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August 15, 2011 08:36 PM UTC

What Happened to Tim Pawlenty?

  • by: Colorado Pols

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty began campaigning for the Republican nomination for President as soon as the 2008 race ended with Barack Obama victorious. T-Paw was thought to be a strong potential candidate, a favorite among the Republican establishment as a popular politician from an important midwestern state.

So what happened? How did Pawlenty go from rising star to record-setter (as the fastest Presidential candidate to end a campaign following the Ames straw poll). Our friends at “The Fix” think Pawlenty’s failures were fundamentally about being the wrong type of candidate at the wrong time:

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s decision to drop out of the presidential race on Sunday – nearly six months before the first votes are set to be cast in the 2012 contest – was the result of a fundamental misreading of the Republican primary electorate and a failure to properly manage the expectations game.

Pawlenty’s presidential candidacy was an open secret in Republican political circles long before he made it official in late May. His recruitment of highlyprized staff talent earned him buzz in the early months of 2011 as he worked to emerge as the Republican alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

But, problems soon became apparent.

Pawlenty’s demeanor – he was the definition of “Minnesota Nice” – didn’t fit with an electorate who wanted confrontation with President Obama at all costs. Pawlenty watched as Rep. Michele Bacmann soared past him in the race – channeling the anger of voters who saw compromise in any form as capitulation.

A stroll around the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday showed just how badly Pawlenty had miscalculated what the electorate was looking for.

Pawlenty wasn’t just boring — he was either unwilling or unable to take the shots at frontrunner Mitt Romney that he needed in order to get his own piece of the spotlight while casting himself as a real alternative to the former Massachusetts Governor. At the same time, he tried attacking Rep. Michele Bachmann, an unwise decision given her army of vociferous supporters (and T-Paw’s lack thereof). Pawlenty’s indecision on the type of candidate he wanted, or needed, to become was reflected in his fundraising; as Politico reports, his campaign was running on fumes:

Pawlenty was unable to raise a significant amount of money and spent much of what he did bring in on TV and radio in the lead-up to Ames. Pawlenty had originally hoped to emerge as the chief alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but he found himself pinned down in Iowa over the past six weeks trying to fend off the surging Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann…

…Pawlenty’s campaign initially signaled on Saturday night that he would try to move forward, but with his third-place finish here and with Texas Gov. Rick Perry getting in the race, it became clear to Pawlenty that he’d have trouble financing a campaign.

Pawlenty’s money issues are so dire, according to one campaign source, that he is going to have difficulty making payroll this week and may have to delay some payments.

So where does Pawlenty’s exit leave the Republican field? His endorsement is considered valuable, but he says he will definitely not be a candidate for Vice President. In the short term, his departure may hurt Romney more than his presence in the race ever did, because it makes Iowa a two-person battle between Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry (Romney thus far has decided not to compete in the land of corn). Regardless of the outcome, this is an interesting moment in the 2012 race because it’s the first departure by a legitimate contender.  


56 thoughts on “What Happened to Tim Pawlenty?

            1. Let’s see, the last several R nominees:

              *W (nuff said)

              *McCain (“dunno much about economics” plus a supposed foreign policy expert who didn’t know diff btw Sunni & Shiia)

              *Perry or Bachmann, he’ll go “full-bore” to support

              Yeah, Elbee definitely isn’t a hypocrite making fun of Obama’s abilities

              1. The teleprompter thing isn’t about intelligence at all.  No one can seriously doubt Barack Obama’s intelligence compared to most of the Republican field.  It’s about making fun of someone for being cautious and deliberate in their leadership of the U.S.  Apparently that’s a bad thing now, too.

                1. There’s actually a TOTUS blog that declares:

                  Obama shows us what happens when he doesn’t have a teleprompter to read from and has to think for himself

                  So let’s be clear:

                  * today Elbee is saying Obama can’t think for himself

                  * two days ago he was saying Obama is lazy

                  Stay classy, Elbee.

                  1. As you remember, I specifically said he was not lazy.  And I can make fun of his overuse of a teleprompter if I feel like it.  IMO he does use it too much.  I do not question his intellect.  I needle his polish, and his leadership incompetence, as is my right.

                    Spank it down a little – you seem so worked up every time I post anything negative about the President.  Just for your own sake – you’d better get used to it, because I’m not even that cruel or profane about it.

                    Raymond, why don’t you go back to the POLs archive around the time of the 2008 election.  Then get back to me and tell me who I supported.

                    1. He and Arne Duncan had met with the kids and talked to them informally, then he went to another classroom to have a press conference.  That’s where he was using the teleprompter.

                    2. Username: ellbee

                      PersonId: 21105

                      Created: Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 08:47:36 AM MDT

                      so U trolled under a diff moniker?  So why trust you now?


                    3. asking around is a bannable offense. Don’t encourage people to do it after what happened last time.

                    4. I’m not gonna out anyone and have no compelling reason to look any further in your dark sordid past.  

                      And anyone finding a random blog post by GoddessBeaArthur that reads like one of mine, just know when I drink I’m a different person.

                    5. I can make fun of his overuse of a teleprompter if I feel like it.  IMO he does use it too much.  I do not question his intellect.  I needle his polish, and his leadership incompetence, as is my right.

                      I’m sorry, it doesn’t really make sense to say you’re criticizing his teleprompter use for evidencing lack of “polish” or “leadership competence.”

                      The whole “he has to use a teleprompter” criticism is that he can’t speak without it — as all the many righty sites blasting Obama’s teleprompter use make clear.

                      So, spare us the oh-so-high-minded plea not to get “so worked up every time I post anything negative about the President,” in part because that’s complete bullshit — I don’t get worked up when you complain about policy or issues.  I like how you show the wisdom of Gandhi about how your opponents should be chill, but the wisdom of Libertad in your actual posts.

                      In short, when you press the Obama-is-lazy meme as well as the he-can’t-think-of-what-to-say-without-teleprompter meme, then you’ve descended into Glenn Beck land, and I’ll treat you with the lack of respect you deserve for levying low-class attacks like that.

                    6. Obama is not lazy.

                      Obama is highly intelligent.

                      I think it’s funny he uses a teleprompter in a room the size of a bathroom.

                      Live with it.  You’ve always been rude to me, so go ahead and treat me as you wish, but please don’t put words in my mouth.

                    7. I’m sorry, it doesn’t really make sense to say you’re criticizing his teleprompter use for evidencing lack of “polish” or “leadership competence.”

                      According to whom?  You?

                      I think you think you are once again, the arbiter of things you’re not.

        1. The “creation” of  almost exclusively really, really low paying  jobs? The reliance on federal funds to fill the holes in his states sorry finances? Whining about not getting enough fed aid in the wake of the fires, all the while complaining about the feds’ spending?  The continuing of the great Texas tradition of piling up the most executions?  Maybe the bat shit crazy, bigoted evangelicals he favors and who openly favor him as their hope for taking over and remaking the US in their intolerant image?  The trying to require universal vaccination starring a vaccine that his buddies’ company sells?  

          The secession threats?  The reliance on prayer as a means of solving economic crises? The prospect of another swaggering, simplistic thinking Texan in the WH? The fact that he thinks the voice inside his head tellung him to run is God’s, not just his own ambition talking? Just wondering.

          1. Perhaps it’s familiarity that attracts people to P[a]rry?

            Bonus, P[a]rry is another “Decider.” Who needs courts and trials and evidence when you are granted the opportunity to execute a potentially innocent person?  

              1. the federal gov does is unconstitutional. Church state issues and many others touching on individual rights should be decided by states. In fact, while Perry is really big on states rights, apparently including the right to secede (must have missed The Civil War in history class) he isn’t so big on individual rights like the right to directly elect Senators.  Although he can’t really argue it’s unconstitutional, as there is an amendment giving us the right to elect our Senators directly, Perry thinks we should go back to election of Senators by state legislatures.

                He also thinks all federal bank regulation and consumer financial protection is unconstitutional. He’s conveniently  published his spiffy ideas for convenient use in anti ads and interviews in his book, “Fed Up”.  

            1. He made an interesting GW Bush in Oliver Stone’s movie.  If Perry outlasts the competition in the compaign, or does anything memorable, perhaps Stone will make Bush part deux, again starring Josh Brolin.

              The resemblance is amazing.  Maybe this time he’ll play it as less of a tragedy and more of the farce it really is.

          1. His Federal Reserve stuff is silly because we can’t just go back to a gold standard.  It would be nice, but I’d like to be taller, too – the toothpaste is out of the tube.

            I don’t believe in U.S. isolationism.

            He’s been vague about whether he thought 9/11 was perpetrated by the U.S. government.

            He was able to vote no on entitlements because he’d wait to see if the bills were going to pass first, then he’d load them up with pork for his own district, then vote no like he was some kind of hero.

            His craziest fans are lunatic truther weird aggro jackoffs.  

        2. the Bush imitation narrative.

          I don’t think the country is ready for Bush 2.0 Bubba.

          Perry is an imitation Bush without the photo-op ranch or Barbara.  Bush could win elections by being an Alfred E. Neuman doofus but he couldn’t govern for the overall good of the country.  Republicans can assume that voters are so turned off by Obama’s conciliatory approach that they’ll vote for anyone else but I’m not so sure that they’ll fall for another Bush clone so soon.

          I just don’t see Perry being able to shake the Bush shadow.  Stupid is as stupid does.

  1. I know I’ve read about some. I can’t think of them.

    The crazies? They have crazy ideas, but at least you can remember something about what they might do in office.

    He’s just too forgettable to compete nationally.

      1. It was a design flaw.  

        WASHINGTON – Undersized gusset plates in the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis were “the critical factor” in the bridge collapse last year that killed 13 people and injured 100, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

        Chairman Mark Rosenker said the plates, which connected steel beams, were roughly half the thickness they should have been because of a design error. Investigators found 16 fractured gusset plates from the bridge’s center span, he said.

  2. 1.  He wasn’t shrill enough in either his criticisms of Obama or in his campaigning.

    2.  He hasn’t been around long enough–who, really, had heard of him?  Contrast this to Romney, who has been running since God was a private–or so it seems.

    3.  He was utterly swamped by someone else from his own state in Bachmann.

    4.  I don’t think anyone ever believed he was electable, particularly against Obama.

    5.  As PCG wrote, he’s too forgettable.  

  3. I’m happy that there’s this Dyson-like vacuum sucking up misguided rightie dollars hellways and crooked.  

    Donor fatigue is ramping up with Perry,  Bachmann,Gingrich, Romney, Huntsman, Cain, Santorum, Paul and $arahPac dialing for dollars.  

    It’s highly likely Gingrich, Huntsman & Santorum won’t even make it to the May ’12 bash in SC but all the infighting, back-biting, and moneygrubbing continues and will only help to overwhelm the already addled brains of the rightie simpletons.  


  4. It actually helps Romney.  Romney will likely get plurality of Pawlenty supporters.  It also takes out one of the other sane opponents.

    Ultimately, it’s going to be Romney vs. some other guy, and right now it looks like Perry.

    Pawlenty’s problem was that he had two competing strategies.  A national strategy vs. an all-in strategy in Iowa.  McCain didn’t compete in ’08 and, after a painful lesson, Romney didn’t this year.  It should be noted that Perry was clever enough to wait so he could avoid the straw poll.

    In reality, you can’t pander to Iowa Republicans and win a national election these days.  The nth place candidates have to compete b/c they need the attention.  The serious campaigns don’t and shouldn’t do it.

    I predict Romney beats Perry for the GOP nomination.

    1. That is, TeaPeople probably will split among Bachmann & Perry — but if one of those two fades, the other could become the consensus conservative, beating Romney.  Which is to say, now that Perry is in, Romney wants both neither Perry nor Bachmann to drop out.  If both remain viable, that means Bachmann wins IA while Perry wins SC — but if either drops out or fails early, the other wins both, making him/her the presumptive frontrunner despite a Romney NH win.

    2. Imagine a Republican voting for someone who takes affordable health care seriously and institutes a program to reduce overall costs by drawing on a larger pool of subscribers.

      If that individual is a Republican then he going to get his asshole ripped out of his body by the Tea Party extremists.  They will never allow someone who considers affordable health care a good investment for our country to be their nominee.  If Romney gets the nomination then he looks shallow complaining about ObamaCares.

      He loses in the primary or he loses in the general but all indications are that he is a distrusted loser.

    3. So…

      in other words the GOTP can easier stomach Romney’s flip-floppery to Perry’s open orders?

      Yeah, I could see it.  Except, Romney is not Christian and Perry is very Christian.  

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