . . Mostly it was the way he talked about public policy and politics. People who fundamentally disagreed with him on public policy found him appealing.”

…The theme of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign so far is that Americans, especially those of middle income, are losing faith in the country’s future. Rising debt, the disappearance of the “strong back” jobs his father and his father’s friends once relied on, the suspicion that free markets are giving way to “crony capitalism”: All have eroded Americans’ confidence in their system.

He also adds some intriguing comparisons of Pawlenty to two other governors most often cited as his chief potential competition: Romney and Daniels:

Like Romney, Pawlenty was elected governor of a blue state in 2002. But there are at least five big differences between them that primary voters may find tell in the Minnesotan’s favor. First, Pawlenty was elected as a conservative whereas Romney ran as a moderate. Second, Pawlenty pursued a more confrontational strategy: He didn’t cut any grand bipartisan deal, as Romney did with Ted Kennedy on health care. Third, and as a result, Pawlenty’s record does not include anything as likely to offend conservative voters as Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law, which made the purchase of health insurance compulsory.

Fourth, Pawlenty won reelection in his blue state, even in 2006, which was a slaughterhouse of a year for Republicans. Romney, by contrast, left the governorship after one term: He was unable to position himself as a conservative for a presidential run while staying popular in his home state. Fifth, Pawlenty has an ability to connect to blue-collar voters that Romney has never demonstrated.

Governor Daniels could be competitive with Pawlenty in a side-by-side comparison. But Pawlenty is in some respects a more impressive political figure. Indiana is a red state that will almost certainly vote for any Republican nominee in 2012; Daniel has never had to win over blue-state voters as Pawlenty did. And Pawlenty has better relations with social conservatives than Daniels does.

Ponnuru may have something with his assessment of Pawlenty vs. Daniels; many individuals – myself included – would argue that T-Paw actually has a more impressive record on spending than Mitch. The primary difference between the two revolves around Daniels’ willingness – even eagerness – to deliver the cold, hard facts with no sugarcoating. To the cynics among us, this appears refreshing and charming. However, we must ask ourselves: do we really want to risk general election success simply for a desire to avoid “typical politician” behavior in our nominee?

In a time when the Republican Party hopes to enact reforms that fundamentally affect voters’ pocketbooks and lend themselves to easy demagoguery, we must not ignore Pawlenty’s blue collar credibility, especially when juxtaposed with Gov. Romney; on a visceral level, the average American will find him/herself more willing to evaluate and accept policy proposals like entitlement reform and corporate tax reductions when they come from a candidate who they feel understands their concerns on a personal level.

And for those who point to T-Paw’s supposed blandness, I offer a few responses:

1. Nobody in the GOP field can match up to President Obama when it comes to soaring oratory, pomp, and theatrics, especially when he has the media in his pocket, ready to assist with spin strategies.

2. Perhaps the American public will adhere to the theory that voters find themselves drawn to candidates that look, sound, and feel like the opposite of their current leaders.

3. Pawlenty can sling the red meat and rile up a crowd when he wants and needs to. Just take a look at this speech he delivered over two years ago (h/t to the amazing Matthew Miller, who passed this along to the Race community a long time ago):
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8SzW98XOAw[/youtube]

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85 Responses to “Tim Pawlenty: The GOP’s Ace in the Hole?”

  1. Metro (click here for my candidate preferences) Says:

    Great post!

    I just put together my candidate preferences. Click my name to check them out.

  2. Craig for Romney 2012 Says:

    Yawn….

  3. Jonathan Says:

    There’s no doubt that Pawlenty is an interesting candidate, and he probably could give Obama a run for his money. But, I feel that he is rerunning the Romney 08 campaign; trying to out-conservative everyone in the field and be something he’s not. His pronouncements on things like DADT smell of pandering and those early videos, which felt like scenes from the next Transformers movie, are again, trying to turn Pawlenty into someone he isnt.

    I’m sure the Governor is comfortable in his own skin, but he isn’t showing it on the campaign trail. He seems like he’s trying to act like the guy he thinks everyone wants him to be, instead of who he is.

  4. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Like Romney, Pawlenty was elected governor of a blue state in 2002. But there are at least five big differences between them that primary voters may find tell in the Minnesotan’s favor. First, Pawlenty was elected as a conservative whereas Romney ran as a moderate. Second, Pawlenty pursued a more confrontational strategy: He didn’t cut any grand bipartisan deal, as Romney did with Ted Kennedy on health care. Third, and as a result, Pawlenty’s record does not include anything as likely to offend conservative voters as Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law, which made the purchase of health insurance compulsory.

    Fourth, Pawlenty won reelection in his blue state, even in 2006, which was a slaughterhouse of a year for Republicans. Romney, by contrast, left the governorship after one term: He was unable to position himself as a conservative for a presidential run while staying popular in his home state. Fifth, Pawlenty has an ability to connect to blue-collar voters that Romney has never demonstrated.

    All true.

  5. Metro (click here for my candidate preferences) Says:

    #3/4: I think that mistake has already been corrected. The video is the real TPaw, who was already an authentic conservative.

  6. Rombot Says:

    Is this for real?

    http://www.prayforhuckabee.com/

    Huckabee would never play the religion card, right? You’ve got to be kidding me.

  7. Liz Says:

    Well this was a really good hard try to make Pawlenty intrigueing.

    You overlooked the eerie similarities to Mark Sanford.

    Also, I think the description of Pawlenty as a severely watered down Romney have some truth to them. Pawlenty is redundant in a non-compelling way.

    For those of us who see Romney’s successful effort to attempt a “grand bipartisan deal” as the “confrontational strategy” and not Pawlenty’s avoidance of such issues, this piece loses it’s magic right about there.

  8. Rombot Says:

    I see there are some trying to rewrite history again. Pawlenty was a solid moderate four years ago when he was campaigning for McCain. This idea that he ran as a conservative and won as a conservative is just not true. But of course, why would we expect people to tell the truth about this type of stuff. It is only the President of the United States we are trying to elect.

  9. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    6. That’s a new fan’s site and not affiliated with Governor Huckabee. The owner used to posted once or was linked years ago once at Huck’s Army, I recall.

  10. Adam X Says:

    Speaking of avoidance, I’m curious why Mitt didn’t run for reelection in 2006…

    It couldn’t be that he knew he was going to have his ass handed to him, right?

  11. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    *post not posted

  12. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Bingo, Adam! :)

  13. Rombot Says:

    The right wing press saw Daniels’ flop at AEI last week and they have moved on to TPaw as the Romney alternative now. It’s funny that it took them 6 months to figure out that he is in fact a conservative hero. I hope people don’t take these guys seriously.

  14. Rombot Says:

    9 – So a lying Huck supporter? Who would have thunk?

  15. Adam X Says:

    Rombot,

    Worry more about the fact that everyone outside your tiny little flock is trying to find someone – anyone – to complicate the delegate math for His Royal Mittness.

  16. Rombot Says:

    15 – You better get excited about all the Romney hate while you can, because when he wins you are going to be pretty depressed.

  17. Adam X Says:

    And by the way, Romney’s anti-ObamaCare cheerleading session on Thursday isn’t going to do him any favors. Politico ran a story saying that Romney is going to avoid RomneyCare in the discussion and focus on the national plan that was signed into law.

    What the hell good is that?

    In order to WIN the nomination Romney is going to have to CONVINCE CONSERVATIVES. Michele Bachmann can complain about ObamaCare. Everyone hates ObamaCare.

  18. Adam X Says:

    16,

    Sure. Just line in 2008.

    Romney is going to have to answer for RomneyCare. Problem is – he can’t run from his record.

  19. teledude Says:

    True wisdom.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8046183/right_left_analyses_of_polls_miss_the_pg2.html?cat=9

    Palin suffers from a large number of people who think her ill and who declare that they will never vote for her for president under any circumstances. Fortunately there is a cure if Palin has the will to take it.

    The cure is called a campaign. Far worse poll numbers than Palin’s have been turned around by a good campaign with public speeches, good advertising, and solid debate performances. One could predict that if she decided to run, a lot of people would find themselves reevaluating their negative judgment of Palin and wondering who this woman is and why she doesn’t resemble the Sarah Palin described by the media.

    Of course, presidential campaigns are really comparisons between two or more candidates. Palin does not have to metaphorically walk on water. She just has to be better, first than the other Republicans, then than Barack Obama.

    She has it within her to do both if she wants to.

  20. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Rombot,

    I think you may be depressed if anyone but Romney wins. ;)

  21. Rombot Says:

    18 – What do you think he is going to talk about on Thursday? You see, Mitt isn’t scared of you and all your RomneyCare scare tactics.

  22. Rombot Says:

    17 – Why on earth does he need to talk about RomneyCare? He can’t change it. You need to move on with your life.

  23. Adam X Says:

    21,

    Hahahaha. Then why won’t he talk about it?

  24. Rombot Says:

    20 – I’ll be fine if anyone but Huck or Palin win.

  25. Adam X Says:

    Why the article in Politico stating point blank that the Romney campaign only wants to look forward?

  26. Rombot Says:

    So how about it Craig? Do all Huck supporters lie about Huckabee like the creators of that website?

  27. Rombot Says:

    23 – What do you want him to say about it?

  28. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Rombot,

    Have you stopped beating your wife?

  29. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Or husband?

  30. Rombot Says:

    I don’t even know why I started talking to you Adam. I should have known better.

  31. Rombot Says:

    28 – ????? Typical Huckster, avoiding the question.

  32. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    You can answer.

  33. Rombot Says:

    32 – I don’t have a wife or husband … there, I answered. Now your turn. Unless you think creating a website that appears to be putting out a message from Huckabee himself pleading for prayers is not lying.

  34. Adam X Says:

    23,

    I want him to explain how his solution is really the conservative way and all the other conservatives are wrong and supporting “freeloading.” I want to hear Romney making all of the Rombot arguments I’ve heard on this very website for a year. I want to hear Romney do that and then (as all of you Rombots assure us) watch his primary elect numbers soar.

    I can’t wait.

  35. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    33. Still beat your girlfriend or boyfriend then?

  36. Matthew E. Miller Says:

    Pawlenty is clearly the most effective politician, from a governing standpoint, in the field. There’s an argument that Daniels has a greater raft of accomplishments but Indiana, regardless of the composition of the legislature, is not Minnesota. There’s nothing Daniels has done in Indiana which Pawlenty couldn’t have done in a more congenial environment for conservatism. So yes, it’s a damn shame that Pawlenty is perennially under-appreciated. But look, we’re in a world where minorities and women and youths and bombast dominate primaries and it is apparently no longer enough to move the needle decidedly to the right.

  37. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    “pleading for prayers”? What does that even mean?

    You want to STOP prayers and praying by politicians or their supporters, Rombot? REALLY?

    That’s un American.

  38. Adam X Says:

    I wonder if there even is anything Pawlenty can do to break out of the pack. If he makes too much of a rattle – by announcing ownership of some policy like immigration for example – he is open to the charge of pandering.

    I like Pawlenty. I thought he did best in the debate the other night – but I fear that Miller is right and that just being acceptable and competent isn’t going to be enough for the base. It’s a shame.

    I don’t know what he can do to shake things up without looking like he is shaking on purpose.

  39. Adam X Says:

    37,

    Rombots can’t argue that evangelicals bloc vote for Huckabee based on religion and then in the next breath assert that he needs to plead for prayers.

  40. Jonathan Says:

    #36:

    My concern with Pawlenty doesn’t have to do so much with his record, which I agree, is about as good as it gets considering he governed Minnesota. My concern is, like I said in #3, that he is trying to portray himself as the purest conservative in the world, just like Romney did in 2008. He seems like he’s far more interested in appealing to the hard-core base instead of talking about his record as Governor.

  41. Rombot Says:

    37 – Are you really that stupid? You don’t know what pleading for prayers means? Come on.

    You sit around here all high and might and self-righteous telling people to never talk about religion. Then when Huck or one of his Hucksters pulls the religion card, you act as if you have no idea what is going on. Typical Huckster.

  42. teledude Says:

    Here in Iowa we call him Panderplenty.

    We’re often surprised to find him standing on random street corners in Des Moines, talking to just anyone passing by about bringing back DADT and outlawing abortion.

    It’s kinda creepy.

    He’s been doing it for a couple years it seems like…

  43. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    41.

    You linked to a prayer site to begin this thread. Right?

  44. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Rombot,

    So you are the one once again bringing up religion.

    [..YAWN..]

  45. teledude Says:

    Watchin’ this Mormon/Baptist Jihad is pretty entertaining…

  46. Matthew E. Miller Says:

    Pawlenty should run as a conservative populist. A mix of Huckabee and Palin. This was always the most logical pathway for a blue-collar guy who made his name on “Sam’s Club Republicanism”. Unfortunately, Pawlenty has this idea that the GOP brahmins might flock to him if Mitt fell by the wayside…and if Barbour fell by the wayside…and if Daniels fell by the wayside…and if they can’t persuade Jeb…and if they can’t persuade Ryan…and if they can’t persuade Jindal. And he’s probably right. He’s done nothing to make himself unacceptable to the establishment and they like him fine. But they’ll always prefer the folks who are already in the club. The folks who went to the right schools or move in the right circles or live in the right cities. The old “cocktail set” is a cliche but a true one. Tim Pawlenty is a perfectly nice guy but he went to the University of Minnesota and has never moved in high finance or been in Congress or DC and he governs a small-state without a major financial center and these handicaps will always make him second or third or fourth or fifth or sixth on the lists of the movers and shakers. It is absurd that the establishment has spent months courting a 5’9 balding, bland over 60 midwestern governor who’s only political asset is a motor-cycle, when Pawlenty is in the race practically begging for their attention. It is an insult. It is insane.

    In some sense, I think Pawlenty has recognized his inability to totally sell the establishment. Thus the Hoffman endorsement and the debt-ceiling position and the opposition to the budget compromise. But he’s forever leaving an escape hatch. He doesn’t want to take ownership of any position that breaks with the establishment. He seems to be envisioning some moment down the road where he’ll be able to say, to the grassroots, “see, I went your way” while saying to the establishment “but I wasn’t very serious about it and, as you can see, I didn’t change the outcome”. This was always just bound not to work. The next time someone asks him about Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee he ought to say, “They’re strong leaders and I know lots of folks don’t like them because they didn’t go the right schools and they’ve never worked in Washington and they don’t have the right portfolio, but they’ve governed in tough environments and advanced the conservative cause”. The next time someone asks him why he’s not getting traction he ought to say, “I don’t have a gimmick and I’ve never worked on Wall Street or Washington”. The next major issue that splits the grassroots and the establishment Pawlenty ought to hound the establishment- not just quietly disagree with them. Hound them. He’ll recover in a general or even before a general because, unlike Palin he talks substance, and unlike Huckabee, he has a record the establishment likes. But for now…my God, he’s a blue-collar governor from the heartland and he needs to run as if there’s actually something in his way.

  47. David Shedlock Says:

    “Is this for real?
    http://www.prayforhuckabee.com/
    Huckabee would never play the religion card, right? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    Because you hate his religion, you assume the worst. This is not a Huckabee site. It is a hoax and a fraud.

  48. LV Says:

    AdamX:

    Why do you have such an obsession with Romney…..You can barely talk about anything else.

  49. Joe Hanna Says:

    Lets not enshrine TPaw as the Lamar Alexander of 2012.

    I first read about TPaw the week of the 2004 Republican convention in Roll Call. He was mentioned by many and touted especially by Charles Krauthammer as Presidential material. I watched his 2003 state of the state address and thought it insane that he wasnt considering running in 2008.

    He came second in line to Sarah Palin for the 2008 VP nomination and has the most top heavy organization in the field right now. This is NOT some unknown quantity just fighting to get attention. Pawlenty is very well known to the establishment and frankly without his accent and mannerisms comes off as a very seasoned politician. You accurately called out his biggest problem. Its not his rolodex, his black book, or his absence from Duke’s at lunchtime.

    His problem is 2 fold and its major
    1) TPaw has a maniacal addiction to stupid one liners and buzzwords on the campaign trail. It was a terrible habit Mitt Romney picked up in 2008. You couldn’t distinguish between his interviews and that of every republican hack consultant who got himself on tv between 5-8pm EST arguing politics.
    2) His agenda has been so lite as its non existent. No hints, no tea leaves. Not a thing that tells us anything about the kind of policy direction he is shooting for. And on the key budget/debt/economic issues he is completely AWOL

    On both of those points I think you know why Mitch Daniels leaves a lot of us with no worries at such an early stage of the campaign. Its laughable to suggest the establishments comfort with him has gotten him this far.

    His CPAC speech was the MAJOR domestic political event of the year. It set the table for the Ryan plan. It set the bar for what the winning 2012 nominee needs to demonstrate in terms of the case for changing the direction of the nation. Mitch Daniels is far far far from perfect. But with steady governance, focus and a sense of timing he has the center of gravity RE: the pivot we need to make in the palm of his hands and TPaw refuses to take it from him.

  50. Franklin Says:

    It’s a shame that we can’t get the whole story on Pawlenty. Everybody loves to talk about his A from Cato yet ignores the C+ he got from Cato for excessive spending.

    Here are a few comments fron Jason Lewis on Pawlenty’s record.

    “Nevertheless, Mr. Pawlenty has presided over back-to-back biennial budget increases of 12.4% and 9.8% respectively. Last year the governor’s proposed budget survived essentially intact but still spent the state’s $2 billion surplus, with half the general fund increase going to education. Minnesota, with five million people, now has a biennial budget of nearly $35 billion.

    He calls for accountability in education, but does little to buck the most powerful lobby in state politics, Education Minnesota. Indeed, Mr. Pawlenty has courted the unions, telling the Minnesota Business Partnership that “I can’t have the Republican governor talk about changing the school system without having the support and help of the teachers’ union and my friends on the other side of the aisle. It just won’t work.”

    Pawlenty has hardly transformed the state. The Independence Party has turned
    Democrats on their heads. This was created for Ventura’s successful run for governor and seems to have hurt Democrats more than Republicans. Pawlenty won in 2002 by a 44-37 margin but former Democrat congressman Tim Penny ran on the Independence ticket and got 16% of the vote. In 2006, Pawlenty won by 21,000 votes and again the Independence Party candidate picked up 142,000 votes. In 2010, the Republican lost by about 7,000 votes and the Independence Party candidate picked up 12%.

  51. Mike-in-sota Says:

    Perfect? No. Conservative? Yes.

    For whomever stated that Pawlenty ran as a moderate for governor in Minnesota, how wrong you are: He actually ran as what he is – a conservative – BOTH times (I know because I actually live in Minnesota and am somewhat active in my local precinct – T-Paw was the Republican House Leader before being elected governor, so he already had a legislative record of conservatism behind him). And I was shocked that he won – BOTH times.

    Pawlenty supported McCain in ’08 primarily because they’d been friends since T-Paw first met him in the early ’80s (and as you may recall, McCain – back in the ’80s – had a pretty solid, conservative voting record). Furthermore, as I recall, Fred Thompson was the only conservative running that year and his campaign bus forget him at the station. So it wasn’t like T-Paw was lining up behind the party’s Ford candidate to block the next Reagan. There was no “next Reagan” running…

    If you doubt Pawlenty’s conservative chops, drive up to MN sometime (now would be good; the lakes are starting to thaw) and ask one of our friendly, unionized public service employees what they think of Gov. Pawlenty – but be sure to pack your kevlar vest and bullet-deflecting headgear first.

    Pawlenty was battling the public unions and taking heavy fire back when Christie was still slamming Hostess Ho Hos by the box.

  52. TEX Says:

    In Minnesota that elected governor “Jesse the body Ventura” for Governor and Al Franken for Senator,anybody right of Barney Frank is”conservative”.

    T-Paw is very moderate at best,probably liberal-moderate.
    NO conservative(true conservative,not fake,phony and a fraud)can win
    state office in these liberal states.Get real,cut the crap out!!!

  53. mcon Says:

    I’m not entirely comfortable with calling myself a libertarian but I’m finding myself liking Rand Paul more and more. Someone should do a FPP on this:

    http://reason.com/archives/2011/05/09/the-most-interesting-man-in-th

    I imagine he’ll pick up his father’s mantle in the next go round.

  54. Mark in PA Says:

    Great article!

    TPAW definitely has some potential. Personally, the more people say how bland and boring he is, I think it’s just going to be that much easier for him to exceed the low low expectations. I do not share those opinions.

    Comparisons in the article, I think, are fair from the perspective of a TPAW supporter.

    I would be proud to have him as Pres. Glad he flipped on Cap and Trade, and I’m not a fan of his past environmental stances – but I admittedly don’t know a ton about those stances anyway yet. But he’s a competent governor who is fiscally tight, socially conservative, and believes in a strong military. That I like.

    My current list is 1) Romney, 2) Daniels, 3) TPAW. All 3 competent governors – I hope that one of these three guys takes it, because I think defeating Obama is going to come down to who the electorate thinks can handle the economy the best (nobody can speak better to that than Romney right now, which is why he’s my #1). If somebody other than these 3 wins the nom, I’ll vote for them… but it will be without hope that they will beat Obama.

  55. mac Says:

    The first Tpaw speech I watched was via a link provided by MWS and I was very impressed with the guy: ‘real’, down to earth, and obviously very smart. Problem is, I haven’t seen that guy since Tpaw started his campaign and I certainly didn’t see the same guy during the recent SC debate. Maybe it first jitters and/or listening to his handlers too much, but he came across as saccharin and contrived. The guy just needs to be himself… like real soon.

  56. mac Says:

    55
    *it’s first debate jitters*

  57. Mark in PA Says:

    @ 6, 37, 47
    I see no problem at all with a religious person wanting a man of faith in office and praying for your preferred candidate.

    In my home, we’ve said a lot of prayers for the leaders of our nation.

    Huck naturally appeals to evangelicals because he is “one of their own.” Religious bigotry only comes in if people are willing to ONLY vote for one of their own. It would be the equivalent of mormons in Nevada who call themselves conservative, but then vote for Harry Reid just becuase he’s mormon. (I’m not saying religious people can’t be democrats – and I read that most mormons in NV supported Sharron A anyway.)

    I’m saying that bigotry is when you don’t look at the politics at all compared to your personal politics and only vote based on religion. There are people like who support every candidate, I would imagine.

    Bottom line… praying for your preferred candidate should be encouraged, not discouraged! I will pray for the GOP nominee, whoever they be!!!

  58. Heath Says:

    No-one has had a worse last 3/4 weeks than T/Paw (not counting Trump as I never took his seriously).

    He had a chance to make a move but failed miserably.

    Will he get another once the big guns are in??

  59. Smack1968 Says:

    TPAW has had a great Spring. NAME ID up to 49%. The best FAVS/UNFAVS ratios in the race. Just hit his highest marks last two weeks in IA,MZ,NH&NV. TPAWS is rising…..yep.

  60. asparagus Says:

    Why does Pawlenty get a pass for admitting that cap and trade was a “clunker”? It is pandering to admit you “made a mistake” without offering any explanations and Tim Pawlenty shouldn’t be let off the hook. All I know about Tim Pawlenty is that he’s checked all the boxes of the current conservative movement. I could do that. Why the change of heart on this issue and what makes him different from the others?

  61. Matt "MWS" Says:

    asparagus,

    Are there any boxes that Mitt has missed?

    Driving out all the illegals? check.

    Reagan Economic Zones? check.

    Doubling Gitmo? check.

  62. rightgal Says:

    Pawlenty is just ‘mitt-lite’. Why go for the lighter version, when you can have the real thing? ;)

  63. Mark in PA Says:

    @ 61
    Driving out illegals?? Mitt doesn’t support that, nor do any reasonable candidates. Border fence, security, and a “get in line with everybody else – no fast track” is his position.
    Reagan economics… easy one. Everybody better be on board with that.
    Doubling gitmo… who else supports that?? I thought Mitt was the only one. If that’s a box to check, is Mitt the only one checking it? And btw, since we got intel on Osama out of gitmo, Mitt’s comments there are looking pretty smart right about now.

    I do think comment 60 has some merit, but candidates are people… don’t expect perfection unless you want to be let down hard, or wish to stay blind and/or delusional about how perfect your candidate is. (Mitt has his flaws… but I like him the best so far).

  64. fayette county iowa gop chair Says:

    T-Paw is on the move!
    http://www.iowansforpawlenty.com

  65. teledude Says:

    Romney’s problem has always been his believability.

    Yes, he says the right things now, but is it from his heart or just political posturing? It’s very hard to tell. Part of this may be unfair, due to his somewhat rigid (some say plastic) persona. He just comes across as inauthentic, or insincere. Add to that a perception he has changed some very core values and, well…

    Pawlenty is suffering the same fate.

    We in Iowa know that, as Governor of our neighboring state, he wasn’t the rock ribbed, fire breathing conservative he is portraying himself to be now. His affinity with McCain is but one piece of evidence.

    Smack likes to brag that T-Paw won reelection in 2006, a down year for Republicans nationwide, but he doesn’t mention he won by the narrowest of margins in a race that saw a Minnesota Green Party candidate split the liberal vote. In a normal election year he would have been toast.

    I think this is why the establishment Republicans are looking elsewhere.

    Jeb, Christie, Daniels… who will save the party from those crazy Tea Party conservatives? (those hillbillies..uhg! Their slacks barely have a crease!)

    I used to hang out over on Free Republic, but left that site because it was too ideologically provincial. No pragmatism there, many there look for ideological purity above anything else. That’s why they end up supporting the Duncan Hunters or Tom Tancredo’s, no chance losers who never had to make a tough vote or take an “unpopular” (to conservatives) position. Bachmann falls into this category.

    But I am finding here on Race (a nominally more “moderate’ site) that most of you guys suffer from the same rigidity, only here this mysterious “electability’ seems to be the holy grail, coupled with a sort of elitist attitude.

    That’s why a Midwestern Governor like Daniels, who spent time in banking and in D.C. (he’s in the club) is looked at more favorably than someone like Pawlenty by the establishment, and subsequently on here.

    For Pawlenty to survive past Iowa I think it will take a lot of luck, perhaps both Romney and Daniels making some type of unforced error or gaffe, which seems unlikely.

    He’s just not catching on, and Smack can compare him to Huckabee’s numbers at a similar time, but T-Paw is not going to have the secret army of home schoolers and BVP evangelicals swarming the caucus sites in February to secure an upset.

  66. Rombot Says:

    Who is responsible for the “Pray for Huckabee” site? It is registered to this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Brown

    And before anyone thinks he is actually attacking Huck in some twisted way, read this:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/floydandmarybethbrown/2011/02/10/mike_huckabees_unanswered_question

    Typical Huckster

  67. Smack1968 Says:

    Anthony,

    Great Article..thank you sir.

    46# Matthew Miller,

    Incredible post!

    Insightful, articulate.

    I wish I could write like you but I’m not too bright.

    Tele,

    Good post….but of course you are wrong.

    TPAW will get his faction of home schoolers & BVP Evangelicals….He will get his faction of the Farm vote, Business man/women vote, swing/Indy votes….and hard core Conservative votes.

    TPAW is sitting pretty in Iowa.

    Slow & steady will win the race.

    fast and flashy will burn out.

    Iowa is TPAW country!!!!

  68. Martha Says:

    I’m not feelin the Pawlenty thing. Jonathan is right, he doesn’t know who he wants to be. He seems very uncomfortable. He might be good on paper, but
    in person, he is a disappointment.

    I once thought he might be a threat to Romney, but not anymore, and I don’t see a path to the nomination for him.

    The fake southern accent thing was an eye-opener.

  69. teledude Says:

    Today’s word is …inauthentic.

    Romney and Pawlenty need to take a page from Huckabee here.

    He’s learned that sincerity is the most important thing, and once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    No one can fake sincerity like the ol’ Huckster.

  70. Rombot Says:

    And then Huck has the audacity to cry when someone dares to attack his record. He better disassociate himself from Fred Brown if he wants to be taken seriously at all as a politician that is above the fray.

  71. Smack1968 Says:

    tele,

    What are you on today?

    TPAW is authentic….that’s why he has no problem being the last man to shake the hands of the voters in any room he is in. The man is pure class.

    TPAW did not go to the Ivory colleges.

    TPAW did grow up in a middle class family.

    TPAW did lose his mother at a young age and is full of empathy for others bercause of this tragedy.

    TPAW was not born with a silver spoon inhis mouth

    Some of you don’t like his style….ok…fine

    Some of you think hs is a RINO…which is so laughable I don’t know where to begin.

    TPAW is the real deal….get used to it….45th President of these United States of America.

  72. Mark in PA Says:

    Biggest criticism of Romney is that he is all brains with no heart. Palin is (mis)characterized as all heart and no brains.

    But when the economy is in the tank, the electorate will vote for somebody smarter vs somebody more likeable.

  73. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    She’s not likeable. Nor electable.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/13/fav-palin_n_725513.html

  74. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Neither is this guy:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/28/fav-romney_n_725770.html

  75. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    To beat this..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/05/fav-obama_n_726774.html

  76. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Ya need this..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/03/fav-huckabee_n_725761.html

    Everyone else is only spinning their wheels with the possible exceptions of Huntsman and Daniels.

  77. blue Says:

    Yeah, i don’t know why folks are scanning the scene for person x when tpaw fits the bill fine if they don’t like romney or huck…what the heck does daniels have over him? nothing

  78. Mark in PA Says:

    Would vote for Huntsman or Daniels any day over Huck.

    I sincerely hope Huck gets in… I think he doesn’t have a shot.
    Too little money, too much hype, not enough scrutiny last time. He’ll fold. And a good thing, because I can’t see him actually beating Obama.

  79. Rombot Says:

    77 – Apparently no one realized how heat TPaw was until yesterday when the right wing media let everyone know.

  80. Rombot Says:

    Heat* = great

  81. Lori* Says:

    Anthony’s 3 points are unimportant. They could apply to anyone and not especially Pawlenty.

    And as to #3, Pawlenty’s ability to deliver red meat speeches, having seen his recent attempts at this, they come off affectatious and insincere. As if he is trying to be something he is not.

    Pawlenty’s real challenge in a GOP primary is to prove he has something the others do not. And he doesn’t. Is he the ONLY one to offer leadership-NO, conservative vision-NO, successful record-NO, ability to win general election-NO. All of his best qualities are also qualities of his rivals. I don’t see him rising to the top.

  82. Matt "MWS" Says:

    Mark in PA,

    #61 was a reflection of how hard Romney worked to overcome his more moderate record. The candidate who ran for Senate and governor would never talk about “Reagan Economic Zones.” Quite the opposite, actually.

    The point is, Asparagus was criticizing TPaw for just “checking all the right boxes” whereas his candidate made larger than life checkmarks just to compensate for his prior heresies. Of course, those prior heresies came from “checking all the right boxes” for a different electorate.

    Mitt has ALWAYS been about checking the right boxes.

  83. Craig for Huck/Beat Obama! Says:

    Slim or no chance:

    General Election: Pawlenty vs. Obama

    Poll Date Sample Obama (D) Pawlenty (R) Spread

    RCP Average 3/10 – 5/9 — 48.8 34.6 Obama +14.2
    Reuters/Ipsos 5/5 – 5/9 600 A 51 33 Obama +18

    ABC News/Wash Post 4/14 – 4/17 1001 A 53 38 Obama +15

    FDU/Public Mind 3/21 – 3/28 800 RV 48 34 Obama +14

    Rasmussen Reports 3/22 – 3/23 1000 LV 45 35 Obama +10

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/president_obama_vs_republican_candidates.html

    PPP (D) 3/10 – 3/13 642 RV 47 33 Obama +14

  84. Ben Says:

    Just figured I’d drop a line (email) to the owner of the prayforhuckabee.com website and this what what I said and how he replied:

    Message: Is the prayforhuckabee.com site that you have put on the net a direct link to Mike? or was this just put out on your firms’ own valition? I’m wondering if Mike is really asking for prayers to determine if he should run again.

    I put the website up, but Mike Huckabee approved the message. He has said similar things in the media for the at least the last month. –Floyd Brown

  85. Heath Says:

    T/Bore & Ambassador Hunstman are both Mitt-lite.

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