The governor of the Nice State turns nasty
Last night I discussed the intense face-off early in the Iowa debate (see the first six minutes of the second segment), which begins with Pawlenty attacking Bachmann for her lack of executive experience and accomplishments, and Bachmann very effectively parrying with an account of the issues on which she has led, exposing Pawlenty’s own leftward positions, and, as I see it, demolishing him by the comparison. Pawlenty then made the extraordinarily foolish remark that on the issues on which she had led, such as TARP and Obamacare, she lost, “So please stop, because you’re killing us.” As though Bachmann had been in charge of the Congress when those issues were being decided.
Gov. Paw-the-lady comes across as a weak man without a center. Even in his posture and body language he is weak, and in his thin, unreliable-looking face. In the previous debate, he repeatedly declined to repeat the harsh language he had used a few days earlier on Romney’s record on health care, because he didn’t want to attack a fellow Republican, though he had done so just a couple of days earlier. Yet last night he couldn’t be aggressive and obnoxious enough against Bachmann, a fellow Republican, as well as against Romney.
Pawlenty reminds me of Gore in the three debates in 2000: extremely disdainful of Bush in the first debate, rolling his eyes when Bush spoke and sneaking up behind him in an effort to disconcert him ; then, as if in reaction to his crazed excesses in the first debate, turning meek as a kitten and weirdly depressed in the second debate; then, reacting against his meekness, becoming hyper-aggressive again in the third debate. Like Gore, Pawlenty seems too desperate to come up with a winning persona, and he lacks whatever charm Gore occasionally showed. He does not belong on the presidential candidates’ stage—a view expressed over and over by the L-dotters as well.