The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Dan Balz's Take

Pawlenty moves raise questions

By Dan Balz
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is widely regarded as one of the Republican Party's rising national leaders. The runner-up to Sarah Palin to be John McCain's vice presidential running mate, he is a conservative whose blue-collar roots, amiable personality and two terms as governor of a traditionally Democratic state would seem to make him a natural to help his party attract the kind of swing voters who are always fought over in presidential elections.

But the Pawlenty who has stepped onto the national stage in recent months has said and done things that have other Republicans wondering about his instincts and his sure-footedness as a prospective 2012 presidential candidate. Pawlenty could learn from the earlier mistakes of one of his potential rivals for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Last week, during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, Pawlenty was asked repeatedly whether he welcomed Sen. Olympia Snowe, the lone Republican to vote for the Senate Finance Committee health care bill, in the GOP. At a time when some conservatives are insisting on purity within the ranks and others say the party must truly be a big tent, Pawlenty ducked the question. He hemmed and hawed, but couldn't bring himself to say "yes" -- suggesting that he believed "no."

He now calls his responses "an unforced error" and an "inartfully" stated answer. Of course he meant "yes," he now insists. "While we don't agree on everything, of course she is welcome in the party," he said in a telephone interview. "That's what I should have said."

His effort to quickly clean up the mess, which included a call to Snowe, helped to make amends. But the misstep was not the first questionable decision by Pawlenty, which has Republican strategists wondering about him.

Last September, he jumped into the controversy over President Obama's speech to school children, questioning the wisdom of having the president speak to students in a way that provided some cover to those claiming the presidential talk was an overtly political move designed to indoctrinate young people.

In another interview on MSNBC, he appeared reluctant to get on the wrong side of those who claimed there were "death panels" in some versions of the health care legislation on Capitol Hill. He eventually acknowledged there were no such panels but said the concerns of those believed so were justifiable. On environmental issues, concluded that he has flip-flopped on climate change legislation, which he now opposes.

Most recently, he endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava in New York's 23rd congressional district, but he acted only after former Alaska governor Sarah Palin had turned the special election into an intraparty test of strength.

Pawlenty said there is no deliberate effort to move to the right. "In general, I've governed as a conservative in Minnesota, so being conservative isn't like a new development or a revelation," he said.

He said he raised doubts about Obama's speech to schoolchildren because "I was just echoing what a well regarded, nonpartisan group of educators [the Minnesota Association of School Boards] was saying." On New York 23, he said, he objected to the fact that Scozzafava was hand-picked by local leaders. He also said he concluded her views put her far outside the mainstream of Republican doctrine.

"There is certainly room in the party and room in the movement for all kinds of ideas and principles and issue positions," he said, "but in general we have to be rowing in the same direction as a team and I don't think she met that standard."

Pawlenty, who has never been known as red-meat political orator, acknowledged that has been particularly rough in his criticism of Obama this year but offered no regrets on that front. "I don't think this is a time to mince words," he said.

Pawlenty earlier decided not to seek a third term as governor. He has established a political action committee and assembled a team of advisers who are among the best in the party, with roots in Iowa, an understanding of new technology and a breadth of knowledge on the intersection of politics and policy.

The question is whether he and his team have been spooked by the influence of the most conservative wing of his party in presidential nominating politics. His advisers say no. "These are all unique circumstances in time and they don't represent a strategic or calibrated effort to move to the right," said one adviser.

Still, there is something Romneyesque in all this. Four years ago, Romney lurched to the right in preparation for his presidential candidacy. He did it on social issues, where his prior support for abortion and gay rights left him vulnerable on his right flank. Pawlenty has a consistent record of opposition to abortion and gay marriage. In his case, he appears to be catering to the conservative, populist anger on the right, which is challenging the party establishment and attacking Obama in sometimes extreme language.

The real risk for Pawlenty, as Romney learned in his unsuccessful 2008 campaign, is losing his true voice and his authenticity. Romney spent so much time trying to reposition himself and picking narrow tactical fights with his rivals that the qualities that might have made him a more attractive candidate were lost in the smoke. But once a candidate starts down that road, it can be hard to pull back.

This year, Romney has generally kept a lower profile. The view among strategists is that Romney has been shrewd in staying out of these flare-ups and wise to try to focus on big-picture issues of national security and the economy when he raises his profile. Pawlenty, being less known nationally and looking to attract attention to himself, has been reluctant to stay quiet.

Pawlenty defends his decisions to get involved in these battles, saying that as he winds down his governorship he intends to do what he can to shape the party and help elect more Republicans. But he also said he still believes the Republican Party must be more inclusive. "It's not about abandoning our principles or diluting our principles or acting like Democrats," he said. "It's about trying to get independents and Democrats to join our cause."

That's the kind of politician Pawlenty has been up to now. The question is whether, at a time of turmoil within the Republican Party and with a need to raise his own profile, he can prepare himself for a possible presidential campaign without sacrificing the best qualities that brought him to this point in his career.

Posted at 10:08 AM ET on Nov 11, 2009  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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I love his word "Republican Doctrine" What it really means is "LIES AND DECEPTION" Check the facts smaller government and less spending has always been a lie and especially under Reagan and Bush.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | November 12, 2009 4:06 PM

I love his word "Republican Doctrine" What it really means is "LIES AND DECEPTION" Check the facts smaller government and less spending has always been a lie and especially under Reagan and Bush.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | November 12, 2009 4:01 PM

Pawlenty, like every other potential Republican candidate for President in 2012, is either afraid of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, or is just as wacko as Limbaugh and Beck. As angry as many Americans are right now about the economy, there is No Way the American people will choose either a Right Wing Wacko OR a candidate who is afraid of Right Wing Wackos. Thank God.

Posted by: Mmmichael | November 12, 2009 2:23 AM

Pawlenty record as a totally irresponsible failed governor who will be leaving the once prosperous State of Minnesota with an unprecidented 6 billion dollar deficit, crumbling infrastructure, falling test scores, failure to balance the budget even once in 8 years, slashing healthcare for the poor should be more than enough to raise questions regarding his abilities and qualifications to rise on the national scene. His disengenuous move to the join with far right extremists leaves him inauthentic with all facets of the GOP. Bottom line, this man is no leader.

Posted by: xclntcat | November 11, 2009 6:59 PM

He's a weak swinging little reed....

very little there one way or another.

He can't really decide what he is, except

There isn't a decent potential leader in the whole spectrum. Silly 4th classers.

Romney might have done it. But he's over.
And a party that considers Palin it's leader is not viable anyway.

Posted by: whistling | November 11, 2009 3:22 PM

spydrmyk wrote:

First Mikem1, the point was they the candidate should have been elected by the people not 'chosen' by the local leaders.


I understand your point in its broadest terms, but there are a lot of elections in this country where the convention is closed and the candidate is selected by party officials. The example closest to home is the GOP party primary in Virginia. Maybe you wrote at length at the time about how that was a threat to the fabric of democracy, but maybe you let that one slide past.

I'm sorry to jump the Pawlenty thread with this thought, but a lot of the Democratic party analysis around the three recent elections (NY, VA and NJ) is stating that where the GOP ran centrists (or moderates or whatever label you have) in VA and NJ, they won. Where they ran a further-right campaign, they lost. This sets up the scenario that the left should hope that the GOP runs as many hard right candidates as possible, believing that the moderates and independents will go with the other candidate. McDonnell could have run as a true believer, hard right candidate. He has all the credentials that those hoping for a new, pure, clean conservative party want. The fact that he chose the message of jobs and transportation shows that the real threat for Democrats are the right wing candidates that are vetted by Palin's/Hoffman's/Rubio's followers but don't hammer away on their more divisive, but ideological pure, ideas.

Posted by: thingsthatshine | November 11, 2009 2:46 PM

There's another reason why T-Paw didn't run for a third term as Governor - his polling was horrible and he ran the very real risk of loosing.

Posted by: dre7861 | November 11, 2009 2:35 PM




• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan

• FEMA Director Craig Fugate

• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander

• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples

• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris

• CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes

• FBI Director Robert Mueller


What do they know -- and when did they know it? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 11, 2009 2:32 PM

Listen up Palin! Fear the Pawlenty! Oh Yeah!

Is this really what the GOP has come to?


Palin-Pawlenty 2012!


Posted by: free-donny | November 11, 2009 2:14 PM

First of all, the election in New York that the republicans lost was to fill a seat that had been vacated due to the elected person taking the job of Secretary of the Army. In that case the rules do allow for party officials to select someone to run in the special election to fill the remainder of the term. That person would face re-election at the natural end of the term. Because the normal way to select a candidate is through a primary election before a general election, two elections being time and cost prohibitive for just one district, the party selected someone after a series of community meetings in which the 8 republicans putting themselves up for the seat answered questions for the public that attended. After the series of meetings/questions, those selected party leaders made their choice for the republican. It wasn't backroom dealings, it was in keeping with the rules of the party for selecting someone to fill out a term. I read up on Ms. Scozzafava, and she is a republican. One that might be considered more moderate by some, but none the less a republican. Funny, she really stands for what the party says they stand for. Less government, privacy, the government staying out of peoples lives. Of course she thinks part of that is staying out of peoples lives for real, out of the bedrooms and home and out of women's wombs. Less government in her book is really less government. Not a government telling folks how they have to live. Heck, I never vote republican and I might have been able to vote for her. If I lived there. As it is, I think the minute that people that didn't live there got involved and circumvented the local republicans who made the decision on who to put up, they screwed the party. Not that I mind. The more democrats the merrier. I just think it is funny. Sarah Palin has been offering to campaign and endorse various republican candidates and they haven't taken her up on it. The first one who does, loses big. Maybe she should endorse more republicans. Sounds like a great strategy for the democrats.
As far as Pawlenty goes, he should take a lesson from the New York election. The moderate republican gets chased out of the election by the ultra conservatives and radio/tv loudmouths, the republicans lose.
Catering to them might not be his best move. However, if he hasn't spoken up against Minnesota's crazy woman, he may well get tarred with the same brush going after her. I swear, I have to wonder how Bachmann got elected, not just once, but twice. I hope you Minnesotans realize that folks are really starting to wonder about you that voted for Bachmann. How can you keep voting for someone who is certifiable and should be in a straitjacket?

Posted by: alaskan2 | November 11, 2009 2:04 PM

Romney was criticized because his abrupt change from liberal to conservative positions rendered him untrustworthy and inauthentic. Dan Balz does not show that Pawlenty has changed any positions. If not, then then I see no problem with Mr. Pawlenty -- he is just a conservative acting as a conservative. Good for him.

Posted by: Bill1230 | November 11, 2009 1:52 PM

It's interesting to see the tangles that a politician like Pawlenty can get tied up in.

Gov. Pawlenty has been trying to establish a name for himself within the most conservative factions in national Republican politics, preparing for a Presidential election fully three years away. He has therefore done things -- like declaring a perference in an upstate New York Congressional District's special election -- that could only have been done at the urging of Republican campaign strategists seeking ways to raise Pawlenty's national profile. The negative reaction to his gestures now has him being publicly doubted by other GOP strategists (or perhaps the same ones who advised him in the first place).

The conduit for both Pawlenty's gestures and the doubts they have inspired is a media grown used to treating the campaign as more important than government, utterly reliant on campaign professionals as sources and for good measure compelled for commercial reasons to publish stories even when there is little news about which to report. Dan Balz is an experienced, competent campaign reporter; I don't think there is a campaign professional in national politics who isn't on his speed-dial list, and vice versa. Does he know, or have any interest in finding out, whether Pawlenty has been any good as Governor of Minnesota? In the context of the permanent campaign, this just isn't a relevant consideration; every one of Balz's sources would confirm this, and so would his colleagues in the press corps.

So Pawlenty, and politicians like him in both parties, struggle to master the art of securing a reputation in the world of the permanent campaign, a world that includes hundreds of reporters and commentators who make their living covering the permanent campaign. It is a demanding and frequently baffling task, and one that has no relation whatever to whether they could serve effectively in national office.

Posted by: jbritt3 | November 11, 2009 1:46 PM

The Republican "Party" has long abandoned the principles on which it was founded. No surprise Pawlenty does the same. What Republicans don't get is that they're shoveling their own grave because the "movement" they're claiming to be by its nature cannot succeed in a pluralistic nation, and the theocracy that "movement" is plotting won't need them anymore either.

Posted by: cpwdc | November 11, 2009 1:46 PM

Pawlenty has a pleasant furry name. Romney has a harder sounding name and is a Mormon and was a closet liberal. Bobby Jindel looks frankly fegele and has a funny walk. This is the level at which most conservatives and Republicans think, so don't write off Paw-Paw Pawlenty yet.

Posted by: barnesgene | November 11, 2009 11:38 AM
Yeah, but you forgot Palin's ace in the hole: while Pawlenty IS a boob, she HAS boobs.

Granted she's nothing more than a polished and packaged turd, but her package is prettier than his.

They have the same substance, which is none at all, but goobers do like their trashy lookin' women, doncha' know ?

Posted by: dennissuper | November 11, 2009 1:42 PM

TPaw has no money, and he doesn't come from a state where he can raise a lot of it. He doesn't have any pro-business bona fides, but his wife is in deep with the religious right. Normally this would be a good thing, but Palin and Huckabee could suck that well dry. So the real question with TPaw is where will the money come from?

As for TPaw being himself, that is a laugh. I don't think he has a self. Please try and remember that he only won in three way races. He has yet to capture 50% of the vote in Minnesota. His electoral success hinges on the Independence Party capturing at least 5 percent of the vote. The Independence Party is out of candidates and the Democrats might field a strong one: that is why TPaw is calling it quits after two terms.

Posted by: caribis | November 11, 2009 1:36 PM

Check out his deer hunting misadventure:
He shoots and wounds a deer and leaves others to look for it while he goes to Iowa. Typical Timmy. Kind of like how he is treating the State of Minnesota.

Posted by: BigmapsMN | November 11, 2009 1:34 PM

Minneapolis - Earlier this year I felt that Pawlenty was essentially a local bishop in the cult of ultra right-wingism. Since he announced he would not run for a 3rd term (we have no term limits here), he has further devolved into an air-breathing organism whose sole goal is continued existence. Unfortunately as Minnesota continues to go down hill, he has become a truly frightening air-breathing organism.

Posted by: NunzusCaesar | November 11, 2009 1:27 PM

Pawlenty, Palen, Huckabee, Gingrich, Barbour, et al. Losers in a loser party. Nothing more has to be said.

Posted by: mortified469 | November 11, 2009 1:26 PM

Let's see: TPaw against Romney: The battle of the Teflon candidates

Flip-floppin', amoral, unprincipled free-traders who look great until they open their mouths.

And these are the frontrunners.

Add Sarah Palin, who loves to tear-down her opponents while she runs a campaign of demagoguery.


Posted by: Anadromous2 | November 11, 2009 1:25 PM

There is more leadership among a pack Hyenias than in the republican party. What is there to lead?

Posted by: truth1 | November 11, 2009 1:18 PM

To all of you angry conservatives, that is SENATOR Stuart Smalley....

Unless Pawlenty learns to stand up to y'all, he's going nowhere. Remember, y'all lost a republican congressional seat in a republican district because you demanded "purity". The American People have rejected your right wing reactionary politics to the point that even a "Stuart Smalley" was able to beat you.

Y'all are pathetic....

Posted by: Coloradem1 | November 11, 2009 1:17 PM

Here's the Republican primary I'd like to see: Olympia Snow vs Palin.

Imagine the shock of the 5% of Republicans who make all the noise with the obvious result: the underfunded pariah would chase the pitbull and her adoring pundits off the field.

Republicans: Take back your party!

Posted by: exco | November 11, 2009 1:13 PM

Dan Balz is a committed flaming liberal reporter for the confirmed corrupt Washinton POST which was caught red-handed pimping for Obama's health care plan for between $25K and $250K.

The American people should ignore the constant anti-GOP anti-Conservative and anti-Christian lies coming from this pack of elite liberal snobs.

I would challenge anyone to cut and paste a "story" that comes from the POST that actually praises the three groups mentioned above.

POST = dirty dishonest liberal propaganda outlet for the DNC.............sad.

Posted by: allenridge | November 11, 2009 1:07 PM

"....regarded as one of the Republican Party's rising national leaders...."


Posted by: TOMHERE | November 11, 2009 1:02 PM

That Balz uses MSNBC as a source---the network of Keith "Hair's on fire" Olberman and Democratic choir member Rachel Madow---renders this piece suspect on its face.

Posted by: Bluefish2012 | November 11, 2009 1:00 PM

"Pawlenty would be a fine candidate and would easily beat the sinking Obama. The Post tried to paing Bob McDonnell and Christy as bad during their campaigns as didn't work and in fact helped these candidates to win by even larger margins. It is over for Obama and the Socialists as the polls and the 2010 & 2012 elections will demonstrate. The best support Pawlenty could get is an attack article in the Post written by him, as its a guarantee of success!"

Let us know how this works out for you, Cletus. Pawlenty can't even get past Palin and Obama would crush her by double digits.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 11, 2009 12:59 PM

all this is fine by me. i hope the circle of republicanism keeps being drawn smaller and smaller by the limbaughs, becks, and hannitys. with each retreat, more voters are excluded. i don't expect them to become democrats, but i do expect they'll repay the g.o.p. in the same coin. that's sufficient for my purposes.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | November 11, 2009 12:46 PM

After watching TPaw (copyright Dan Barreiero) for the last several years here in MN, only one conclusion can be made: he has no personal values or beliefs of his own. His only conviction is to do what is best for TPaw. He has certainly not done what's best for MN -- whether you are conservative or liberal, everyone is in agreement that the state is going to be in a fiscal mess the moment he leaves office. He didn't have the guts to fix it when he had a chance this last budget cycle; and he's cutting and running before he has a chance to deal with it the next time around.

Complete abdication of responsibility and leadership.

Posted by: minnesotacharm | November 11, 2009 12:29 PM

Gov Pawlenty is a baptized Catholic but I do not know at what age he ended up in an evangelical church similar to Sarah Palin who also is a baptized Catholic but ended up attending an evangelical church. I would be interested in how those events transpired if any journalist has the time to investigate.

Posted by: mascmen7 | November 11, 2009 12:25 PM

Pawlenty completely lost the moderates with his foolish venture into upstate NY and can never outdo Palin and Huckabee vis-a-vis the far right.

Romney says thank you very much, though he has much waffling of his own to explain away.

So, let's hope, a vibrant middle might yet emerge in a party which doesn't know a good thing (namely, the clueless Obama/Pelosi/Reid governmental judgernaut) when it's been handed to them.

Posted by: jayjay9 | November 11, 2009 12:23 PM

There is a simple explanation regarding any perceived missteps made by Governor Pawlenty: he's a lightweight!

Posted by: zephyr99 | November 11, 2009 12:19 PM

Pawlenty is a completely rudderless man who transparently holds his finger to the wind to see what he needs to "believe" at any given moment.

I do feel some sympathy for him right now though, as he is caught in between wanting to embrace reality and the need to flatter the nutcase base he needs to support him in the primaries. So he has to give lip service to all the blatant delusional paranoia the right is promoting on health care, he has to pretend not to believe the scientific community on climate change, and we're probably about to see him turn into a deeply devout fundamentalist pseudochristian Taliban as well here soon.

It should be an amusing show to watch, given the man's propensity to stick his foot in his mouth. He is after all the guy who publicly lamented that he couldn't get any sex from his wife. Mr. Balz mercifully omitted that morsel from his analysis.

Posted by: B2O2 | November 11, 2009 12:16 PM

At least Palin had enough balls to announce her resignation as governor - T-Paw quit last summer and hasn't told anyone yet.

Posted by: jfl55 | November 11, 2009 12:16 PM

Mr Balz is generous to credit Gov Pawlenty for having, or once having, qualities and principles that brought him to this stage of his career. This Minnesotan thinks the governor has maxed out his ability to pass the buck and fool enough voters to stay in a job. Next year's Gubernatorial election will focus on cleaning up the mess Pawlenty is leaving behind.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 11, 2009 12:12 PM

T-Paw is just another spineless Republican too busy bowing to the base to keep facts or his true beliefs straight...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | November 11, 2009 11:56 AM

Pawlenty would be a fine candidate and would easily beat the sinking Obama. The Post tried to paing Bob McDonnell and Christy as bad during their campaigns as didn't work and in fact helped these candidates to win by even larger margins. It is over for Obama and the Socialists as the polls and the 2010 & 2012 elections will demonstrate. The best support Pawlenty could get is an attack article in the Post written by him, as its a guarantee of success!

Posted by: Realist20 | November 11, 2009 11:53 AM

Living in Minnesota I have both observed and experienced the singled-mindedness of Mr. Pawlenty. The question national voters need to ask is: if Pawlenty reaches national office, which part of Mr. Pawlenty's mind will he choose to single-out today?

Rest assumed it won't be either a complex thought or collaborative will be single-minded and simple. His basic mantra is "no new taxes", and from my vantage point he wants to cut government programs and will spend extraordinary amounts of time trying find ways to to use government to rid government of itself.

There is nothing the man has ever said or done that I have heard to make me believe he will change. When he begins his day and when he ends his day, it's usually be working on one of these missions. Cut-cut-cut. For the most part, whichever program he has before him, he will want to cut or eliminate.

Four the last 3 years Mr. Pawlenty acted as if he had no idea why he got elected 8-years ago, or why was re-elected 4-years ago. I believe this is one of the reasons he isn't seeking the governorship again because he has no idea how to get re-elected again.

In 2008, the citizens of Minnesota had to by-pass the governor and legislature, and they voted to create Constitutional Amendment to dedicate a special sales tax to fund environmental protection and creative arts. This is another reason Pawlenty won't get elected again in Minnesota, in my opinion. His tight-fisted nature and lack of willingness to compromise makes him a bad leader.

And, in case you don't live in Minnesota or get the point I'm trying to make, look at it this way. Governor Pawlenty and Rep. Michelle Bachmann are like "he" and "she" figurines atop the "no-government" and "no-taxes ever" wedding cake (if there were ever such a thing baked).

Mr. Pawlenty is a man with a single-minded ideal, and whatever skills or knowledge he may be able to offer society it's lost to his inflexible nature. Pawlenty is not the man for our time or for the next generation. He is precisely the opposite.

Mr. Pawlenty's stumbling up and down off the national stump is the Peter Principle at work. Frankly, in my opinion he's isn't competent enough to rise above his current level of incompetence.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | November 11, 2009 11:51 AM

Living in Minnesota, I've witnessed the failures of Pawlenty. He ignored warnings about the bridge that fell; he refused to work towards any economic help in balancing the budget; he snuck 'fees' in so that he wouldn't raise 'taxes;' and he's been a complete liar on numerous issues. He currently wants to put a cap on state spending, when he's been the one to spend egregious amounts MORE than were budgeted. He's a complete failure and hypocrite and we can't wait to get rid of him.

Posted by: rurik | November 11, 2009 11:40 AM

Pawlenty has a pleasant furry name. Romney has a harder sounding name and is a Mormon and was a closet liberal. Bobby Jindel looks frankly fegele and has a funny walk. This is the level at which most conservatives and Republicans think, so don't write off Paw-Paw Pawlenty yet.

Posted by: barnesgene | November 11, 2009 11:38 AM

MSM is talking about a GOP resurgence because it sells papers.

NOBODY is going to electe Fundamentalist Neoconservatives who cannot speak the truth, incite hate and fear for votes, and sell out to the highest bidder before quitting in the middle of a term when ethics investigations begin.

Americans do not believe that "the Family of C Street House" are the new annointed prophets, above the law, as they themselves believe.

Americans with a brain (80%) do not accept the misinformation and insinuations promoted by glenn beck, sean hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh.

Only 20% of Americans vote republican in the 21st century - and they are FALLING TO 10% in 2010.

WAPO's Broeder called for a "Bush Bounce". Remember that genius prediction?



Posted by: onestring | November 11, 2009 11:38 AM

>On New York 23, he said, he objected to the fact that Scozzafava was hand-picked by local leaders. Imagine that, local GOP leaders selecting a candidate for a local election to the House. Pawlenty has shown his true colors, a waffling, retro-thoughtful politician without ideas or conscience, concerned only with how polls suggest he might be elected to his next job. How disappointing that someone I thought might be one of the very few know-something Repubs is just another Palin in boy’s clothing.

Posted by: howdyd1 | November 11, 2009 11:36 AM

The fact (not opinion) is that Pawlenty was not picked to be McCain's running mate by the GOP establishment managing the last presidential elections. That makes him even less likely to get picked for the top of the ticket in 2012. Check out what happened during the the last 100 years!

Posted by: Smileyhari | November 11, 2009 11:35 AM

Please, look at Pawlenty's record in
Minnesota - he is a failure, a fear-
mongerer, and a total wingnut.

Pawlenty does nothing original -- he follows, never has correct facts on
any issue, and is a loser.

Stop giving this loser print time!

Posted by: Sirius2 | November 11, 2009 11:34 AM

"New Gallup poll that shows registered voters favoring the GOP over Democrats if the 2010 congressional election were held today."

Fortunately, there's plenty of time for Sarah Palin to do some campaigning. Watch independents in every state she visits recoil in fear from GOP candidates she backs.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 11, 2009 11:23 AM

If only ALL campaigns and campaigners could be run by those who possess the political brilliance and "sure footedness" of Dan Balz! How enjoyable it is to read such an inside-baseball stack of nonsense. Dan Balz does not approve of conservatives! Shame, shame on Tim Pawlenty for "moving to the right"! Next?

Posted by: Craig_Colgan | November 11, 2009 11:22 AM

Romney's problem was (and is) that his right-wing statements contradicted his record in Massachusetts and especially his statements in previous campaigns for office there. As you note, Pawlenty has always been pretty far to the right, and always said so, even in the blue/purple state of Minnesota.

A few tactical blunders when someone is new to the national stage are to be expected. They only caused lasting damage to Romney because he was being hypocritical, or at least flip-floppy.

You note this, but I think you downplay it too much.

Posted by: billmcg1 | November 11, 2009 11:19 AM

Pawlenty is another republican who hides behind his Bible while lying, distorting and supporting a party that has sold the Americn people down the river in favor of big business, greed.
He will say what he thinks voters want to hear, continue on with his party's goal to destroy our president regardless of the consequences to us or our country.
The American people cannot allow or tolerate these irresponsible hypocrits to get into or remain in office.

Posted by: kathlenec | November 11, 2009 11:17 AM

New Gallup poll that shows registered voters favoring the GOP over Democrats if the 2010 congressional election were held today.

The Gallup survey, conducted Nov. 5-8, found that 48 percent of respondents said they would vote for a Republican candidate for Congress, while 44 percent said they would back a Democrat.

Independent voters were decidedly stronger in their preference for a Republican candidate, choosing the GOP by a 22 percent margin -- 52 to 30 percent -- according to the survey.

Posted by: Straightline | November 11, 2009 11:16 AM

It is obvious that that the Democrats fear that Pawlenty has strong national potential. Every time there is an article in the Post about someone who possibly could cause problems for Chairman Obama, the liberal extremists fill the posts with name calling, references to the person's IQ, and vitriol.

Obama may have a high IQ, but he has zero common sense, which reduces the value of his IQ to just about zero. Of course, those of you suffering from the same problem are unable to understand it.

Posted by: mike85 | November 11, 2009 11:03 AM


Palenty is a male Sarah Palin: Good looking with nothing between the ears.

If this is the best the GOP has to offer, 2012 looks good for Obama.

If Huckabee continues to quietly and effectively build his base, his ascendancy could pose real problems for the incumbent President.



• Deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya confirms the essence what unjustly targeted citizens worldwide -- including this journalist -- have been reporting for years...

...MILITARY, SECRET SERVICES, AND INTEL AGENCIES of many nations, including the U.S., silently assault and torture "targeted individuals," including those regarded as "dissenters" or slandered as undesirables, with debilitating, health-degrading, "slow-kill" electromagnetic microwave and laser radiation weapons systems -- reported to include a nationwide installation camouflaged as cell towers, along with satellites and portable weaponry.


OR (if link is corrupted): RE: "Gov't Tortures" and "Gestapo USA."

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 11, 2009 11:01 AM

spydermyk: "Koolkat, I say thanks too, considering the latest round of elections."

Considering that no candidate that lurched to the right like Pawlenty is doing won, what exactly is your point?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 11, 2009 10:59 AM

Pawlenty is a very weak figure with no serious political chances in 2012 -he's simply filler until the race rolls around because there is no serious GOP candidate on the horizon these days.

Posted by: joneshn | November 11, 2009 10:57 AM

wow, also help prove my case. Name calling shows your intelligence.
Live in your shells. Two states are already going against you.

Posted by: spydrmyk | November 11, 2009 10:50 AM

SWB2...please keep posting. People like you prove my point. Whenever a person doesn't have a rational answer to a debate, they resort to calling their opponent names. Please continue, you show yourself for who you really are. I am sure your response will be just as vulgar as you do more name calling.

Posted by: spydrmyk | November 11, 2009 10:45 AM

Don't Republican leaders understand that if they isolate themselves from politicians like Snowe they isolate themselves from the country and its citizens.

There is this controversy about the financial regulation. Dodd has presented a bill that does not sound good to me. I would normally assume that Dodd is grandstanding in trying to get re-elected in CT. However I have found out that the Republicans are uniformly against it and I have the suspicion that Republicans only act out of political self-interest. It is a bad thing when I do not trust the Republicans, even on things we are in agreement.

Posted by: Gator-ron | November 11, 2009 10:44 AM

Perhaps we are missing the point here - Palenty's main strength is that he is largely "unknown" and he knows it and means to leverage that. I would not be surprised if he continues to only answer tough or clear questions even when cornered.

He is nothing more than a political opportunist and a smart one. He knows that the rest of the GOP field has nothing but fleas and are unelectable to highest office. No Repube could possibly challenge President Obama (whose approval rating is steady at 54% during mutliple crises) in 2012. Their only hope is to win over a significant number of Democrats.

To attract Democrats, Palenty or any Repube would have to downplay the hardline NeoCon-Bushy-Teabagger-Birther talk - knowing Fox news will do it for them. I don't believe they can fool that many Americans again - however. Though it worked in 2000 and 2004 if anyone can still believe it.

This is where Palin and the other nut-case Repubes serve a real purpose: They are there and noisy to make a Palenty or ROmney look absolutely moderate by comparison.

Posted by: free-donny | November 11, 2009 10:43 AM

First Mikem1, the point was they the candidate should have been elected by the people not 'chosen' by the local leaders.
Koolkat, I say thanks too, considering the latest round of elections.
The longer the Congress and Pres. keep taking huge steps in a direction a huge part of the population doesn't like, you will see more elections like the latest. Why do you think they are trying to get Healthcare passed ASAP...because they know it is a losing issue for many politicians in a election year.
This will be getting very interesting.

Posted by: spydrmyk | November 11, 2009 10:41 AM

Pawlenty has really damaged Minnesota finances with irresponsible budgets that put off problems for his successor.

This will be a scandal when he runs for office.

Posted by: BillS1 | November 11, 2009 10:41 AM

Stuart Smalley stole an election from under Pawlenty's nose. He's going nowhere..

Posted by: SMWE357 | November 11, 2009 10:33 AM

LOL...You pathetic true believers just can't admit when you get your clocks cleaned.

Posted by: dfc102 | November 11, 2009 10:40 AM

Whenever Pawlenty gets a tough question, he should just think about what a rational, thoughtful, and intelligent person would say and then say the opposite.

It can be tough for people with an IQ over 60 to become a brain-dead, Fox loving, teabagging zombie...but the GOP "base" demands it! Brains....munch munch.

Posted by: SWB2 | November 11, 2009 10:38 AM

Stuart Smalley stole an election from under Pawlenty's nose. He's going nowhere..

Posted by: SMWE357 | November 11, 2009 10:33 AM

"On New York 23, he said, he objected to the fact that Scozzafava was hand-picked by local leaders."

Right. It's better to be "hand-picked" by people that don't live there.

Posted by: mikem1 | November 11, 2009 10:31 AM

This is great. Republican presidential hopefuls, thanks to the popularity of boobs like Palin and Bachmann among the GOP base, have to move to the right to have any hope of getting the nomination, thereby killing their chances of actually getting elected.

Thanks Palin!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 11, 2009 10:26 AM

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