Should Pawlenty have dropped out of the race? I think the better question why was he in the race to begin with.
Good for him.
Tim Pawlenty entered the race for 2012 because 1) he was floated as a possible VP candidate back in 2008 and the resulting chatter also speculated that he might make a bid in 2012 or 2016 and 2) he was originally seen as a reasonable guy that was capable of bridging the gap between the GOP and Democrats (he was elected Republican governor of a "blue" state.)
However, Pawlenty fell victim to a number of causes, most of which were preventable.
First, he got in the race to begin with entirely too early. He declared back in March 2011, which meant that he had five months to get the message out. Good for him. But by jumping in so early, it allowed people to get bored with him so quickly and realize that he was the milquetoast candidate. It wasn't until the end of his campaign that he realized that he had to distinguish himself. What's more, he declared that he was running for President and then more or less stayed in one place the entire time, which leads me to...
Second, he put entirely too much emphasis on the Ames Straw Poll and the State of Iowa. Watch this bite Michele Bachmann in the ass. The Ames Straw Poll is important to two groups of people: the person who wins and the person who's banking on winning and then loses. It proved to be catastrophic for Pawlenty for the simple reason that he made it so important. Look at Newt Gingrich. He wasn't doing nearly as well as Pawlenty and he's not a quitter! I mean, he should quit, but that's not the point. These things are only as important as you make them out to be. Look at Romney: he couldn't give a shit that he didn't win and he came in behind someone that had announced their candidacy that day (Gov. Rick Perry). He's still going strong.
Boo hoo, Michele Bachmann is liked more in a corn wasteland than Pawlenty.
That's like being the King of Turd Mountain.
Third, he tried to break away from the pack too late. The most significant point of the campaign before his withdrawal was actually within the last week when he was debating Michele Bachmann, among others. He showed fire, he showed strength and he showed that he could be as snide and snippy as Rep. Bachmann. But it was too little too late. You don't try to out-sass the Sass Queen. What's more, you have to establish that as your character a while ago. Otherwise, you look desperate and out of control.
So, what does the future hold for someone like Pawlenty. As was suggested back in 2008, he would make a good VP for the eventual nominee. He's agreeable and capable of reaching across the aisle in order to solve issues. He also would be good for balancing the ticket, not geographically but ideologically. This would allow the Prez Nominee to be a little further to the right than they normally would be.
He should be on a short list, but it wouldn't surprise this blogger if Pawlenty were to go the way of Tommy Thompson and eventually take up a national level seat in Congress to represent Minnesota. There might be a chair vacant for Minnesota's 6th District in November 2012.
I won't be using it!
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