Tim Pawlenty, trying to avoid the "Newt takeoff", could be about to repeat. If he does what he's says he's going to do today, I'll bet he's walking it back just like the Newster in the next few days.
That's why later this week I'm going to New York City to tell Wall Street that if I'm elected, the era of bailouts and handouts for big banks is over. I'm going to Florida to tell both young people and seniors that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path and have to be changed. And, today, I'm in Iowa to speak truthfully about farm subsidies. [More]My guess (and if it's already out, I haven't seen it - just rained out of planting) is he'll offer very timid curbs on these entitlements, and talk about waste and fraud again. But the GOP can't seem to learn this lesson.
Pawlenty may be trying to ignite something before the Big Girls show up and while other guys are folding. He may also be trying to tap into Big Right $$ with some strong libertarian rhetoric. He may also have no idea why he's running.
Maybe he will target ethanol.
Update: That appears to be the case.
im Pawlenty pre-announced his official entry into the 2012 presidential race Sunday with a video promising that he'd tell the hard truths. In Des Moines Monday, the hard truth Pawlenty opened with was telling Iowans that he'd phase out ethanol subsidies, Politico's Kendra Marr reports. The Republican said the government needs to get out "of the business of handing out favors and special deals" and allow "the free market, not freebies" to reign. His truth-telling tour will next take him to Florida, where he'll call for the raising of the Social Security retirement age, then New York, where he'll say it's time to end "the era of bailouts." Pawlenty said he was going against the "conventional wisdom" because "Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people." [More]Fair enough. Let's see how it plays.
It will be an interesting test of farm lobby clout, and the possible end of Iowa as our candidate chooser if he pulls this off.
Upperdate: Frum possibly sees the real reason for this IA tactic.
It’s courageous, principled, and right for Tim Pawlenty to travel to Iowa to denounce ethanol and other farm subsidies. But I’m also left wondering: is this also a very good way to manage expectations if he comes second or third or worse in Iowa, where Pawlenty is currently polling in single digits? [More]Pawlenty is having trouble raising money compared to Romney, and maybe blowing off IA makes some kind of sense.
Still it seems to have a whiff of "loser" about it.