Who Do I Support with Pawlenty Gone?

August 15th, 2011 at 1:00 am | 49 Comments |

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I have been supporting Tim Pawlenty for president this go round.  Now it appears I have to find a new candidate.

My reasons for supporting him were that he was from a Democrat leading Midwestern state and had run a generally conservative administration. He seemed like a serious man with a nice family and solid accomplishments.

I wanted as little as possible for the Democrats to demonize and for my money Minnesotans are tough to turn into bogeymen. (Al Franken aside.)

So much for that. Pawlenty’s inability to capture the imagination of primary goers next door or to galvanize enough strength to get him past Iowa doomed him.  Michele Bachmann is a reminder that charisma matters in politics.

I used the “Goldilocks” method to pick Pawlenty.  Romney-too wishy washy (and politically tone deaf); Bachmann-too staunch (and only a congresswoman); Gingrich-too many wives, sickness Huntsman-too beloved by Democrats; Santorum-too hated by Democrats; Herman Cain-too untried; Ron Paul-too much. And now Rick Perry-too Texan?  If he is the nominee, ask Texas and George Bush’s time in office will be the issue and not Obama.  Perry seems fine to me in a lot of ways but we start with a problem: he is easy for the Democrats to demonize and to get their media echo chamber to demonize.

The key now is electability.  In 2012 Obama is vulnerable.  In point of fact things may be so bad next year any Republican can beat him.  But that is not the way to bet.  Romney is the Gerry Cooney of presidential politics.  He looks fine until he runs into a real champion boxer when the mat rises up to meet him.  I also think anti-Mormon prejudice is too great and exploiting that prejudice too acceptable (see Kennedy v. Romney) for the Republicans to chance it.

It is down to Bachmann and Perry.  All the other potential nominees are not strong enough to take the nomination and have weaknesses greater than or equal to those of Perry or Bachmann.  Perry has been a governor for ten years.  Bachmann a back bencher for six.  Bachmann may not carry her state, Perry will.  With Jeb Bush staying out who has the base, the money, the name recognition and the experience to best him in a Republican primary?

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49 Comments so far ↓

  • Moderate

    Huntsman-too beloved by Democrats

    That’s a terrible reason, especially on a website dedicated to expanding the GOP’s appeal.

    The key now is electability.

    You ought to read the polls. Romney is the only candidate who consistently defeats Obama. Rick Perry was losing to Obama in Texas!

    With Jeb Bush staying out…

    Jeb Bush recently endorsed Jon Huntsman.

    • hormelmeatco

      “That’s a terrible reason”

      I agree it’s a bad reason to not consider Huntsman, but I don’t disagree with John’s observation, which is what I took his statement to mean.

    • Graychin

      It was Jeb Bush JR. who endorsed Huntsman.

    • karsten.erzinger

      Its a perfectly legit reason; the guy is too much like a Democrat, and thus, not one who would really excite the party base. If they party base is meh, how do you expect to win an election?

  • Moderate

    [Deleted by author]

  • Demosthenes

    Is anti-Mormon sentiment “prejudice” in and of itself, or only because it promises to limit the appeal of the presumptive front-runner?

    Also: is anti-Scientologist sentiment also “prejudice”? If a Scientologist were the Democratic front-runner, would you consider his “religion” off limits? Is it “prejudiced” to be anti-Scientology (/anti-Mormon), or is such a sentiment precisely the result of judicious discernment?

    What makes membership in a cult acceptable for Presidential candidates? Or does the R next to his name mean that anyone asking these questions is “prejudiced” for doing so?

    • Graychin

      I seem to recall Obama’s religion being front-and-center in the last campaign. And in the whisper campaign as well. Isn’t he a Secret Muslim? And is that somehow worse than being a Public Mormon?

    • jjv

      The Mormons have contributed an awful lot to America over the years. Their public men are almost always solid dependable people given enormous trust by everyone who has to deal with them. Even your side puts Harry Reid in charge of the Senate.

      The Scientologists-not so much. L.Ron Hubbard is known by people in living memory. My point also is that the Democrats are always for diversity until it doesn’t come with a government program. Their demonation of Mormons and Cubans are all of a piece.

      • Gus

        I don’t trust a religion that says it’s adherents can’t have a beer now and again. And yes, that includes Islam.

  • mgregoire


  • TerryF98

    Support someone who tells the truth, unlike you.

    John Vecchione. You are a LIAR.

    Despite requesting withdrawal and an apology from you for your blatant lies regarding the US ambassador to France you refuse to acknowledge your “mistake”

    That makes you worse than useless as a “writer” You are a dissembler of lies.

    We the readers and commentators at this blog have challenged you on a number of occasions both in the piece and later to deal with this, you have ignored us. You are a disgrace to the Conservative movement and I am unable to see how Frum allows you to continue to write here.

    • jjv

      I have had an update on that piece forever. I don’t write the headlines. I did not “lie” as I linked to my source and then cited no less a light than Bob Tyrell on how gracious he was. Here is the update posted long ago while you are still calling me a liar from merlely linking to news reports.

      UPDATE: It appears from the comments (and the American Spectator) that the American Ambassdor to London gave a gracious speech on Ronald Reagan.

      • Xunzi Washington

        Wasn’t the ambassador’s “snub” the whole point of the piece? Strange update — and very late too, I remember looking to see if you’d correct it.

        Might as well have said:

        UPDATE: The entire premise of this article is false, and I clearly do no research before I write anything.

      • TerryF98

        So you were lying as you stated in the piece that the Ambassador snubbed the event. A short search on the same day by commentators on this site brought up the correct information that you refused to change.

        Your ‘Update” a month later is too little too late, your reputation for what it was worth is now worth even less.

  • ottovbvs

    “Romney is the Gerry Cooney of presidential politics…..for the Republicans to chance it……It is down to Bachmann and Perry.”

    No element of chance in nominating one of these two crazies of course. Go for it Vecchione.

  • Graychin

    “Minnesotans are tough to turn into bogeymen. (Al Franken aside.)” Cute. But I hear that Michele Bachmann is from Minnesota.

    “Huntsman-too beloved by Democrats.” Dude, aren’t you cutting off your nose to spite your face? You’ll need some of those Democrats if your ultimate nominee is going to, you know, win the election.

    “..things may be so bad next year any Republican can beat (Obama).” You wish! They WILL be that bad if Congressional Republicans continue to do everything possible to sabotage the economy for political gain.

    “Romney is the Gerry Cooney of presidential politics.” Yeah – the Great White Hope.

    “…who has the base, the money, the name recognition and the experience to best (Perry) in a Republican primary?” No one. That’s quite a political party you’ve got there! “Where ya gonna go? Where ya gonna run? Where ya gonna hide? Nowhere. Cuz there’s no one… like you… left.”

    So – who DO you support? Sounds like your best choice is… Barack Obama. Especially if the alternative is Rick Perry. America will agree.

  • jnail

    Anyone who supported little Timmy in the first place worries me. Why a guy like Pawlenty thought he should or could be President is beyond me.

    Bachmann is toast now, esp. after her Diva behavior at the Waterloo dinner so it is Mitt or W lite….good luck with either alternative.

    Perry will be the nominee and get slaughtered in the general.

    PS – Perry trailed Obama in TX a month ago…go figure

  • Oldskool

    Lousy options like that may be moot. Obama may be going full-FDR on Rs.

    As the economy worsens, President Obama and his senior aides are considering whether to adopt a more combative approach on economic issues, seeking to highlight substantive differences with Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail rather than continuing to pursue elusive compromises, advisers to the president say.

    If he gets the base riled up like they were in ’08, you may as well sit this one out.


  • Stewardship

    If Bachman is the nominee, there will be a viable independent effort. I doubt it would be any of the current candidates….but The Donald (ugh), Bloomberg, Palin…

    If Bachman is the nominee, watch for a raft of GOP retirement announcements. The voids will be filled by farther right candidates….all of whom will go down with Bachman…shifting the House back to the Dems and strengthening the Senate for them, too.

    The nice thing about this speculation is, the nominee will not be Bachman.

    • ottovbvs

      “the nominee will not be Bachman.”

      True, but then many of the malign effects you describe are quite likely to occur if Perry is the nominee and can you be as sure he won’t be?

      • Stewardship

        My concern with Perry is the other governors (Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Christie, Daniels) wouldn’t buck him and support an independent run.

        • think4yourself

          @ Stewardship: “My concern with Perry is the other governors (Romney, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Christie, Daniels) wouldn’t buck him and support an independent run.”

          Not a chance. except for Romney (his last year of shelf life), they are all secretly hoping that Perry/Romney/Bachmann all crash and burn so they can run in 2016. Don’t forget Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal in that list of governors.

  • medinnus

    Huntsman-too beloved by Democrats

    Huntsman may or may not be beloved by Democrats — if you have a citation for that little piece of slander, post it, lest it become dismissed as “I don’t like Huntsman so I’ll just say the Democrats love him” partisan idiocy — but he is also the choice of the Conservatives that have drifted away from the GOP since they went full-blown batshit Birther bigotry crazy.

    The GOP is polling at 23-31% in voter identification, with a huge voter disapproval rating of 57% among the nation.

    What the heck – besides a stupidly-misplaced partisan optimism – makes you think any candidate of the GOP can take the White House without the support of moderates and centrists?

    Here’s a clue – the Religious Reich candidates don’t play well on the national stage. I can’t see Bachmann or Perry, regardless of their appeal to the fascist Christianists, being able to win over any significant amount of the center, which any party would need to win.

    Romney might – but only if he turns on a dime (which he has in the past, one of the reasons he’s distrusted by the GOP base) and panders to the center, “refudiating” much of the verbal horseshit he’s been spewing to get the nomination. If Perry is “Bush, Jr. Lite”, then Romney is “McCain Lite”; add in Palin or Bachmann as his VP and you get the same defeat the GOP suffered in 2008.

    The GOP’s fascination with the extreme Right isn’t going to win them the Presidency in 2012, which is why Huntsman is going to seriously run in 2016, IMO. I support him not because I think he has a realistic chance in 2012, but because I’d be a worse hypocrite than I probably already am (aren’t we all, to some degree or another?) if I didn’t support the only sane Conservative candidate in the GOP primaries.

    • talkradiosucks.com

      “Sane” is relative of course — Huntsman went along with his peers with the “no taxes for any reason” dogma.

      • medinnus

        if you’d ever met my relatives, you’d understand that ‘relative’ and ‘sane’ cannot be used in the same sentence without a negative modifier… /rimshot

    • jjv

      The idea that the two front runners of the Republican Party-Romney of Massachusetts and a ten year governor of Texas are “extreme right” is just nonsense. Bachman maybe but she is running a campaign that is brilliant in undermining the leftist narrative about her.

      • Cforchange

        Really incredible is that the GOP frontrunner 10 year governor of TX was a Democrat in the previous decade.
        Interesting would be to determine what percentage of the current GOP have converted from the other side. That would explain to me why the Republican(small/minor) party no longer represents me. I may need to change my handle to CforRestoration.

        Did Perry work for Al Gores campaign?

      • ottovbvs

        “and a ten year governor of Texas are “extreme right” is just nonsense.”

        You don’t consider claims that SS and Medicare are unconstitutional; threats to secede; the holding of prayer meetings to call for rain; prima facie evidence of extremism? No you probably don’t.

    • think4yourself

      Medinnus, I think you’re picking on JV unnecessarily here.

      “Huntsman beloved by Democrats/Slander”. That’s an opinion, not slander. You can argue that the Tea Party (fostered by the Dems), think Huntsman is beloved by Democrats. Huntsman was the GOP candidate whose positions I most favored (at least until he raised his hand that he wouldn’t take 10-1 spending cuts to tax increases).

      “The GOP is polling at 23-31% in voter identification, with a huge voter disapproval rating of 57% among the nation.”

      - can you please give a citation for the above statement? Along with it can you include what the Democrat voter identitification and voter disapproval rating is? Meaning I don’t think either party looks good to the public right now.

      “Romney might if he turns on a dime… panders to the center.”

      - Please, there isn’t a politican alive that isn’t playing to the base and then turning toward the center. Obama ran Left of Hillary Clinton on his anti-war record and then ran to the middle (interesting to contrast his campaigning versus his governing as President – one of the chief sources of Liberal discontent).

      I disagree with JV that Romney can’t be the GOP candidate. (I loved the Gerry Cooney quote). Perry is untested as a campaigner on a national stage. He has weaknesses to exploit in the general that Romney will take advantage of (how can you claim to want to be President of the country you were ready to secede from?). Romney has run a national campaign before. He can raise lots of money. He doesn’t raise the Tea Parties passions, on the other hand he does appeal more to the moderates.

      As far as the general election I think it hinges on employment. When we vote, if it’s over 9.5%, I think this election is the GOP’s to lose. If it’s under 8.5% I think Obama wins and anything in between is a toss up. The only exception is a national catastrophe. The last Presidential was all about the Iraq war – until the economy upended it in the last 90 days of the campaign.

      If Obama wins (which I still think is most likely), then the major candidates are looking at 2016 and they are all hoping for an economic turnaround especially in their states (Christie, Rubio, Jindal, Haley). I’d add Huntsman in that mix but not Pawlenty. I think he now has the reputation as being too weak.

      • medinnus

        The poll percentages are from the most recent CNN/ORC Internatio­nal poll – its all over, feel free to Google at your leisure.

      • ExConSean

        My theory about Huntsman has been from the beginning that he’s just getting his name out there now as the only reasonable guy in the room. Then, when the Tea Party boffs this election for the GOP and everyone’s sitting there wondering what to do with the broken pieces of the Grand Ol’ Party, in steps Huntsman, the least scary major figure in the party, to guide it into the future. His real run will be in 2016.

  • TAZ

    I would like the author to list his five top reasons for supporting T-Paw.

    My guess would be:
    1. Some Religious Reason / Stance.
    2. Some Religious Reason / Stance.
    3. Some Religious Reason / Stance.
    4. Some Religious Reason / Stance.
    5. For refusing the 10 to 1 compromise.

    • jjv

      I listed my reasons-”acceptable republican with governing experience.”

      • TAZ

        You said:

        I used the “Goldilocks” method to pick Pawlenty.

        He was from a Democrat leading Midwestern state.

        He ran a generally conservative administration.

        He seemed like a serious man with a nice family and solid accomplishments.

        Seems Obama would fill those examples just as well….. makes me wonder what your real reasons were.

  • midwest guy

    If Mr. Vecchione had spent just a bit more time and effort studying Pawlenty’s actual record in Minnesota, he would have learned that the man is not considered a “successful governor” by anybody except for folks far away from Minnesota—-predominately, DC pundits who are desperate to find a viable GOP face to support. Those who lived through Mr. Pawlenty’s one and one half terms (he went AWOL for most of his last term) know that he is not a leader, is not honest about fiscal responsibility, and is not capable of taking a serious stand on anything other than self-preservation. In short, those who know Mr. Pawlenty best understand he is simply not Presidential material.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    to be fair to JJV, Jonathan Chait over at TNR has long predicted Pawlenty’s nomination for precisely the reasons that JJV has laid out, their both being wrong is not a reflection of their ideology (which are very much opposed) but their analysis. This is not meant as a knock, many candidates on paper look like winners but never catch fire.

    4 years ago I supported Pawlenty for VP under McCain, but somewhere TPaw went off the rails, his advocating for default made him into the worst sort of panderer, Bachmann believes her nonsense so she has an excuse, Pawlenty didn’t, so I am delighted he went down in flames.

  • gmckee1985

    Bachmann and Perry are no goes. Fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republicans (which is pretty much what I consider myself) and independents in the suburbs aren’t going to vote for a loose cannon like Bachmann, or a George Bush clone (fair or not) like Perry.

    Romney is the only choice here. He can expand the map for the GOP.

    • ottovbvs

      On the other hand he probably couldn’t maximise Republican turnout which I put at around 60-62 million

      • wileedog

        Exactly. I just have trouble seeing southern Evangelicals turning out en masse for a Mormon ex-Gov of true blue Massachusetts whose signature policy achievement in his career was the pre-cursor to the hated Obamacare (which – gulp!- he raised taxes to pay for). Even beyond that, there just has to be massive trust issues for anyone remotely paying attention to where Mitt is on a position on any given day.

        A large part of the Tea Party rage is directed at the GOP who has been promising them things for years and suddenly forgetting them once they got into office. Romney is the epitome of the ‘say anything’ politician.

        And that’s not even getting into his Wall Street and establishment ties. He is just about everything the Tea Party dislikes, other than having a D next to his name.

  • rbottoms

    It’s fun to watch you suffer. Like a one night stand gone bad you wish the Religeous Reich would just go home already.

  • ConnerMcMaub

    Speaking as a Democrat, I want Bachmann. Issues aside, she is an excellent candidate, in control even when attacked unfairly and always on message. She was great on MTP yesterday. The White House thinks Perry would be easier to beat than Romney. Romney is the only one who can’t be painted as an anti-science. Perry’s public religiosity will turn off Jewish voters, Catholics, and a lot of people who believe that religion should be private and not a public competition for who does it the loudest.

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  • gmckee1985

    When has religion ever been an obstacle to getting elected in America? Reagan, Bush I & Bush II were all pretty public with their religion. So were many previous presidents. It’s only been in recent history where the left has tried to portray America as anti religion, when that isn’t the case at all, especially with large swaths of icky (in liberal eyes) “middle America”.

    • medinnus

      I think its been that way since the Christianist/Dominionists want to establish the United States as a “Christians first, everyone else second-class citizen” state with an official religion.

      If you aren’t Christian, or if you hold even a modicum of respect for the Constitution, its a disquieting and disturbing thought. The Christian religion, when empowered by the state, has been the cause of more torture and death throughout history than any other cause. the Founding Fathers came from a greater Europe where their sects were, to put it mildly, unwelcome – they knew first-hand, the dangers of Christian fascism, and rejected it utterly.

  • roesch

    Listen to the CSpan interview with Thaddeus McCotter and you will discover a rational, careful Republican who deserves the nomination.

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    Whom — it is “Whom do I support…..” and the answer is Perry unless Ryan jumps in….

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