American Conservative uses Tim Pawlenty as example of what not to do
"The hopeless Tim Pawlenty campaign is an example of the pitfalls of substance-free pseudo-populism." Ouch!
Poor Tim Pawlenty -- even his fellow Republicans are throwing him under the bus these days.
Pawlenty's once-promising but ultimately ill-fated presidential campaign is the target of criticism in an American Conservative column by Daniel Larison.
The column, entitled "Avoiding the Pawlenty Trap," provides unsolicited advice to New Jersey governor and possible GOP 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie, who -- much like Pawlenty did at this point in the 2012 election cycle -- appears to be one of, if not the, frontrunners for the Republican nomination.
Here's an excerpt:
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.
Of course, pleasing the WSJ editors turned out to a fine strategy as far as T-Paw's pocketbook is concerned, as after flaming out of presidential politics he took a job as head of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington lobbying group that advocates on behalf of the nation's top 100 financial institutions. We'd imagine that pays better than governor, though frankly, that's not a bad gig these days either.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at email@example.com.
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