Kevin Drum asks:
Wait a second. Everyone expected Bachmann to win, and likewise, everyone knows that Ron Paul has a demonstrated (and meaningless) ability to round up his tiny band of fanatical troops for events like this. So third place isn't too bad for Pawlenty, is it? Or was the "Pawlenty in trouble" media narrative already so set in stone that it didn't matter how well he did?I don't think that's it. What I think is that we've already seen that Pawlenty isn't raking in money, and we've already seen that he's not showing up in the polls, and we've already seen that he's certainly not a dynamo in debates...but up to this point he's had one strong argument to make to GOP party actors who might have been inclined to support him, but didn't see signs of his viability: he had the best organization in Iowa. And that's not a crazy argument to make! After all, if Pawlenty makes it to the caucuses and then his organization allows him to finish top three...well, that's a viable candidate. What Ames does is to deflate that expectation. And unfortunately for Pawlenty, it could be that he has little left to sell to party actors.