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Ah, Tim Pawlenty.  He was a governor who, facing divided government and a Democratic-leaning electorate, managed to produce a more or less sustainable budget (overwhelmingly through spending cuts) while maintaining core government services.  That sounds like pretty good preparation for our moment.  He has never come up with a vivid, fact-based narrative for his spending cutting, budget balancing record as governor.  Contrast Pawlenty’s vague answer on his economic record with his much stronger, more specific answer on his abortion record and beliefs.  For some reason, he decided to act the part of the one liner spouting demagogue while employing some badly executed moments of strategic weaselness ( on waterboarding in the first debate and Obamneycare in the second.)  And he seems to be a really bad actor.  His attacks on Bachmann came across (to me at least) as feeble and opportunistic. 

Michele (Tip of the Spear) Bachmann is the Tiger Woods (pre-domestic incident Tiger Woods) of demagogues.  She has the talent, but also works really hard at the game.  Her answers on the debt ceiling were brilliantly crafted to maximize her heroic profile while utterly obscuring the costs of attempting to balance the budget in one year without raising taxes.  Her ability to choose her words was quite impressive.  Only Santorum was able to highlight (not very effectively) any of the practical consequences of an extended failure to raise the debt ceiling.  The panelists (who asked some tough questions) totally whiffed here - and not just with Bachmann.  

This is bad.

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