In a post titled “Handful of Rural Right-Wing Extremists Chase Tim Pawlenty out of Race,” the Nation‘s Ben Adler is steamed that “manifestly unqualified candidates” and “theocrats” get to stay in the race past Ames “while a relatively sane person like Pawlenty is drummed out.” That is, I suppose, one way of looking at it.
Another way of looking at it is that Pawlenty did better at Ames than he has done in any reputable national poll, that Iowa was one of the places where Pawlenty figured to do best, and that Ames provided him an opportunity to leverage his advantages in organization against a field of populist candidates without having to compete with most of the frontrunners and he still couldn’t take advantage of it.
Whatever the flaws of the Ames process, it didn’t take away an option most Republican primary voters seemed to be clamoring to have. It ratified a decision they seemed to have already made, whether pundits left, right, and center like it or not.
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