Home > Tim Pawlenty > Pawlenty Should Skip Iowa…um?

Pawlenty Should Skip Iowa…um?

So Marc Amdinder wrote a very silly article yesterday, suggesting that Pawlenty maybe ought to skip Iowa and focus on defeating Mitt in New Hampshire.  He writes:

Pawlenty’s main strategic challenge would be New Hampshire — figuring out how to defeat the Romney machine there. It might not be hard; since there won’t be a Democratic primary, as many as 60,000 independents could decide to vote Republican. Appealing to these independents on economic issues — and comforting them on social issues — is the test.

I happen to think Pawlenty’s a great fit for NH.  He’s wears his social conservatism lightly, he’s pro-gun in a way Romney isn’t, and his laser-like focus on budgets will play well in the Granite State.  Ross Perot ran better than average there in 1992.  Still, it would be a terrible mistake for Pawlenty to skip Iowa.  As Minnesota Independent notes, Pawlenty is an evangelical whose pastor heads up the National Association of Evangelicals, a group 30 million strong.  He’s on friendly terms with the Dobsons.  But, perhaps most importantly, Iowa is the rare primary state where the electorate is conservative, but not movement conservative.  Movement conservatives hate Mike Huckabee, but there’s no sign that any significant contignent of Iowans have a problem with him.

This matters because Pawlenty will have a problem with movement conservatives.  Not a Huckabee sized problem, but a problem nonetheless.  His Sam’s Club rhetoric and interest in climate change, make him a highly suspect character in some circles.  And of course, he doesn’t have the obvious star-power of a Palin.  He needs to compete in a few places that take advantage of his strengths.  In Iowa and NH, his amazing skill with retail politics- an area where he’s garnered comparisons to Bill Clinton- will come in handy, and his ideological strengths will play fairly well.  What does he have to lose, anyway?  Unlike Romney, Pawlenty has no high early expectations  He also doesn’t have a reservoir of strength elsewhere, which might allow him to play for a later victory.  He needs to make a splash in Iowa, even if he doesn’t win there, to have a chance in NH and South Carolina.

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  1. MWS
    October 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    “Silly” isn’t the word for it. “Moronic” comes closer to the mark. Iowa is going to be crucial for Pawlenty, and well suited. Him skipping Iowa would be almost as stupid as Huck skipping Iowa. Consider on the upside:

    1. He can ensure “first tier status” with a strong result, but perhaps even earlier, if he is polling well there in ’11.

    2. Iowa is “Midwest conservative.” Pawlenty is “Midwest conservative.” Duh.

    3. Pawlenty could effectively knock out at least one of the Big 3 (assuming all three are running) by finishing ahead of them here.

    And then there is the negative:

    1. Politicians whose states border Iowa are not allowed to skip Iowa. They do not get a pass. If they can’t win, place, or show with their neighbors, then judgement has been rendered, and their candidacy is dead.

    Really, none of the top four can skip Iowa. Huck can’t for obvious reasons. Palin has to show that she can translate popularity into votes, and is kinda’ forced into being a “national candidate” for better or worse because of celebrity status. After the enormous resources he poured in in ’08 and his 2nd place finish, Romney can’t skip without looking like he is taking a step backwards from a failed campaign.

    Bottom line; Iowa is gearing up to be even higher stakes than it has been in a long time.

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