After a poor showing in this weekends Ames Iowa Straw Poll Tim Pawlenty has exited the Republican race. The former governor of Minnesota never really caught on, losing what little momentum he had after the second Republican debate where he followed a week of challenging Mitt Romney in the press by shrinking on stage when he was given the opportunity to attack his opponent face-to-face.
At the end of the day Pawlenty was Mitt Romney light. He has a long record of supporting liberal ideas, especially environmental extremism through his support of cap and tax and other radical measures. He once praised Jimmy Carter as a visionary and cavorted with Janet Napolitano. He was never the kind of guy who could win the Republican nomination in this Tea Party heavy primary season. With no real ability to match Mitt’s money and a record just as liberal, he was never likely to stand out. Primary voters already have a blue state RINO with a far more convincing set of credentials on the economy. The question was always, why do we need another?
There were warning signs from the start. Pawlenty had little name recognition, evidenced by the launch of his pre-campaign book tour. He gained little real attention and the book sales were abysmal. It was obvious Pawlenty wouldn’t be able to break away from the pack.
Let’s face it, despite all of the liberal media articles and pundit posturing that the Tea Party is dying or dead, 2012 is the year of fiscal and possibly social conservatism in the Republican Party. While purity in our primary might not be achievable, there is only so much primary voters will put up with. Many of us on the far-right are willing to toss our votes to a Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann rather than support a Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney. Meanwhile the entrance this weekend of Rick Perry, someone who could stand as a viable candidate who ALSO has some pretty heavy conservative street-cred, means men like Pawlenty don’t have a shot. Primary voters are getting tired of voting for the evil of two lessers and that was exactly what the Romney-Pawlenty rivalry had become.
Pawlenty was wise to get out now.