Matt Continetti's advice for Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota from this week's TWS newsletter:
Speaking of 2012, Tim Pawlenty has a problem. He's a capable, successful, two-term conservative governor of a blue state, running in a GOP field that's packed with celebrities. How to stand out in a crowd that might include Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, and others? Making matters worse, Pawlenty might not be the only successful governor running in 2012. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Rick Perry of Texas all could throw their hats in the ring. And what if Jeb Bush wants the nomination? They better reinforce the platforms on which the Republicans hold debates—the weight of all those candidates could cause the structure to collapse.
If you're Pawlenty, then, you need a way to separate yourself from the pack. So you publish a self-indulgent memoir. You release a ridiculous promotional video that looks like it was directed by Michael Bay. You are tempted to make heated rhetorical pronouncements.
One wonders, though, if Pawlenty would be better served not doing such things. Why try to compete with the big fish in the cable-news pond when you could focus instead on building organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire? Voters may come to like your soft-spoken, results-oriented, hockey-loving charm. While Romney and Huckabee and the rest beat up on each other, you can play the adult. After all, in many ways a nomination fight is a process of elimination. Everyone else has their flaws. Play your cards right, and you could end up the last person standing.