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    Is Tim Pawlenty In The Sweet Spot or Mushy Middle?

    Is Tim Pawlenty In The Sweet Spot or Mushy Middle?

    Thanks to reader James for the link to this chart by Nate Silver, showing where Silver believes various potential Republian candidates fall on a sliding scale of insider/outsider and conservative/moderate:

    Sweet spot, or mushy middle?

    If it is any help, here’s how Silver describes Pawlenty’s position:

    Tim Pawlenty I had trouble placing him in any of the four quadrants. As Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard points out, — Mr. Pawlenty enjoys something of a reputation as a moderate even though his positions are fairly conservative: he has pledged to reinstate the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, for instance. Likewise, Mr. Pawlenty seems to keep Washington at arm’s length while having supporters within the Republican establishment.

    I have been skeptical about Mr. Pawlenty’s candidacy, in large part because his personality is not terribly dynamic and he has had some trouble creating a strong brand for himself; sales of his book “Courage to Stand”, for instance, have been quite weak. Still, he can be credited with a viable strategy: stay a safe distance off the lead lap, and hope for a multicar pileup ahead of him.

    That Mr. Pawlenty has been among the first Republicans to build out his campaign infrastructure fits with that strategy — it would be valuable in the car-crash scenario, which implies a long, drawn-out nomination process. So does the fact that Mr. Pawlenty could plausibly position himself as conservative or moderate, insider or outsider, as the situation dictates.

    Update:  You may also want to check out reader comments at So Tell Me About Tim Pawlenty

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    I'm with 10. I also think they have The Huckster WAY off. He's closer to Romney than Palin. And Gingrich? He sat on the sofa with Queen nancy and told us we had to do something about (alleged) AGW. He's an insider alright, but not a real Con. Just another prog. So my conclusion is that this means little about Pawlenty. I've seen enough to know he's pretty low on my list.

    The left arrow should point to "liberal", not "moderate".

    1. Putting Ron Paul in the moderate camp shows the problem with the definitions.

    2. Everyone seems to have their favorite for President. We need to remember that the current administration does not consist of just Barack Obama. A Republican administration of whomever will require cabinet secretaries and other officials (but not czars). Many of these "favorite sons" will be needed for these positions.

    3. I'm afraid 2012 will be like 2008–the many conservative candidates will fracture the conservative vote and a RINO will win the nomination again. I think Romney will be that man. If so, I'll not vote for the Republican candidate.

    I think Silver's take is a bit cynical, but it's not that far off the mark.

    I know what I'd prefer, but I think Pawlenty is the best we'll get (and I kind of like the stealth conservative aspect, although I know that won't last). I would much prefer a strong conservative – especially a fiscal conservative, but I've come to the conclusion that, on a national level, in lieu of a truly gifted candidate like Reagan, strong conservatives aren't electable. I know, however, that the Republican Party Lounge Lizards who brought us Dole and McCain will like Pawlenty. I also believe that the huge mushy middle of voters who pay little or no attention until after Labor Day would find him "vote-for-able" as well.

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