TPM Reader MO thinks Pawlenty’s gambit for a primary campaign personality cult may not be such a bad play after all …
Just watched the clip and wanted to make the comment that, sure, it’s bombastic. That’s the whole point, I think. Previously, what was Pawlenty known for? Boring, milquetoast candidate. I actually find it a bit refreshing for a Republican to try to get some buzz with something that is over-the-top without talking about “Second Amendment remedies”, recalling the tragedy of 9/11 (note that he smartly doesn’t put the Towers in the video when he talked about what adversity this country has faced), or pandering to the rabid back through race, ethnic, or religious-baiting. If a Republican were to be our next President, I would take Pawlenty over the likes of Romney or Guiliani, et. all any day.
I take the point. And I guess like Demon Sheep there are points for originality and thinking outside the box. And yes, points for Pawlenty for not having the disempowered masses defending themselves against Orwellian bureaucrats with their AKs and Glocks. But still, I just feel like precisely because Pawlenty seems like such a soft soap, this sort of man of destiny stuff just comes off a little farcical.Like with Rudy, for instance, who seems like he may actually run again, if he did an ad like this you’d say, “Okay, Rudy’s a complete egomaniac and he’s actually cut a reasonably large figure on the world stage. And he’s probably also thought about how he’d respond to an invasion of space aliens. So this is the real Rudy. Not someone putting on airs or pretending to be someone they’re not. etc.” But with Pawlenty, it’s like it’s trying too hard or pretending he’s someone he’s not or just something tragic, only we’re not quite sure what it is.
And that’s not all. TPM Reader CP’s pals seem to think the same thing …
I sent this around to some friends who had worked on the communications staff for, among others, the edwards presidential and reid senatorial campaigns. the consensus was this was one of the best campaign ads they’d seen, since in order to knock off obama’s cult of personality / movement you’re going to have to build one around a conservative challenger.
if i recall correctly, wasn’t the rap on him that he was a (mostly) competent administrator who was just really boring?
this may be the first salvo in a campaign to change that.
(just to be clear, i couldn’t stop laughing during the ad; it was like something out of the office or arrested development. pure self-parody. but a lot of low-info conservatives i knew thought that stephen colbert was an authentic conservative for years. really.)
Okay, so MO’s not the only one. In theory, I would sort of agree. Too match up with Obama’s charisma and place on the map of history the Republicans probably do need someone who has some element of a movement behind them, a candidate of history. And there was an element of Obama worship infused in the 2008 campaign. But just to take this seriously for a moment, if that’s what they have in mind it strikes me as yet another example of conservatives getting taken in by their own spin. Yes, there was some intoxication with what Obama seemed to represent. And Republican opponents ginned that up into ‘worship’ and a ‘cult of personality’ and so forth. But this strikes me as those same folks thinking to themselves, “Hey, Obama’s cult of personality thing really worked for him so we’ve got to start building a Pawlenty cult of personality now with footage that’s redolent of 1984 to be ready to go head to head with O in two years.”