It’s courageous, principled, and right for Tim Pawlenty to travel to Iowa to denounce ethanol and other farm subsidies. But I’m also left wondering: is this also a very good way to manage expectations if he comes second or third or worse in Iowa, where Pawlenty is currently polling in single digits?
Real Clear Politics’ average of polls ranks Romney first, Gingrich second, Palin third, and Pawlenty sixth, behind Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann.
Palin may not run, Gingrich may be imploding, but a Pawlenty finish behind Bachmann would be a staggering disaster for the Minnesota governor. A win is a win, but a good excuse can keep a campaign alive to fight another day in New Hampshire.
Bonus skill-testing question: since 1976, how many non-incumbent Republicans have won the Iowa caucuses and proceeded to win the party nomination? Answer: only one, George W. Bush.
So maybe it’s smart to blow them off and score integrity points for later.