Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pawlenty Out

And so it's the end of the line for the man they called the Minnesota Meh. No great surprise, right?

A couple of quick points:

It's wrong to say that he dropped out because of Ames. Instead, it's more the case that Ames went badly for him because everything else was going badly -- he reportedly sunk most of his available resources into the Straw Poll, but the truth is he didn't have very many resources remaining. If nevertheless it turned out that his diminished resources could buy Straw Poll success, he'd have something to sell to Republican party actors, but that didn't turn out to be the case.

This also puts Pawlenty's debate strategy the other night in a new context. It made sense as a last-ditch nomination strategy anyway, but it really made sense for someone who wanted to show that he had the fire necessary for a Vice-Presidential debate without wanting to alienate the guy who might be selecting a running mate. Was that part of a deliberate strategy? Obviously I have no idea, and it's not as if no one has ever been picked for the ticket after vicious attacks against the nominee, but I suspect that it was at least a possible factor. Not that I think he'll get that particular nod.

I was trying last night to figure out a way of talking about Pawlenty within the framework of plausible nominees that I have been using. I think what I should have said is that he was a plausible nominee who wasn't  visibly doing anything to get him closer to winning. At any rate, that's a moot point now. My old list of plausible nominees was Pawlenty, Romney, Perry, Jeb Bush, and Palin...I suppose I'd say that I wouldn't exactly change that, but I see absolutely no sign that Bush is going to get into the race, any just about no sign that Palin is doing anything that she would need to do to become the nominee. I've said from the start that my "plausible" group had well over a 90% chance of winning the nomination, and realistically we're now talking about two people. Winnowing!


  1. I think you make a good point about Pawlenty trying to position himself to be someone's VP candidate, but for whom? I am doubtful that any GOP presidential candidate would pick up Minnesota, even with Pawlenty on their ticket and would any "independent" commit to the GOP ticket because of Pawlenty? I just don't know.

  2. This is a disaster for the American economy. Now we won't have 5% GDP growth for the rest of time, like he promised.

    As to his VP prospects, he's a northerner and erstwhile moderate who could balance a Perry ticket in those respects. But to make that case, he would have had to stay in longer and have at least some success, demonstrating that he's a good campaigner, and also position himself as a moderate instead of just aping the crazies. As it is, I don't see Perry or anyone else viewing Pawlenty as much of an asset.

  3. Pawlenty was the quintessential generic Republican trying to win the GOP nomination at a time when Republicans are looking for a candidate who is anything but generic.

  4. If he had been more successful, folks in the primary states would have been subject to endless repetitions of the I-35 collapse. He (and we) are better off.

  5. That's quite the two step. In July you not only said Pawlenty was viable (not the "let me walk this back" term plausible you use here)but that it would be silly to start his campaign obituary.

    Come on Mr. Bernstein, I know blogging is easier because there is less accountability but you're going to hurt yourself if you don't stretch before attempting these types of verbal gymnastics.

    Francis M. Linardo

  6. It’s time to buy Tim Pawlenty stock. Intrade now has him below a 6% chance of winning the nomination and numerous pundits have written his campaign obituary. That’s just silly. Pawlenty remains what he’s always been: a candidate, perhaps the only one in the field, who can appeal to every faction within the Republican Party and draw an attempted veto of none of them. He remains a very viable candidate in a field without many of them and with no strong frontrunner.


    So: if we compare weaknesses, we get…Pawlenty? Hasn’t caught fire at all. Perry? Might not even run, might prove a weak candidate if he does. Romney? Health care, abortion, religion. Bachmann? Uh, that Republicans would be nuts to nominate her? Yeah. Out of that group, it’s not hard at all for me to picture Pawlenty solving his problems a lot more easily than the others solving theirs. No way are his chances of winning 1 in 20; they remain, in my view, the same 1 in 7 or so, perhaps even somewhat higher, that they’ve been all year.

  7. Very politically scientific prediction you made 3 weeks ago, dude! LOLOLOL

  8. Pwned by Glenn Greenwald:

    "as but one illustrative example, see this bit of prescient brilliance from Jonathan Bernstein in The Washington Post a mere three weeks ago, mocking as 'silly' the notion that the Pawlenty campaign was in trouble ('It's time to buy Tim Pawlenty stock. . . . He remains a very viable candidate in a field without many of them'); then once Pawlenty dropped out a mere 22 days later, Bernstein went to his blog to proclaim it 'no great surprise'). That's the cheap, easy, empty, accountability-free, trivial punditry nonsense -- called "coverage of the presidential campaign" -- that swamps political discourse for a full year-and-a-half.

  9. ""

    remember that one? you got herbed. but of course you won't let being wrong stop you from pontificating further...

  10. Let's put Me Bernstein in a time machine.

    April 1937: "Time to buy stock in the Zeppelin company. This Hindenburg, she's a smash success"

    May 1937: "This Hindenburg disaster- no great surprise, right? Who thought that using hydrogen was a good choice?"

  11. one time, JUST ONE TIME, might we ask a pundit to say "man do i look like an idiot" after saying or doing something idiotic? ESPECIALLY when they did so in the context of calling other people's opinions false?

    be a man jonathan. my dad's been a political scientist for 45 years, and is a far better one then you will ever be, but he has also mastered the ability to change his opinions based on new facts, and to cop to mistakes when he has made them.

  12. Actually, Robert, what they should be doing is writing a column about how they have absolutely no idea what they're doing, but they somehow landed a job that pays good money doing it. They'll shuck and jive, and write the most ridiculous things to keep that paycheck rolling in.

    In other professions, say the sex trade, that's know by a different term.

  13. Brilliant! Just keep Ron Paul's name off your list so you can be labeled "serious" as you get everything wrong. And haha, check Greenwald's slam of you, johnny boy. Note that he's the reason your traffic spiked, and we're all here just to laugh at you. You're one of the reasons I mostly wipe with WaPo. She'll be bankrupt soon enough, and you'll be writing this blog for cash.


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