Four years ago, Romney lurched to the right in preparation for his presidential candidacy. He did it on social issues, where his prior support for abortion and gay rights left him vulnerable on his right flank. Pawlenty has a consistent record of opposition to abortion and gay marriage. In his case, he appears to be catering to the conservative, populist anger on the right, which is challenging the party establishment and attacking Obama in sometimes extreme language. The real risk for Pawlenty, as Romney learned in his unsuccessful 2008 campaign, is losing his true voice and his authenticity. Romney spent so much time trying to reposition himself and picking narrow tactical fights with his rivals that the qualities that might have made him a more attractive candidate were lost in the smoke. But once a candidate starts down that road, it can be hard to pull back.
A Pawlenty adviser responds in an e-mail to First Read: "Some people may assume that Governor Pawlenty's a moderate since he hails from such a liberal-leaning state, but in fact his record is consistently conservative. Since he ran as a conservative and governered as a conservative, it should be no surprise that he continues to lead as a conservative now. He feels strongly that President Obama and Congressional Democrats are leading the country in the wrong direction on health care and deficit spending, and he's going to say so."
Through Organizing for America, the Obama campaign’s successor, he’s working to foster citizen-level advocacy. “You watched us – we put a huge premium on the campaign of people talking to people. We didn’t think there was any more important kind of political communication than that,” he said. “And we still believe that.”
Whatever you think of Obama’s policies, anyone interested in presidential politics would be wise to study his 2008 campaign tactics. We’ll be seeing them again in 2012 – in some of the Republican campaigns.
Former presidential candidate Ron Paul's son is borrowing a page from his father's playbook for his U.S. Senate bid, leaning heavily on Internet fundraising and tapping the enthusiasm of young Republicans on college campuses.
The difference this time is that it could actually work. Eye surgeon Rand Paul, once ignored as a longshot, raised more than his main 2010 GOP primary opponent in the most recent fundraising period, and experts say he has a legitimate shot at winning the Senate seat being vacated by colorful Republican Jim Bunning."On some levels, it's more than a grass roots campaign," said Western Kentucky University political scientist Scott Lasley. "It's a guerrilla campaign. It's not the easiest to compete against."