Rehashing the Pawlenty Campaign

by Ramesh Ponnuru

As you know, Jonah, I thought Pawlenty was the best available choice for Republicans: more conservative than Romney, and potentially more electable than any of the other candidates. I also thought he would do well against any of the other primary candidates in a one-on-one race — but wondered whether he would ever get that far. Everything I have seen since his flameout makes me think that he never had a chance even if he had made the right tactical choices. Romney has a significant though not overwhelming base of support inside the party. There are also of course plenty of anti-Romneyites, but they do not seem especially interested in electability. (Some of them even say so.) I don’t think there are enough primary voters looking for “the most electable candidate to the right of Romney,” as you put it, to get one the nomination.