Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, dropped his bid for the Republican nomination for president on Sunday morning, saying his disappointing performance in Iowa’s straw poll convinced him that his campaign had run its course.
Just hours after his third-place finish in Iowa, Mr. Pawlenty said on ABC’s “This Week” program that his message “didn’t get the kind of traction we needed and hoped for” in order to continue….
Mr. Pawlenty, who had been weighing a presidential campaign for years, had developed a robust plan to win the Republican nomination. But his strategy did not take into account the rising popularity of a fellow Minnesotan, Representative Michele Bachmann, whose candidacy had overshadowed Mr. Pawlenty’s. He had staked his entire campaign around a strong finish at the Iowa straw poll, which he did not achieve.
Pawlenty, in case you missed it, finished a distant third in the Iowa straw poll, behind winner Michele Bachmann and close second Ron Paul. Let’s just take a moment to consider *sniff* what might have been … *wipes eyes*
Of course, I cannot resist noting that I predicted this exact outcome on the day Bachmann said she was running:
Now, clearly, [Bachmann’s] candidacy represents someone’s “Waterloo.” The question is, whose?
I think it’s Tim Pawlenty’s, not Mitt Romney’s…. Pawlenty, on the other hand, has to win Iowa to have any shot at all. He lives next door, and he’s been working the state hard for months. Yet, so far, he’s got almost nothing to show for it…. Pawlenty’s problem is that he’s basically a crappy candidate. Nothing is going to change that…. Bachmann will take Pawlenty down with her, just like in 2008, Huckabee took down Romney.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the second half of my prediction – that Bachmann will win the Iowa caucuses, but then “fade as people get serious about who should actually be the next president, at which point Romney will finally seal the deal by amassing too many delegates for anyone else to have a shot” – holds up. Bachmann was on all the TV shows today, and she is apparently getting pretty good at deflecting questions about her kooky beliefs. As long as she can keep managing the Jekyll & Hyde strategy of telling her adoring fans what they want to hear (in code, to some extent) while not quite letting the general public in on the secret, she’ll stay way up in the polls.
Oh, Rick Perry? Yeah, he’s in, and he’ll make a show of it for a while. But frankly, I think Bachmann is going to beat him. He’s actually crazier than she is in some ways, and that will come out quickly. I mean, secede? Declare Social Security and Medicare unconstitutional? That’s genuine crazy talk, and even Bachmann hasn’t gone that far. So, at the end of the day IMHO, it’s Romney v. Bachmann. I still think Romney wins it, but this year, anything could happen.