Mitt Romney should have seen Tim Pawlenty as a kind of canary in the coal mine. Pawlenty, a decent enough, smart enough guy with a good record as governor of Minnesota worked Iowa long and hard and flamed out early, right after Michele Bachmann won the straw poll.
It was said that Pawlenty lacked passion, he wasn’t able to get voters excited. But I think what he really lacked was that he wasn’t angry enough.
The Republican base is angry, and they want someone to share that anger and show it on the campaign trail. I believe that’s one reason that Mitt hasn’t caught on and why Newt Gingrich, despite all the negatives in his past, both personal and professional, that should be alienating Republicans, has taken off as the last viable not-Romney standing.
Part of the hope when Rick Perry entered the race was that he would burn hotter than Pawlenty, show some anger and outrage. But Perry has had trouble getting his sentences out at all, let alone adding strong emotion to them.
I’m sure Mitt was relieved when Pawlenty dropped out, since they had a lot in common as kind of milquetoasty governors. Mitt saw him as direct competition more than he saw someone like Bachmann, the other Minnesota twin. But Mitt should have seen Pawlenty’s failure as a cautionary tale and taken that warning more seriously.
If losing out to someone like Gingrich isn’t enough to get Mitt angry, I don’t know what it will take. Tick-tock, Mittens.