The Corner

A Pawlenty Postmortem

One line I’m hearing a lot is that he lost because he is too boring. (Change a tense and you heard it a lot during his campaign too.) I don’t buy it. Romney isn’t Mr. Excitement and he has a good shot at winning the nomination.

Pawlenty made some serious strategic errors — going after Romneycare when he did, in the way he did, and then backing off; not controlling his feelings toward Bachmann; overcompensating for the “boring” charge by pretending to be someone he isn’t — but those too may in the end have been beside the point. It may be that there just wasn’t room in the field for a candidate a few steps to Romney’s right. There was room for an establishment candidate and a populist conservative candidate, but perhaps not enough for someone in between.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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