Tim Pawlenty had a plan. A modest plan. He'd been working very hard at courting all the various factions of the GOP base -- capitalist technocrats, Tea Party hotheads, the conservative Christian set -- and so far, so good. He was starting to feel like this was doable. You know, David Frum had said that he'd make an excellent default candidate, right? It was looking more and more like Palin and Huckabee weren't going to run. He was way ahead of his doppelgangers: John Thune was long gone, Mitch Daniels on the fade. Newt Gingrich? Jeez, who knew what was up with that guy? And as for Mitt, TPaw knew that if things shook out the way he thought they might, he could spend a long, long while beating him up on RomneyCare.
There was just one thing he wanted. He just wanted to announce that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee and for people to be excited about it. So, he had everything in place. A talented, solid staff to rely on. Some cool social media shizz on the Facebooks. A bad ass action movie thing for the YouTube. He was going to win the week, for sure. The name on everyone's lips was sure to be Tim Pawlenty.
It didn't work out. In the first place: people kept paying attention to Libya, and Egypt. And then Michele Bachmann came along, dangling the sweet, sweet crazy-bait in front of a political press that was dying for the geek show to get underway. And the unkindest cut of all was that Haley Barbour -- Haley Barbour! -- got two soft-focus profiles from the New York Times and the Washington Post.
(And also, really, it's a PRESIDENTIAL EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE. How excited are people supposed to get?)
So, no: this wasn't the week Pawlenty came out and cold rocked it. But he can take some solace in the fact that Newt Gingrich had another terrible week, that Bachmann's quixotic run was doing more damage to Huckabee's hopes than it was to his, and that the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act gave the GOP field ample opportunity to get shirty with Mitt Romney's CommonwealthCare.
Tomorrow is another day, Tim! But today is the day we round up your week in running for President. (And guess what everyone: we finally have a declared candidate!) To find out who, please enter the Speculatron for the week of March 25, 2011.