“Tim Pawlenty is making a list of potential running mates.
“Asked for his top five vice presidential picks, Pawlenty didn’t hesitate in naming Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.”
“It’s difficult at this point to try to determine who has the best chance to be the Republican candidate in the 2012 election. Still, it’s fair to say that Tim Pawlenty could pursue a potentially successful ‘Goldilocks Strategy’ for the nomination…
“[I]t would be very difficult to win merely by mobilizing the ‘very conservative’ party base. Mathematically speaking, it is possible, but in practice multiple candidates tend to be in competition for that bloc, which means the ultimate winner will probably have to string together a voting coalition that samples from the more moderate factions. There are, of course, many ways to skin this cat — and George W. Bush’s coalition in 2000 was more conservative than McCain’s in 2008 — but the point is that, whichever mix you put together, Pawlenty, or any other candidate, will need some kind of mix. And it would be very difficult to win the nomination without getting at least 15 percent of either the ‘very conservative’ or the ‘moderate’ faction.
“In other words, candidates who can pursue a ‘Goldilocks strategy’ can be favored — those who come across as not too conservative or too moderate, but fall somewhere in between. And on this front, Pawlenty might be able to carve out a real niche for himself.”
“Over the course of the last five months PPP has polled Republican voters in 16 different states that had primaries or caucuses while Romney was still in the race for President in 2008. Comparing the support Romney received then to the support he has now does not present a pretty picture for his chances at winning the nomination. On average he is doing 14 points worse than he did in his first campaign. These numbers suggest that little of the support he received in 2008 was ‘hard’ and that with a different field of candidates he could have difficulty getting the same people who voted for him the first time around to do it again…
“I don’t know whether these declining numbers for Romney are because voters have actually turned against him over the last three years or because he was more of a default choice they weren’t terribly enthused about in the first place, but they certainly show he hasn’t been making a whole lot of new friends since his last bid.”
“I see three [factors], and all have to be in place and reinforce each other for Obama to lose. First, the economy in 2012 has to be either stagnant or in decline in the 10 or so key electoral states (especially the ones in the Midwest) as he heads into the election. This would mean that the economy is creating very few net jobs in 2012 and that prices (including food and gas) are still rising.
“Second, no new major international crisis arises that causes people to rally behind Obama because of his competent handling of it. And I emphasize the words ‘new,’ ‘major,’ and ‘competent.’ Afghanistan and Iraq devolving again into a problem will not help Obama, and actually may hurt him because our country has basically moved on from the situation in both places.
“Third, a Republican nominee has to emerge who is charismatic; is a very good communicator; is in touch with the country’s economic and social needs; and is a new brand of GOP leader whom many younger voters can connect with. Think of what it took in 1980 to defeat the Democratic incumbent—Ronald Reagan and crises galore.”
“‘I think what the younger voters have figured out is that this is a broken relationship. He made soaring promises and grand expectations. He’s broken those promises,’ [Pawlenty] told the crowd of students. ‘If this was a Lady Gaga song, the relationship between the youth vote and Barack Obama would be ‘Bad Romance.”
“Pawlenty, Minnesota’s most recent former governor and a potential future presidential hopeful, said the news of the day has been dominated by the tragedy in Japan, issues in the Middle East, and Charlie Sheen.
“‘We may not in this room have tiger blood like he does,’ Pawlenty said, referring to the television actor, ‘but we’ve got something else in common with him. There’s going to be a lot of winning on the Republican side in 2012.'”
“Pawlenty is viewed by many GOP Insiders as the 2012 contender with the least political baggage who has positioned himself as a candidate with the broadest appeal to the party conservative base from tea party supporters to values voters. ‘Increasingly the choice by process-of-elimination,’ noted one Republican Insider. ‘His strategy is to be the least offensive of the ugly girls still standing at the bar at 2 a.m.,’ joked another GOP Insider.”