In an article purporting to offer advice to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign, The American Conservative says: Don’t be like Tim Pawlenty.
Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, was a high-flying GOP presidential contender in the early days of the 2012 campaign, but his effort collapsed badly.
Says the story, “Avoid the Pawlenty Trap,” by Daniel Larison (hat tip to Rachel Stassen-Berger):
The hopeless Tim Pawlenty campaign is an example of the pitfalls of substance-free pseudo-populism. Like Christie, Pawlenty’s appeal “on paper” was that he was a two-term governor from a reliably Democratic state, and therefore just as competitive nationally as Romney and perhaps even more so. Pawlenty was supposed to have an ability to appeal to working-class voters thanks to his background and his rhetoric about “Sam’s Club Republicans,” and there were hints early on in the campaign that Pawlenty imagined himself playing the role of a more electable Huckabee-type candidate in the 2012 field.
As we all know, Pawlenty campaigned on an agenda that had nothing to do with economic populism of any kind, and instead endorsed policies that seemed designed mainly to appeal to the editors of The Wall Street Journal rather than to voters in early caucuses and primaries. The combination of phony populist theatrics and utterly conventional policy ideas put him in the awkward bind of not being able to raise money or win over voters.
For whatever reason, Pawlenty was instantly taken seriously as a leading contender for the nomination, and he made the mistake of believing the hype.