Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 21, 2011

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE.... We're about 10 months from Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses, and about two months from the first scheduled GOP debate for the 2012 presidential field. Now all we need is some candidates.

Yes, I realize former pizza company executive Herman Cain and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer have already begun campaigning, but the field of credible, likely-to-be-competitive Republican hopefuls is surprisingly sparse. Which is to say, there is no field. Given all the GOP clamoring, it was hard to predict last year that we'd have exactly zero top-tier Republican candidates as late as March 21.

By all indications, that will change today.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will file paperwork today to organize his bid for the White House, he told supporters on a conference call today.

The bid, to be announced on Facebook later today, will be headquartered in the Twin Cities.

An aide, Phil Musser, asked donors to wait until April 1 to contribute to Pawlenty's campaign, in order to avoid the impression that he'd tried and failed to raise much money in his first quarter.

The formal announcement will reportedly come on Facebook later this afternoon. Pawlenty won't formally launch a campaign, but will instead create an exploratory committee -- the move that comes before the actual campaign.

I suspect much of the punditry surrounding the news will focus on the fact that Pawlenty is a dull and uninspiring character, who'll enter the race with very little support in the polls. That analysis will be true. Others will likely note that Pawlenty has a very thin record for a two-term governor; he isn't well liked in his own state; he was a moderate who's now dressing up in right-wing clothing; he has no meaningful areas of expertise in any subject; and he's even begun pretending to have a Southern accent as part of a bizarre effort to appear folksy.

All of this will be true, too.

And yet, as hard as it may seem to take Tim Pawlenty seriously as a presidential candidate, the notion of him actually winning the GOP nomination is not, on its face, ridiculous. The rest of the likely field is so deeply flawed, it's plausible to think Pawlenty may simply find himself as the last one standing.

There are several Republicans contingents and constituencies, and Pawlenty may very well prove to be just inoffensive enough to satisfy all of them.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

Pawlenty has a Dukakis '88 vibe to him.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on March 21, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

One word of advice for TPaw - Bring back the Mullet. Business in front, party in the back.

Posted by: RollaMO on March 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty has an innocuous Mr Rogers aspect that not only fails to excite, it virtually fails to register at all. Obviously anything can happen but this nomination is Romney's to lose. And when do Republicans nominate some recessive nobody to be president?

Posted by: walt on March 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Recessive nobody = George H. W. Bush

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on March 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Jeez, in a clown car the size of the Republican Party, you'd think you'd find more than a handful of bozo's that want to drive, wouldn't you?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 21, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, because the Republican Party has a track record of nominating the least offensive candidate.

Wrong. 2012's sacrificial lamb is going to be Romney.

Posted by: Daddy Love on March 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Give it time grasshoppers. The GOP will soon see a stampede of comic book characters in the running for the nomination. As soon as the Koch bros decide who they want to be pres you'll also see an avalancke of money being spent on these whatever they ares.

Posted by: Gandalf on March 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

" rest of the likely field is so deeply flawed, "

depends on you POV- the GuanoNutz see a plethora of titans.

Posted by: DAY on March 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty....Because you can never be too boring!

Expect the rest to come pouring out as they all try and step on each others announcements in the news.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on March 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

George HW Bush had a resume a mile long, was Reagan's vice president, was nationally famous, and was considered a heavyweight by any standard. The mockable aspect of his personality hardly meant he was considered a dark horse. Pawlenty, by contrast, may be more "regular guy" than Bush but his record is very thin and his name ID is zilch. The one thing he has going for him is the need to create a drama of what should be a cakewalk for the normative GOP presumptive heir.

Posted by: walt on March 21, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hey T-Paw has Bill Kristol's seal of approval.

On to 2012!!!

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Presi(not) John McCain the 2nd!

..not that Obama is anything to write home to America about..

Posted by: Trollop on March 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Any candidate hoping to even have a shot at the nomination is going to have to turn the crazy up to 11 this year. As flawed as Obama has been, he's going to win handily by simply being a voice of reason in an electoral landscape where the Republicans are going to be falling over themselves with promises to abolish the Endangered Species Act, reinstate the death penalty for witchcraft, eliminate Social Security, decriminalize the shooting of undocumented immigrants, and make Nathan Bedford Forrest's birthday a national holiday.

Posted by: jonas on March 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

yawn.

Posted by: glutz78 on March 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Tim has got some pretty deep flaws too. If he would have had a republican house and senate to work with in MN, he would have gone Scott Walker on us. He also has to contend with his veto of infrastructure spending followed shortly by the collapse of the I-35w bridge in Mpls.

Posted by: gbear on March 21, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

As a Minnesotan, I can totally vouch for the fact he is NOT. PRESIDENTIAL. MATERIAL. Even my conservative friends dislike him.

Posted by: Athena on March 21, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

...it was hard to predict last year that we'd have exactly zero top-tier Republican candidates as late as March 21.

Calling any of the cattle who covet the R nomination top-tier, is an exaggeration of the highest order.

Posted by: cwolf on March 21, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Palin/Pawlenty '12: Ps are Good For You!

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on March 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, what the heck. What's one more let loose from the cuckoo's nest. The stories we'll tell our grandkids.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on March 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

The big dis will be Michele Bachmann beating him in Iowa.

Posted by: the seal on March 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't he the guy that neglected problems in his state until a bridge collapsed ?

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 21, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I see that gbear beat me to it ...

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

T-Paw? Please. No matter how many accents he tries out or what persona he adopts, he'll televise as a colorless nerd wearing a set of borrowed cojones. No way he'll be the last "man" standing.

Posted by: dalloway on March 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Calling any of the cattle who covet the R nomination top-tier, is an exaggeration of the highest order.

Comparing Republicans to cattle is an insult to cows.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 21, 2011 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Do you wonder where LA gov Bobby Jindal went? People were calling him a hopeful candidate...then he went on TV after the first Obama SOTU and was a major fail....I guess only Newt gets chance after chance. The ugly fact is the Republican Party has not one potential candidate, currently on the table, that can take the Party by storm...Palin doesn't count....just because...

Posted by: T2 on March 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican nominee will be white. This is what will matter to the main part of the Republican base.

Posted by: edr on March 21, 2011 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth, Lawrence O'Donnell thinks Pawlenty will win the nomination because he does not have the baggage that the others do.

Posted by: Sam on March 21, 2011 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yea, Sam, I can see the bumper stickers now: 'Vote Pawlenty - White and No Baggage!'. Should do the trick.

Posted by: dcsusie on March 21, 2011 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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