You’ve probably seen the news by now that Tim Pawlenty has dropped out of the Presidential race after a disappointing distant third-place finish in the Iowa straw poll.
I’m sad to see Pawlenty exit the race. I never completely bought into the “Pawlenty is boring” criticism. Running the United States is a big job, and I want an adult in charge. Pawlenty had a solid track record as a fiscally conservative Governor getting elected in and managing Minnesota, which is a blue state. I agree with Melissa Clouthier that executive experience is a “must have” for my Republican Presidential nominee:
The “executive experience” requirement eliminates some folks, but oh well. I want our next President to know his or her way around the bottom line. He or she should be ok making decisions. A Governor has to be elected by a broad base of folks. A Governor has to stay true to principles but be more pragmatic. A good Governor leads.
I saw Pawlenty speak twice this year, at CPAC and at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, and both times he gave wonderful, dynamic speeches. I also had the opportunity to meet Pawlenty earlier this month at a reception in Orlando, and was very impressed with him. (Peter Lee has posted a video of Pawlenty’s speech on YouTube). I got to chat with Pawlenty briefly after the speech and found him to be a genuinely warm, intelligent, wonderful person. He would have made an excellent President.
Unfortunately, the Pawlenty I saw giving speeches this year wasn’t the one who showed up at the debates. He performed well at the South Carolina debate, but Herman Cain’s surprisingly good showing stole his thunder. At the New Hampshire debate, when Pawlenty failed to repeat his “Obamneycare” attack on Romney, he was criticized as being weak. And then, this week in Iowa, he went too far in the other direction, sounding angry and petulant as he repeatedly attacked Michele Bachmann. This “Minnesota Mud Wrestle” couldn’t possibly help Pawlenty look like a leader.
Pawlenty’s failure to resonate nationally has been frustrating, all the moreso because I saw firsthand what he was truly capable of. He’s a good man, and a solid conservative, with a respectable track record, but he somehow never managed to effectively show this when the national spotlight was on him. If the Tim Pawlenty I saw had run for President, he’d still be in the race.
Erick Erickson summed it up well:
RedState | On Tim Pawlenty
For a long time I thought Tim Pawlenty would be the eventual nominee. He kept his head down, worked hard, and hired a hell of a good team. Nick Ayers, Alex Conant, Ann Marie Hauser, and the rest of the team have really done well building Pawlenty’s image as a problem solver and as a blue state leader with red state values.
Unfortunately, the personal charisma and charm Pawlenty had one on one never translated and he seemed uncomfortable throwing the punches necessary on a campaign trail. As Bachmann rose and word of a Perry entry came, the rationale for a Pawlenty campaign diminished.
…Tim Pawlenty’s service to his country is not yet done I suspect and I hope.
On a final note, Tim Pawlenty was a real and a serious candidate for President — not a book salesman or charlatan. When it became clear he could not win the nomination, he got out gracefully and swiftly.
And so we bid adieu to one nominee, a day after Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the race. If you missed my posts on Twitter (If so, that’s a serious shame; you need to be following me), I’m in Charleston, South Carolina and had the privilege of seeing Perry make his announcement live at the RedState Gathering and briefly meeting him afterwards. I’ll post more about Rick Perry and all the other great happenings at the RS Gathering later.
From the AP:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination on Sunday, hours after finishing a disappointing third in the Iowa straw poll.
“I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign,” Pawlenty said on ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with supporters.
The low-key Midwesterner and two-term governor had struggled to gain traction in a state he had said he must win and never caught fire nationally with a Republican electorate seemingly craving a charismatic, nonestablishment, rabble-rouser to go up against President Barack Obama.
Pawlenty tried to turn up the heat on Obama and his GOP rivals. But it often came across unnatural and he never was able stoked the passions of voters.
“What I brought forward, I thought, was a rational, established, credible, strong record of results, based on experience governing — a two-term governor of a blue state. But I think the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different,” he said.
In recent weeks, he withered under the rise of tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, whose rallying cry is a sure-fire applause line about making Obama a one-term president, and libertarian-leaning Ron Paul, as well as the promise of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the sharp-tongued Texan who entered the race Saturday.
“I thought I would have made a great president,” Pawlenty said. “I do believe we’re going to have a very good candidate who is going to beat Barack Obama.”
He didn’t immediately endorse a candidate.
Video of Herman Cain’s speech at the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll.
From the Daily Caller:
AMES, Iowa — Is a bromance forming between Mitt Romney and fellow Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain?
“Herman Cain and I are the two on the stage here who’ve actually worked in the real economy,” Romney said, unprompted, of the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO during Thursday night’s debate at Iowa State University.
“If people want to send to Washington someone who spent their entire career in government, they can choose a lot of folks,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said at the Fox News-sponsored event. “But if they want to choose somebody who understands how the private sector works, they’re going to have to choose one of us, because we’ve been in it during our career.”
In an interview with The Daily Caller after the debate, Cain reacted to Romney’s remarks by saying, “I wanted to go over and shake his hand. You kidding me?”
“We are the only two who have had the length of business experience. I thought it was very nice of him to say.”
T-Paw’s Independence Day video titled Celebrating America! Tim Pawlenty – Celebrating America
Dick Morris has criticized Pawlenty for a Shariah compliant housing loan program in Minnesota. Now the former Governor says Dick is “reckless” “offensive” and “absolutely crazy”. Here’s Dick’s rebuttal
Let me begin by saying that I was not over whelmed by any of the candidates. That is not to say they came out flat. To the contrary.
The problem I found with the debate was more in the format in which 90 out of 120 minutes of the debate focused on domestic issues.
Republicans missed, in my opinion, a chance to connect to people who they will need in the general election. By that I do not mean pandering, but making some sort of a “I give a darned about you and lead you” sense.
Two specific moments came to my mind. The first was with the person who felt they will be left out by any candidate who connects with the TEA party. Both Cain and Bachmann made attempts, but neither would reach out to the guy. Fail.
The second was concerning distaster funding. Instead of saying yes, we will find money to help and reach out to people effected by natural disasters we got some sort of quasi answer with the imperitive that private industry would help. Wrong.
That isnt to say government does an incredible job at helping those in their most troubled hour. They havent. I simply cannot see private industry doing the job FEMA does – and it is a role I personally believe government should be involved in.
Lastly, every single one of the candidates failed by epic porportions regarding the NASA and manned space flight question.
Obama has tried to the best of his ability to kill off our manned space flight program. While Constellation is not what I would call a dream delivery system, it is in the heavy development. To kill it would mean that the United States would have zero access to space (unless buying a ride on Russian Soyez) for at least another decade.
Can private industry develop a launch system? Yes and no.
Private firms are the people who NASA contracts to build the equipment used. However it is still under the guidance and mission of NASA.
Let me put it another way. Would you be cheering if Neil Armstrong was representing General Electric and not the United States?
I would also add that NASA’s funding is so minscule that it is embarassing. It isnt as embarassing as the candidates answer on the matter, however.
Regarding winners and losers I would say this: my vote was not persauded in any direction tonight. Period.
Joshua Trevino made an observation tonight noting the real winner was Texas Governor Rick Perry. I would agree.
My candidate by candidate analysis is as follows:
Bachmann: Yes, she did deliver a “strong” message. However she does not deal with a fundamental reason I cannot support her until its her vs Romney or Obama – the ability to govern. She was given multiple chances which she could have reached out to at very least calm fears. Have no doubt she is a fighter – and a good one at that. What we should all have learned, though, is that the President needs to also provide a softer side to pass legislation. Bachmann has none.
Cain: My wife and I both felt the same thing: CNN did not allow Cain to participate in a lot of the discussion. It could be wrongly percieved, but it just felt like when Cain got a question it was from the cold and his attempts to bridge over to talking points didnt fit. Whats more, John King’s cheap shot (and putting words into Cains mouth) regarding some sort of a religious litmus test was outrageous. (religious litmus test are illegal last I heard, btw) I liked a lot of his common sense answers. Still.
Gingrinch: Newt definitely scrapped with the best of them. His intellect really shined tonight. He was dead on regarding needing majorities in both houses when it comes to repealing Obamacare. More people should understand the legislative process, I feel, when we go nose to nose with Democrats over the next few months. Im not sure where his candidacy goes from here, but solid performance.
Paul: Extremely good performance given that some of the questions which reveal the more radical side of Dr. Paul were not asked. My guess is that someone just tuning in my identify with a lot of what he mentioned (not picking winners and losers, govt stay out of lives, etc).
Pawlenty: T-Paw had the lowest and highest moment of the debate. The lowest moment was the Obamney care answer. Instead of manning up and confronting Mitt regarding the individual mandate, he whimped out. However, on the right to work answer, Pawlenty rocked. I absolutely was cheering in my seat when he reminded the questioner that the government does not tell people who they should associate themselves with (unions in this case).
Romney: My view: he definitely looked more relaxed and polished than some of the other candidates. It crossed my mind I wouldnt mind see him going nose to nose with Obama on a number of issues (his answer regarding the GM rebuilding was superb). HOWEVER. My wife talked with me extensively after the debate how she felt he side stepped a good number of questions. Just did not feel comfortable with him. I still feel that he is the candidate I will hold my nose to vote for in November. (p.s. Romney campaign – I am still waiting for you to define assault weapon).
Santorum: Solid performance, but I just could not get into his answers.
The political cognoscenti are dismissing Rudolph Giuliani’s chances of winning the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and with good reason: Giuliani, as AmSpec alumnus Philip Klein notes, spent $59 million in 2008 and got all of one delegate. So what could possibly make Rudy think he’d do any better this time around?
Well, for starters it’s 2012, not 2008, and four years have made a world of difference politically. This time, Rudy won’t be running against “hope, change and history.” Instead, he’ll be running against a very ordinary — and very liberal — incumbent Democratic president, with an abysmal record of economic failure and economic mismanagement.
And, say what you will about Rudy, there’s no disputing the fact that he turned New York City around — from a crime-ridden cesspool of liberalism to America’s safest haven for entrepreneurs the world over. So if Rudy can do for America what he did for New York, well then I and millions of others will rightly say: “Bring it on!”
As for winning the Republican presidential nomination, it is true that Rudy isn’t a perfect or pristine conservative, but then who is?
Romney? (Romneycare.) Pawlenty? (Cap and trade.) Santorum? (The prescription drug entitlement.) Paul? (Isolationist.) Cain? (He knows nothing of foreign policy and seems to think this is a plus.)
The truth is that all of the GOP contenders have serious political and philosophical liabilities; Rudy’s are arguably the least offensive. The man had to run, remember, in the world headquarters of liberalism, New York City, which is home to some of the most hostile and aggressive leftists known to mankind.
So when it comes to standing up to the Left, conservatives can know with metaphorical certitude that Rudy won’t be cowed and intimidated; he won’t be silenced and paralyzed. He’ll fight back, and he’ll fight to win.
The one issue that does give conservatives such as myself serious pause is abortion. Rudy is supposedly “pro choice.” But that’s not really true — or at least it’s not operationally true.
Rudy recognized that there was absolutely no way a lone Republican mayor in overwhelmingly Democratic New York could ever change the city’s extremely liberal abortion policy. So he wisely opted not to fight that battle. Instead, he focused on areas such as crime and the economy where he could fight effectively and win.
But as president, Rudy has pledged to appoint conservative judges who will interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. Given Roe v. Wade, this is the most important pro-life policy a president can effect; and Rudy clearly is on our side, the pro-life side.
True, Rudy’s personal life has been marked by some trouble and tragedy. He’s been married three times and, while mayor, shared a residence for a time with a gay couple. And, for some conservative primary voters, that alone is enough to disqualify Rudy: because, in their minds, he isn’t a sufficiently good example or role model for children.
I understand this concern, but think that it misses a more important truth: Despite Rudy’s personal failings, his public character is stellar and beyond reproach. This is the man, remember who fought the Sicilian Mob, the public employees unions, and the left-wing media. Rudy might fail himself, but he’ll damn sure never fail the American people.
That is why, I think, Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy in 2008: Robertson knows that on matters of public policy, Rudy is, in effect, a social and cultural conservative.
As for electability, well, that’s what campaigns are for: to demonstrate political strength and popular appeal. Rudy didn’t fare so well last time; but as I say, it’s a new season politically, with a new slate of candidates and new issues. And Rudy, should he invest himself in the race, has as good a chance as anyone, I think, to win.
National Review editor Richard Lowry notes, for instance, that, amongst Republican voters, Rudy’s essentially tied with Sarah Palin in the latest Fox News poll. Yet no one dismisses Palin’s prospects in a crowded GOP primary.
Republicans and the nation are best served by a seriously competitive presidential race that welcomes all comers. Rudolph Giuliani was one of the most successful big city mayors in American history. He has a lot to offer voters. And he should run because he can win.
Cross-posted at The American Spectator.
From the Atlantic:
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum isn’t a libertarian, but straw-poll voters at a libertarian-leaning New Hampshire barbecue loved him on Sunday.
Santorum announced this morning that he will run for president in 2012, citing solid momentum in early primary states, and his win in The New Hampshire Conservative Future PAC’s straw poll at a barbecue in Nashua over the weekend backs up that claim. The group released these results, with 120 attendees voting:
1. Rick Santorum – 36.7%2. Ron Paul (Tied) – 11.7%
3. Tim Pawlenty (Tied) – 11.7%
4. Mitt Romney – 10.9%
5. Gary Johnson – 10.2%
6. Herman Cain – 7.8%
7. Michele Bachmann – 5.4%
8. Sarah Palin – 2.3%
9. Newt Gingrich (tied) – 1.5%
10. Rudolph Giuliani (tied) – 1.5%
A great video Produced by SerumVerum about Romney and his many positions:
H/T Eric Odom