Pawlenty presidential campaign cited as what not to do for Gov. Christie

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.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Doug Trumm on 11/14/2013 - 10:29 am.

    Pawlenty not even popular in MN

    Since Christie just won the re-election with 60% of the vote, he also holds the advantage of maintaining popularity in his state. Pawlenty popularity dipped down to 42% in 2010. I think it became glaringly obvious when Pawlenty entered the race that he was using our state as his own personal laboratory in order to build his resume. He shamelessly used accounting gimmicks to make it look like he balanced the budget. Raiding tobacco settlement money and shifting around K12 money does not equal putting the state on solid financial footing. Christie should be expected to carry his own state–at least if elections happened today. Pawlenty probably would have struggled to do even that.

  2. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/14/2013 - 10:51 am.

    Old news

    Thankfully he has left the state and hopefully never return

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/14/2013 - 03:57 pm.

    This Daniel Larson has a way with words,…

    …and he seems to have captured the heart of Tim Pawlenty’s political self with phrases like:

    “substance-free pseudo-populism”,

    “rhetoric about ‘Sam’s Club Republicans’”,

    “phony populist theatrics”,

    “an agenda that had nothing to do with economic populism”

    And here I thought no one was paying attention to Pawlenty !!

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