The typical line on a candidate who exits a race then gives good interview is this: “Boy, why wasn’t he like that on the trail?” We heard it when Al Gore lost the presidency then went on Saturday Night Live. We heard it when Bob Dole, who was always incredibly wry, did the talk show circuit after losing to Bill Clinton.
Tim Pawlenty, join the club!
Let’s not lose sight of the truth: Pawlenty was always this corny, and always about this funny. His jokes on the campaign trail were about this caliber, with references to Will Ferrell films (“My smokin’ hot wife”) and self-deprecation. Once I saw him take a question from a man wearing a green blazer. “Thanks for the question,” said Pawlenty, “and congratulations again on winning the Masters.” This was pure Pawlenty. Republican voters, mostly in Iowa, just didn’t see it and think “president.”