Monday, November 9, 2009


Here is Chris Cillizza's take on a few declared and prospective candidates in the 2010 and 2012 elections, in today's Washington Post. Some reactions:

I have already made clear that my early favorite for the 2012 presidential election is Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican from my native state of Minnesota.

Cillizza pounces on two recent statements by Pawlenty that the writer characterizes as missteps.

Regarding the New York special election, I suppose that those, such as Pawlenty and Sarah Palin, who endorsed Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, would have benefited from a Hoffman victory. But it probably plays well with the Republican primary electorate that they made a valiant attempt to elect a right-thinking (in more than one sense of that word) congressman.

Any fuss over Pawlenty's statements about the health-care vote by Maine's Republican Senator Olympia Snowe strike me as something that has more resonance inside the Beltway than it does in the places where the voters live.

Having said all that, I can concede that Pawlenty might have some work to do in improving his presentation.

In the distant past, before cable news and the World Wide Web, someone spending a suspicious amount of time in places such as Iowa and New Hampshire, would, at this stage in the process, not have had the national spotlight shining on him yet. Most of the coverage would have been by local TV and newspapers.

These days, perhaps there is less opportunity for a presidential hopeful to play previews out of town before hitting Broadway. But still, we're at a point in the process when, for the most part, it is only we political junkies who are paying much attention.

Cillizza also mentions a very interesting name in relation to the Democratic primary for governor of California. When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom withdrew from that contest, it seemingly left former Governor Jerry Brown with a clear path to the general election. Now, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who formerly held Newsom's current office, is reportedly reconsidering her earlier decision to stay out of the gubernatorial campaign.

In the past, going from governor to senator was a common career path. But lately it seems that the new trend is to go in the other direction. In 1990, Republican Pete Wilson gave up a Senate seat (which is now Feinstein's) to successfully run for governor of California. And Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, is a candidate in next year's gubernatorial election in that state.

It's understandable that the governorship of a large state such as California or Texas would be a big enough challenge to entice a U.S. senator back to his or her home state. But what about Frank Murkowski, who left the Senate in 2002 to run for governor of Alaska? It seems as though his motive was, in part at least, to set up a dynastic succession, as he appointed his daughter Lisa to succeed him in Washington. He failed to secure reelection, losing the governorship to a certain hockey mom who did not serve her full term.

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff, on Power Line, agrees with my assessment of Cillizza's comments about Pawlenty, and goes into some further detail on that subject.

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