Vin Weber: Flawed Iowa strategy doomed Pawlenty campaign

Vin Weber
Vin Weber
Tim Pawlenty
REUTERS/Brian C. Frank
Tim Pawlenty

I believe if he had been able to stay in the race, his appeal would have grown as you got closer to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and people are actually thinking about choosing a candidate. We’ve seen that in the past, on the Democratic side, with the historic case of Howard Dean leading in the polls for many months and then in the end, John Kerry overtook him when Democrats decided Kerry had the greater ability to win.

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann

I don’t underestimate Michele’s political abilities at all, but she has yet to demonstrate an ability to appeal beyond the party’s base, and I would say the same thing about Gov. Perry. I think maybe they will; that’s what campaigns are all about. But I think they’ve got to demonstrate that appeal or the electability argument becomes a very real one.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

We have to wait for a while to see how the Perry candidacy develops — it’s too new, he’s got the buzz of being the new guy in the field. Let’s wait a month or so and see what that looks like. I think Gov. Romney is doing the right thing: he’s building a campaign that can credibly claim to be able to defeat President Obama and so far I think he’s the only one doing that in this race.

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Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Roy Everson on 08/29/2011 - 04:43 am.

    A question I would ask Vin Weber: did the candidacy of Sarah Palin in 2008 whet the appetite of right wing men for a female candidate with sex appeal who would hit all the right buttons (yes, double-double entendre); an appetite further enhanced by Palin’s celebrityhood in recent years, leading to the perfect tempest in a tea-party pot for MB to slither into? Please, Vin, give all your thoughts on this theory.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/29/2011 - 06:48 am.

    Pawlenty’s campaign was on life-support since Bachmann entered the race. Pawlenty can’t out-business Romney, out-Bible Bachmann, or out-moderate Huntsman. He had no constituency left. More than Ames, I think the entry of Perry put the nail in the coffin. It did the same for Bachmann as well. The pope can’t out-Jesus Rick Perry

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/29/2011 - 08:47 am.

    The basest of the base are going to make it pretty difficult for the Republicans to put forward an “electable” candidate. Pawlenty like Mitt, comes across as a poseur in the age of the Tea Party. Pawlenty had the advantage of not being a Mormon in a “born-again world”, but I would guess that Perry perfectly fills the basest of the base desires. After all, who wants a president that “submits” to a man named Marcus? Awfully foreign, doncha think?

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/29/2011 - 09:53 am.

    Pawlenty’s a dud, there’s no strategy in the universe that would’ve gotten him nominated. He lucked out running against even bigger duds two terms in a row here in MN, otherwise he’da never gotten out of the MN House. Just as Bachmann has no chance in a national election any more than she would a state-wide election.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/29/2011 - 09:53 am.

    The Tea Party types such as Michelle Bachmann have no respect for those with long, pragmatic experience such as Vin Weber. They ONLY respect those who passionately agree with them and, thus, those whom they take to be one of “us.”

    Anyone who raises questions and/or offers challenges, let alone DISagrees with them on anything is simply dismissed by the Tea Party folks because, by their disagreement, such folks have revealed that they are clearly NOT one of “us,” but one of “THEM!”

    In terms of the Tea Party’s control of the Republican Party, Vin Weber and his cronies are yesterday’s news.

    Vin is a has been who, with so many of the protect the rich, enslave the poor, main guard of the Republican Party which took over in the Reagan era, had always believed that they could court the radical (and irrational) disaffected (dysfunctional), “I’m mad as h__l and I’m not gonna take it anymore,” “conservatives” to win elections,…

    but then shunt those people aside, ignore their anger, and expect they’d never, ever notice that their social issues were never really addressed and their economic prospects continued to go down, and down, and down are now heading toward being destroyed by the monster they worked so long and hard to create in their push for a “permanent Republican majority.”

    In FAR TOO MANY locations across the country, the Tea Party types control the local party apparatus and, thereby, from the ground up, control the Republican Party at every other level, too.

    Now that they are in control, the Tea Party Republicans will gradually destroy the GOP because, as we have seen here in Minnesota, when their approaches to the issues with which our government must deal are revealed to be terribly destructive, and the public turns against them,…

    their approach is not to back off, but to double down,…

    to get angry at the public for disagreeing with the Tea Partier’s “true beliefs,” and push even harder and faster,…

    to accomplish what the internal tricksters, born of their own dysfunctions, tell them MUST work,…

    but which, of course, will NEVER work but will only cause what those internal tricksters are trying to accomplish: the destruction of those advocating them, themselves, as well as a lot of others.

    Fancying themselves to be laying the groundwork for each of them to become King Midas (and ignoring everything contained in that sad story except the “everything he touched turned to gold” part),…

    They are racing toward creating, for themselves, and the rest of us, the more easily understood (at least for the Tea Party types) reality described in the old Hollies song, “King Midas in Reverse.”

    Yesterday’s Republican leaders, such as Vin Weber may eventually see the danger in what the Tea Party types are attempting to do, but they will be powerless to turn the party away from those dysfunctional and destructive directions, as we already saw exhibited in the recent debate on raising the debt ceiling.

  6. Submitted by Rick Ellis on 08/29/2011 - 10:47 am.

    Aside from his flaws as a candidate, two things really killed the Pawlenty Presidential run. The first was that by changing his position on so many things to fit the conservative Iowa voter mindset, he managed to both lose his ability to appear moderate while failing to convince conservatives he was one of them.

    Second, his debate performance gave voters a sense of the type of President he might be. His dodging of the opportunity to take on Romney face-to-face made him appear weak and gutless, and in any election year, that’s a fatal flaw.

  7. Submitted by Jim Roth on 08/29/2011 - 11:11 am.

    As one of my former neighbors would say “both parties would be happy to elect an old pig as long as it’s their pig”.

  8. Submitted by William Souder on 08/29/2011 - 11:34 am.

    Vin Weber is a smart guy, but Tim Pawlenty’s problem was not that he failed to make a “symbolic ideological statement.” Pawlenty doggedly issued one crass, duplicitous ideological statement after another.

    Pawlenty’s problem–as Mr. Udstrand correctly asserts–was that he is Tim Pawlenty, a weak, dishonest, and venal political weasel who would say or do anything to win an election, but who could not disguise the wreck he made of Minnesota as its governor.

    I mean–hello–the boredom with Pawlenty was a fixture of late-night comedy for months. He never had a chance.

  9. Submitted by larry boss on 08/29/2011 - 11:36 am.

    Sorry Weber, but you backed a real loser with Tim Pawlenty. Bill O’Reilly was right that T-Paw was just “plain vanilla” with no substance. Look this guy had run for President the entire last year he was Minnesota Governor and still couldn’t convince anyone that he was worth a dime. T-Paw couldn’t reinvent his pathetic moderate flip flopping record. This is what happens to someone who allows political ambition to overtake core principles. As for you Vin, you will continue to follow the money trail and give off bad advice to those who are dumb enough to pay you for it. Your lobby group may control the Minnesota GOP and the lemmings that follow your buddy Tony Sutton, but your influence across the county is waning.

  10. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/29/2011 - 11:36 am.

    I think that within 12 years or so the Republican party will consist of those 10-15% of voters who voted for Wallace back in 68, the racists, the religiously intolerant, the conspiracy theorists similar to the old John Birch Society. That wing of the party controls the caucuses and nominating and will keep throwing up (pun intended there) unelectable true believers. They may have success down south and with all the gum-chewing rednecks and in the ocassional district like Bachmann’s but they will peak. They get there real power now from being part of a bigger party that they manipulate to their cause because those pragmatists and moderates are afraid of losing their jobs.

    Eventually whatever is left of the moderates will combine with the independent voters to create a third party that will garner two or three times the votes of the fanatics.

    If the democrats can avoid caving in and sellng out they could wind up on top of the heap. If they can’t I’ll proably go back to voting independently and seeking the moderate middle ground (which is currently miles away from the nearest Republican still in office). Arne I miss you.

  11. Submitted by John ODonnell on 08/29/2011 - 12:07 pm.

    The Pawlenty campaign didn’t have a flawed strategy, it had a flawed candidate.

  12. Submitted by greg copeland on 08/29/2011 - 02:09 pm.

    For #9 Vin Weber, nor his firm, “control” the Minnesota GOP, such mythology has never been further from the truth than it is now.

    For#10 and the record, Alabama Gov. George Wallace won his office as a Democrat.
    Wallace’s third party ’68 general election run for President was under American Independence Party.
    Wallace was never a Republican.

  13. Submitted by Luke Soiseth on 08/29/2011 - 02:21 pm.

    The Republican Party is in a battle for its soul. The Tea Party (“Party” is the operative word) has hijacked the Republican Party from the more moderate Republicans, who are expected to sit down, shut up and drink the Kool-Aid if in fact they disagree on any point whatsoever. Reasoned opinions and even scientific evidence are all met with jeers if they do not align with the Tea Party orthodoxy. Relatively moderate politicians like Pawlenty and Huntsman don’t stand a chance in this environment. The likes of Bachmann and Perry, meanwhile, thrive.

    It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Will reasonable Republicans start to defect to the Dems or more likely Ron Paul? Will they turn on the Tea Party and wrestle control back? Or will they simply roll over do as told? Only time will tell.

    But if history is any guide, fringe movements, while wielding some power when new and impassioned, soon fizzle. So maybe the current moderate Republican response to the Tea Party (more or less ignoring them like one would the drunk uncle blabbering on incoherently at the Christmas table and hoping he’ll soon go home) will work out just fine.

  14. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/29/2011 - 03:11 pm.

    I still hope for backlash leading to an Eisenhower Republican resurrection, with moderate Republicans (and they are out there) wishing someone not so radical were on the ballot.

    It would be interesting to see a poll matching Bachmann and Perry against someone who said s/he was in favor of raising taxes on the rich and ending corporate loopholes; who would refuse to sign so-called “free” trade agreements; who would immediately have his/her Justice Department investigate the banksters who created the current financial mess; who would also have it investigate Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Feith and all the neocons who gave us Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (which wars would be declared “over;” would end all interference in Latin American and other elections; would raise the cap on Social Security earnings so it would be protected forever; and, most important, would enact single-payer health care for all so no American would ever again die from lack of care.

    I’d vote for that Republican myself.

  15. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/29/2011 - 05:31 pm.

    With politicians the problem is always something other than themselves. Pawlenty just can’t seem to get his head around the fact he was deeply flawed candidate with a a lousy message. The reason the public never connected with him was because his version of history was different than the public knows it to be. The ever changing persona. Today he is this guy. Yesterday he was some other guy and tomorrow he will be someone else. Now go find a real job Tim.

  16. Submitted by Jean Schiebel on 08/29/2011 - 05:46 pm.

    I have several friends and family who consider themselves moderate Republicans..right now they are discouraged and are hoping for a different choice.
    Pawlenty disappointed them because of his extreme move to the right..and hey don’t like any of the candidates that have come forward so far.

    I just smile and secretly hope Bachman gets endorsed..

  17. Submitted by William Pappas on 08/30/2011 - 06:49 am.

    To continue to hear Vin Weber take both Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann seriously gives us insight into the political contorionist he has become (along with the entire Republican Party). Just a few years ago Rick Perry’s views would have been considered delusional and bizarre while Bachmann’s extreme anti-environmentalism (born of her dominionist biblical theology)along with her rigid stance on social issues adds an unelectable aura to her fantasies about the American economy. Vin Weber is not telling the truth when he tries to portray each of them as legitimate, serious candidates. It’s hard to imagine adults like Weber sitting around and formulating legitimate policy around the required “litmus tests” that have become the soul of the Republican Party. To do so they must suspend logic, deny the truth and present their views as consistent with the middle class while they know that nearly all Americans will suffer and diminish as overall wealth is massively shifted to the huber rich through tax policy, spending cuts and deregulation. Did Weber actually believed a “dud” like Pawlenty with such a horrendous record as governor could inspire the country?

  18. Submitted by Howard Miller on 08/31/2011 - 04:45 pm.

    Vin Weber’s a smart guy, but i speculate that Mr. Pawlenty’s problem was really quite simple.

    Any time there is someone else in the room, Tim’s the less interesting person.

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