Friday, July 22, 2011

More on my hate-hate relationship with Tim Pawlenty

If you have been reading this blog at all, you may know that I really dislike Tim Pawlenty. I don't know what it is. I just have a thing about him.

While all politicians calculate what they can say and do and what they should not say and do if they are to have electoral success, some simply give up their souls without much of a fight. They are so quick to calculate every move that they no longer, if they ever did, have a center. They stand for nothing.

Okay, that would be way too harsh a characterization of anyone, but if you imagine politics as being conducted on a continuum, Pawlenty is, for me, so far to the side where the calculation for success trumps integrity that I can't stand it.

As you might imagine, I am having a rather good time watching his campaign fail to take off in any appreciable way. And this week I have particularly enjoyed watching him screw up as the indicators mount that he is going nowhere in a hurry.

In no particular order, here are some fun facts:

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted from July 14 to 17 had him at 2 per cent. That's behind Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and New Gingrich, and, obviously, well behind Mitt Romney (30 percent) and Michele Bachmann (16 percent). It is also behind Rick Perry, who hasn't even announced, though he got 11 percent, which is relevant for the next fun fact.

As Daily Kos reports:

In a sign that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign is still struggling, Public Policy Polling announced Monday night that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will replace Pawlenty in general election polling match-ups against President Barack Obama.

Pawlenty will still be included in the organization's Republican primary polls but his removal from this company's general election poll match-ups bodes badly for Pawlenty, who has faltered in recent polls, leading some observers to speculate that his campaign is sinking.

The point is that a major polling company has made a decision to pay less attention to Pawlenty. That's never good when it happens.

As if to drive the point home, Pawlenty's team seems to be lowering expectations for the Iowa caucuses, despite the fact that he had earlier hoped to do quite well there. Recently, campaign spokesperson Alex Conant said that "[W]e want to show progress in Ames, do better than sixth or seventh." Sixth or seventh? Wow.

But the icing on the cake for me is the fact that he is not only doing poorly, but he is beginning to climb into the gutter, hoping that something, anything, might work. Such was, no doubt, the calculation when he challenged Michele Bachmann's fitness to lead by implying that she might need to take too much time off due to her migraines. As he said:

All the candidates I think are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all the job all the time... there's no real time off in that job.

I am certainly no fan of Michele Bachmann, but this kind of thing by Pawlenty just creeps me out and shows some serious desperation.

And then, true to form, when pressed, he backed off the claim that the migraines would be a problem by calling the whole thing a "side show." First you sling the mud and then you claim that's not what you meant at all. What a backbone.

Maybe failure in Iowa will mean a quick and merciful end to his campaign. Maybe he gets out earlier, but that's unlikely, although 2 percent in current polling isn't much to work with.

As I said, I just don't like the guy and it's not even a Republican vs. Democrat thing. I swear.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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