Thursday, March 24, 2011


It occurs to me that I've been doing posts on each presidential candidate as they jump into or exit out of the race, and I didn't do one on Tim Pawlenty this week.

Uh...he's a serious candidate with a solid chance to win.

I think that exhausts what I have to say about Pawlenty. David Frum nailed this a while back: he's running as the Generic Republican.

Counting the contenders, not establishing an order: Pawlenty (1) clearly could win, along with Romney (2), Barbour (3), and (if they're in) Daniels (4) and Huck (5). Rick Perry (6) could, in my view, still run and have a solid chance of winning, and I suppose that's true of Jeb Bush (7), and there's still Palin (8). But that's about it. National Journal has a new Top 15 candidate list out this week, and I don't seen anyone else from that list with a realistic chance (Perry is on their sub-list "on the bubble" category, and Jeb isn't even there). Longshot but plausible nominee Jim DeMint is now putting out word that he's definitely not running, and it's not clear that he (or Thune, or a few others) could enter or re-enter any later than now and still have a chance.

So if all that is correct, then that leaves only eight real plausible nominees at this point -- I'd probably say those eight have collectively far better than a 90% chance of winning the nomination, probably around 98%) and of those only three are clearly in and running at this point. For what it's worth, my eight only have about 72% of the combined odds on Intrade, so I suppose I think that these candidates are, collectively, pretty severely undervalued over there (see, by the way, here and here for some caution about interpreting prices at Intrade and other such markets).  And for what it's worth I'll add that Jeb Bush would really be starting from scratch; as far as I know, he hasn't been doing any sort of candidate-like things at all over the last couple years

I suppose the upshot of all of that is that I should really be paying more attention to Pawlenty.


  1. I don't remember who said it (Nate Silver?) but the funniest thing I have read about Pawlenty went something like this:

    "I keep evaluating all the candidates and running the numbers and the Republican candidate keeps coming up Pawlenty. Huh. Pawlenty? That can't be right. So I run all the numbers again and it comes up Pawlenty. That doesn't seem to bode well for the Republicans."

  2. Another way to phrase it, Pawlenty is running to be every Republican's second choice...and right now he appears to be winning that race.

  3. Yet ANOTHER way to say it is that Pawlenty's the second least despised Republican. Who's first? Everyone else.

  4. You'd think that I would have edited that to make sense given that it took me twelve tries to post. Here's how it should have been:

    "Yet ANOTHER way to say it is that Pawlenty's the second least liked Republican. Who's first? Everyone else. "

  5. @Jim

    I believe you're thinking of this piece by David Frum.

  6. David,

    Yes, that is the post. I thought it might have been Frum and I read a single post by him as part of my exhaustive fact checking operation. When it was not in that one post I naturally gave up and semi-attributed it to someone associated with both numbers and politics.

    You get the commenter's catch of the day. Good work.

  7. Those who think Pawlenty would be a good fit for President never mention how he left the state with a $6 billion deficit at the end of his 2 terms. In fact, I live in Minnesota and cannot think of a single thing he accomplished in the 8 years he served as governor. I challenge anyone to search the record for some noteworthy accomplishment of his. If anyone finds something, let me know, cuz I'm at a loss.

  8. Barbour and Daniels absolutely cannot win this nomination.

    OK, OK. Maybe they can if Mitt Romney is hit by a bus. But he has the not-crazy vote sewn up otherwise, and Daniels and Barbour just have zero appeal to the teabaggers and evangelical creationists who'll make up 70%-80% of the GOP primary electorate in 2012.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?