Tim Pawlenty Is In Big Trouble Tonight
I wanted to like Pawlenty, I really did. I mean he was willing to take on some sacred cows (imperfectly but still) and he’s a hockey player. A pretty good start for a candidate. Sure he had some weak spots in his record but any candidate that actually has a record will have those. With candidates, you take the good with the bad and see where it goes from there.
One of the knocks on Pawlenty was he’s just too darn nice. In a cycle when a lot of GOP voters want someone who will take the fight to Obama, Pawlenty seemed a little to bland. One of his first shots a Obama was, in my opinion a misfire but worse, it showed that when a nice guy tries to act like a tough guy, he can seem forced and fake. When all is said and done, candidates are people and they are who they are. All the coaching and positioning can’t change that over the long run.
Pawlenty also stumbled with his refusal to back up his “ObamneyCare” “attack” on Romney. I thought the line was pretty silly but his refusal to engage Romney when the guy is three feet away when you were willing to smack him around rhetorically on national TV was, well, cowardly. Pawlenty’s decision to then say a few days latter that he should have done it while once again attacking Romney from a distance was puzzling, to put it mildly.
All of that brings us to tonight’s debate a few days before the Ames Straw Poll which has surprisingly become a big deal for Pawlenty’s chances to capture the nomination. After the New Hampshire failure to attack Romney, Michele Bachmann became the new darling of a lot of primary voters. Pawlenty suddenly faced a challenge to his position as the “Not Romeny” of the field and turned his attacks on the surging Bachmann.
Here’s Pawlenty’s diliema…when he’s asked to identify which candidate he thinks has no record and who exactly he had in mind when he said, “Any bobblehead can stand up here and spout out the Republican talking points”. He’s either got to admit what everyone knows, he’s talking about Bachmann, or refuse to name any names. (I suppose he could say he’s talking about Ron Paul or some BS but that would lead to other problems.)
If he dodges, he’ll forever be the guy who is too cowardly to say to someone’s face what he’ll say about them when he’s not in the same room. Where would that leave him with voters? Well, if he can’t stand up to Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann face to face, why would anyone think he’ll go after Obama in person the way he does in his ads (YouTube auto-play link), let alone a guy like Vladimir Putin?
If Pawlenty does stand by his statements and goes after Bachmann then he’ll be a-the guy who will go after a woman but not another man and b-the RINO squish who is attacking a tea party star. Also, you can bet Bachmann has a prepared response or two that will sting.
Pick your poison Tim but whatever way you go, it’s going to hurt.