The Corner

Pawlenty’s Iowa Trap

I recently made the case that Tim Pawlenty would be a strong candidate in the Republican primaries and, if nominated, in the general election. Chris Cillizza makes the argument for him as a strong primary candidate, too, but includes a point that I deliberately omitted. He writes, “Pawlenty is the only candidate likely to run who has represented a state that borders Iowa . That geographical proximity will allow him to effectively make the case that he knows the worries and dreams of Hawkeye State Republicans best.”

I’m skeptical that having been the governor of a neighboring state will give much of an advantage to Pawlenty in Iowa. It’s not as though Iowans were following his governorship with keen interest. If anything, being from next door raises expectations to Pawlenty’s disadvantage, precisely because political insiders have unrealistic views about how much proximity should help him.

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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