Some people are just not lucky when they run for president (in all honesty most people are not lucky when they run for president) and Tim Pawlenty was certainly one of them.
On paper he looked great. He was the two-term governor a state the Democrats had won in every election since 1976. He was solidly pro-life, had proven appeal with middle class voters (what he called Sam’s Club Republicans), having been on McCain’s short list in 2008 had gained a bit of national exposure, and seemed to have a genuine midwestern sensible conservative feel to him (aka conservative but not crazy).
But we don’t run elections on paper do we?
T-Paw, as his supporters called him, was a man out of place. Had he run in 1988 or 96 when the GOP wanted a fresh face from the midwest with a solid social conservative record and likable personality (lame jokes included – which T-Paw made way too many) he might have gotten the nomination, or certainly survived beyond the Iowa Straw Poll.
Instead he ran in 2012 when the party didn’t want a joke telling midwestern moderate in tone but conservative in record, they wanted a firebrand. They wanted someone who would storm the barricades against what they saw as the communist in the White House.
Those in the GOP that didn’t want to take part in the Tea Party’s Charge of the Overweight Brigades already had their guy in Mitt Romney (who had much larger organization, more money, and had been around the track) and after Pawlenty’s flubs on the campaign trail, including:
they certainly were not going to abandon the more seasoned Romney for Pawlenty.
So that forced Pawlenty to try and be the rabble rousing tea partier he never was. He may have agreed with them on the issues but it just wasn’t the guy’s personality and it showed, especially when contrasted with the real thing (like Bachmann or Cain). No one buys the imitation when they can get the real thing. Sorry T-Paw.