Political Animal


August 11, 2012 10:04 AM A Moment of Sympathy For TPaw

By Ed Kilgore

So how would you like to have been Tim Pawlenty yesterday, who was informed not by Mitt himself, but by Tagg Romney that he had been passed over for the vice presidential nomination for the second straight cycle?

It must have been a bitter cup indeed. Four years ago the McCain campaign had all but settled on TPaw before deciding he was such a cipher that he wouldn’t move the dial an inch. Being rejected in favor of Sarah Palin must have seemed, at the time and even more in retrospect, as sorta like getting dumped by your high school sweetheart after years of slavish devotion in favor of that troglodyte who used to beat you up during recess.

So now this time around TPaw spent months hearing that Mitt actually wanted a nondescript running-mate, acceptable to everyone and posing no danger of distracting attention from the Big Chief. Pawlenty certainly qualified, having abundantly demonstrated during his own brief presidential campaign that no quantity of visigothic rhetoric could make hearts beat either for or against him (the efficient cause of his demise, let us remember, was his inability to get a couple of thousand people to show up for him at an event a couple of hours down I-35 from his home state). With no day job, Pawlenty dutifully went wherever the campaign sent him and mouthed its talking-points. And now he’s again passed over in favor of a guy who’s been attacked by the bishops of his own church as somewhat morally depraved, and who, in Charles Pierce’s vivid phrase today, is “still the high-school kid living off Social Security survivor benefits and reading Ayn Rand by flashlight under the sheets.”

Pawenty remains a solid option for a minor cabinet position if Romney-Ryan win, and for all we know, could be on the short list for Veep in 2016 if the ticket crashes and burns. Lord knows he’s been vetted.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on August 11, 2012 10:15 AM:

    Since we are on the cusp of another NFL season, an apt metaphor.
    Some years the draft is top heavy with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. And some years it is not.

  • c u n d gulag on August 11, 2012 10:20 AM:

    Poor Pawlenty "Stupid Enough!"

    Hoping to be the bridge between Mitt and "The Help."

    And like that bridge in his state, his hope has collapsed.

    Don't worry about Tim.
    If he's not given some title if Ryan/Romney win, then he'll make Pawlenty of money on Wingnut Welfare.

    Oh wait - maybe not.
    the "Victim Card' works well if you're screwed by the MSM or Democrats.
    Getting screwed - TWICE! - by your own party, may make the your fellow Conservatives think you're a feckin' loser.

  • esaud on August 11, 2012 10:20 AM:

    I'm hoping that some of the VSP's who positively adore Paul Ryan will soon be seeing how out of touch they all are. They adore him because they all know, just know, that Medicare and social security benefits just have to be cut.

    But at a focus group a while back, some of the participants didn't believe Ryan's budget proposal was for real because it was so cruel.

    I read this morning that Ryan was William Kristol's pick (i.e. the guy who picked Sarah Palin). The back story on this one is going to be interesting. I mean, who rolls out a VP pick on Friday night/Saturday morning in the dog days of summer? And who, fergawdsake, announces his VP as the next president???

  • m2 on August 11, 2012 10:34 AM:

    Man, Ed, that's cold!
    TeePee has some skeletons relating to being a paid candidate. He was pretty awful as my MN governor. 8 years, Dude has a shaky record. But damn! You MoDo'd him.

    Benen is calling Ryan an "August" but I suspect team RMoney figured he would be a better campaigner, which would make him a "November." TPaw is just not very convincing when he goes all hardass-- Really Tim? A tire pressure guage?

  • jjm on August 11, 2012 10:36 AM:

    Doesn't this seem a perfect example of Romney's personal cowardliness? Can't even tell the guy in person, even though he relishes firing people?

  • Mudge on August 11, 2012 10:37 AM:

    Speaking of vetting, I guess we'll all see how well Ryan has been vetted. And how out of touch was it to have the two "never served in the military" egocentric sociopaths conduct their kabuki in front of the USS Wisconsin?

    Republicans seem to be a bit blind to the consequences of their actions. It seems that choosing Ryan to satisfy the base (and of course saying the decision was backdated to early August before all the pressure) may be another case of looking one way while being hit by the train from the other direction.

  • Freud, Jr. on August 11, 2012 10:44 AM:

    Kind of shows how self-serving and diabolical Mitt Romney is to do this to Tim Pawlenty, plus the Friday night news dump, as esaud notes.
    Not to mention Mitt can't even do a simple announcement without a flub and a gaffe.
    Psychology 101--
    Romney strangely makes an error as he introduces Paul Ryan as the next president of the U.S.
    It has to be a freudian slip.
    It reveals that Ryan pick WILL overshadow Romney--it adds the wimp factor to Romney.
    It also reveals that Romney absolutely caved to the base.
    I bet his mind is all messed up.

  • RaflW on August 11, 2012 11:02 AM:

    It's worth noting that TPaw didn't exactly leave Minnesota in great shape on his departure. Sure, he used gimmicks to patch the budget, but he did a rather middling job running what was once the proud "Minnesota Miracle" into a mundane middling state.

    Oh, and he violated Grover's pledge. Sure, he called it a cigaret 'health impact fee' but we all knew it was a tax (and some of us liked that about it!).

  • Kathryn on August 11, 2012 11:18 AM:

    When this hit the news last night, Andrea Mitchell reported that T-Paw was livid, though he'll be brought to heel in no time I'm sure. Pawlety was scheduled on Meet The Press and a couple of others this Sunday, guess he'll be replaced. The fact that Romney had his son call Pawlenty rather than having the character to do it himself is kind of mind blowing to me. I guess this will get lost in all the hoopla, but it shouldn't. Mitt proves again what a complete tool he is, fitting to a tee Grover Norquist's definition of what the GOP needs in a president, someone with enough digits to sign the Ryan budget, any chimp will do. Actually think that cold blooded comment by Norquist would fit neatly in a Obama campaign ad.

    This might present a dilemma for the Catholic hierarchy, I had forgotten that some bishops had critizied his heartless budget plans. Probably dreaming, contraception and abortion rights trump the social teaching of Catholicism except wwith the nuns usually.

  • FriscoSF on August 11, 2012 11:25 AM:

    You think TPaw is disappointed....

    I'll bet Pee Wee Herman (my choice) is CRUSHED
    And he knows how to handle himself in public

    Ronmey, Ryan and Ruin !!

  • Freud, Jr. on August 11, 2012 11:40 AM:

    No foreign policy experience, Romney nor Ryan. Indeed.

    Rob Portman at the very least was a U.S. trade representative.
    Romney obviously caved to the extreme base of the party.

    It underscores the Newsweek Magazine cover asking if Romney is too insecure to be president.
    (P.S.--think of all the seniors at their doctors' appointments picking up *that* magazine!!!!)

    Romney and Ryan's coming out party in front of a war ship was their George W. Bush moment-on-the-air carrier.

    To this day we know it reminded all who saw Bush in a flight suit and crotch cup (also very freudian) in front of a mission accomplished banner that --he-- may very well have avoided completing military service in the Texas Air National Guard.

    Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience has #1 been to plunder, cheat and upset the country of Italy through dubious business ploys, and #2 hiding the extensive Romney assets overseas.
    Paul Ryan is obsessed about pushing grandparents and the disadvanged over the cliff --and this so-called Catholic dreams of Ayn Rand. Freudian!!
    Republican stragegist Bill Bennett says Ryan hangs out with actuarians--statisticians for insurance companies-- for fun.

  • JR on August 11, 2012 11:42 AM:

    Ed, I was thinking the same thing. Personally, I call it Nick Nolte Syndrome. Goes back to when Nolte was up for Best Actor for Prince of Tides - everyone said he was a shoo-in, then Anthony Hopkins won for Silence of the Lambs. But I digress... If Pawlenty is half the human being I think he is - and, though I don't side with him politically, I've no doubt he's a decent fellow - he'll eventually realize he was spared.

    Picking Ryan will force the Romney campaign to get specific and, in doing so, will rip the veil off the chicanery of the GOP economic plan. With Medicare alone, it will be - do you prefer a plan that cuts payments to insurers, or one that cuts your access to care? It should also reveal that the Ryan plan does not cut the deficit anytime soon, but rather inflates it.

    Lastly, it proves that Romney has no clothes. As I've been saying for a while, he is more than happy to be the auto-pen for Cantor, McConnell & Co., as long as they promise to re-elect him in 2016. If Romney drank, I'd foresee many future benders with John Boehner.

  • tbee on August 11, 2012 11:45 AM:

    Tagg to Tpaw- You're not IT!

  • Chris Rhetts on August 11, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Ed, with all due respect, I was beginning to wonder if you could bring the same energy to PA as Steve Benen did. Now, confronted with inspired writing like this, I'm kind of ashamed of myself for having ever felt that way.

  • square1 on August 11, 2012 12:11 PM:

    I'm sure nothing would have thrilled Romney more than to have picked TPaw...it would have meant that the economy was in the toilet, voters wanted to toss out the incumbent, and all Romney had to do was not screw it up.

    The selection of Ryan, while infinitely smarter than the Palin pick, smacks of desperation. Like McCain, Romney (or his most trusted advisor) apparently feels that he is on a losing course and that he needs to roll the dice to win. I actually can't fault the pick. I think it was probably the smartest pick that Romney could have made.

    Frankly, I think there are a lot of Dem pundits who look like jackasses right now for their comments over the past 2 years that legitimized Ryan as a serious thinker.

  • JR on August 11, 2012 12:38 PM:

    square1, not as many as there are pundits who looked worst than jackasses, swooning over Ryan's workout regime and baby blues.

  • dweb on August 11, 2012 12:50 PM:

    Mr. Pawlenty had a few things in his closet which would NOT have played well were he to have gotten the nomination....things like jiggering his tax returns and hiding income:


  • Shakes on August 11, 2012 1:19 PM:

    Paul Ryan is the best thing going in the Republican Party. If America is to be saved from fiscal disaster, Paul Ryan is the man with the plan.

  • Anonymous on August 11, 2012 1:58 PM:

    If America is to be saved from fiscal disaster, Paul Ryan is the man with the plan.


    Penning a budget that balloons the debt in order to super charge the already tried "2001-2008 job creator plan" all while having never failing a vote in the 'yea' column to raise the debt while a Republican was in the WH isn't much of a plan or voting record to stave off fiscal disaster.

  • Sean Scallon on August 11, 2012 2:24 PM:

    "So how would you like to have been Tim Pawlenty yesterday, who was informed not by Mitt himself, but by Tagg Romney that he had been passed over for the vice presidential nomination for the second straight cycle?"

    It tells me it's time to pick new profession.

  • mudwall jackson on August 11, 2012 3:06 PM:

    Paul Ryan is the best thing going in the Republican Party. If America is to be saved from fiscal disaster, Paul Ryan is the man with the plan.

    in baseball terms, that's sort of like being the best player on the 2010 pittsburgh pirates, which lost more than 100 games.

    a plan indeed.

  • Freud JR on August 11, 2012 4:26 PM:

    So Willard outsourced the ultimate management of T-Paw to his son.
    That is low.
    I would say Willard is pathologically removed from humanity and is surely a robot.

  • Steve P on August 13, 2012 10:31 PM:

    The poor guy. It's like being bumped from the "Hindenburg".