Pawlenty of Desperation

The other day, Minnesota Public Radio noted that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is trying out a faux southern accent on the Presidential campaign trail. For instance, MPR cited a piece in the New York Times:

The knock on Mr. Pawlenty, according to conversations with voters, is that his speeches sound sincere but do not always sizzle. At a faith forum last week in Iowa, he displayed vigor. But the next day at the Statehouse, the talk among several Republicans was that it seemed he had suddenly developed a Southern accent as he tried connecting to voters by speaking louder and with more energy.

The political blog of Radio Iowa heard it too and noted, “Pawlenty seems to be adopting a Southern accent as he talks about his record as governor.” As he spoke of the country’s challenges, he dropped the letter G, saying: “It ain’t gonna be easy. This is about plowin’ ahead and gettin’ the job done.”

Ever since I heard about this, I just can’t get this tune out of my head:

Come-n-listen to a story ’bout a man named Tim.
Poor Governeer left his state a mighty grim.
Then one day he was fixin’ to win it all,
And out of his trap come a bumblin’ “y’all…”
(Dropped “g’s” that is, political gold, real folksy!)

Well first thing ya know old Tim’s a reptilian-aire.
Minn’ folk said “Tim, move away from here!”
Said “outta state is the place you oughta be,”
So he loaded up the plane and he moved to Fox TV!
(Safe that is, softball questions, pundit stars.)

Now he’s flippin’ and a floppin’ his ideology,
What used to be a “tax” is now “just a fee!”
Said “I aint borin,’ I’m a Tea Party pol,
And — listen here, folks! — hey, howdya like my draaaaaaawwwwwawl.”
(Panderin’ that is, mullet harr, not one “g!”)

– Loveland

34 thoughts on “Pawlenty of Desperation

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        Sorry for the delay. I had to locate the correct cast metal sorts and rebind them in our SRC forme.

  1. I hate it when pols (and broadcasters: Cathy Wurzer, anyone?) drop their g’s so as to sound like one of the folks.

    Pawlenty did this while he was governor, too. Remember that speech he made to the Republican convention a couple years back that included a long hyphenated gerund list to describe Democrats, where every one of his -ing words became -in’ ? (Tax-raisin’, gay-marriage lovin’… blah blah blah.)

    He was clearly pandering then, just as now.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Good point, Daughter. I had forgotten about that convention speech. Given the long history, maybe the accent is not contrived. Maybe he is just gettin’ in touch with an inner hillbilly that has been there all along?

  2. Bruce benidt says:

    Tim, if he’s going to be either Michele or Sarah’s running mate, can’t sound like another ice-bound northerner.
    Joe, Reptilianaire is a hoot. Bravo. You need professional help.

    1. PM says:

      Bruce–you willing to come North for some coaching?

      And who is going to start our discussion about March Madness? I think that we need to discussion about other people’s brackets! Which would be pundit knows anything worth knowing?

  3. Newt says:

    Madison isn’t the only place conservatives are reforming …

    Angry voters oust Miami-Dade mayor in special vote

    9:59pm EDT

    By Kevin Gray

    MIAMI (Reuters) – Voters in Miami-Dade, one of the most populous U.S. counties, removed Mayor Carlos Alvarez from office in a special vote on Tuesday triggered by popular anger over a hike in property taxes.

    With 707 of 829 precincts reporting, official results showed 88 percent of voters backed the effort to oust the once-popular mayor, who is his second four-year term.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    Some recent commentary on this subject. From National Journal:

    Pawlenty says that he wants to be “every person’s candidate,” but there is some worry that he may be sacrificing his own individuality and coming across as pandering.

    From Time‘s Swampland Blog:

    My problem with Pawlenty’s speech wasn’t the accent–though it was noticeable. It’s that it seemed to lack the emotional punch you’d want to see from a candidate without much national profile. I can’t remember much from the speech except that it emphasized values and religion in fairly standard ways–and that Pawlenty half-shouted his way through much of it.

    It can be difficult to shake the conventional wisdom of the national pundits once it takes hold in presidential races (See Romney is a panderer, Hillary is phoney, Kerry is arrogant, Gore is a liar, etc.), and increasingly the conventional wisdom about TPaw seems to be “karma-less chameleon.”

    I’m a man (a man) without conviction,
    I’m a man (a man) who doesn’t know
    how to sell (to sell) a contradiction.
    You come and go, you come and go.

    – Culture Club, Karma Chameleon

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Give that, Joe, perhaps we’ll start hearing a flinty New England accent out of Haley Barbour when he gets to New Hampshuhhhh.

  5. Newt says:

    My favorite Haley Barbour quote:

    “Head Start is a godsend for Mississippi. Some of those kids in it would be better off sitting up on a piano bench at a whorehouse than where they are now.”

    1. Newt says:

      Damn, Pawlenty sounds like he is auditioning to be on the cast of Hee Haw.

      This is what happens when you allow yourself to be manipulated by consultants.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        I may be wrong, but I’m guessing Pawlenty is his own worst consultant. I’ve known a lot of political consultants, and I’ve never met one who would consult a client to try to adopt an accent for an audience. Reasons: 1) almost no non-actors can do a passable accent and, more importantly, 2) there are gazillions of minutes of preexisting audio and video tape of the candidate without accent to expose the evolution. Some political consultants are unethical enough to recommend such a thing, but they’re typically not insane.

      2. Newt says:

        I’m willing to bet he’s getting advice from someone like Dick Morris who thinks sounding like Gomer Pile is the key to winning the South.

  6. Jim Leinfelder says:

    From this very funny guy, Dave Nuttycombe (Yes, his real name) who put it to the use for which it fairly begged. It would cut nicely together with the Pawlenty audio:

    Right up there with the “drama prairie dog” for repeated comedic utility.

  7. Joe Loveland says:

    Excellent analysis by David Frum about the T-Paw Hee Haw business:

    What we are witnessing is the unfolding of a Pawlenty campaign strategy to occupy the spot that once seemed reserved for John Thune: the most generic of all Republicans, the sole remainder after every constituency in the GOP has exercised its veto: the tax people, the life people, the gun people, the defense people, the anti-Obamacare people, etc. etc. etc. Along the way, a successful, pragmatic Midwestern governor has had to reinvent himself, down to his own voice and accent.

    Bill Kristol describes this as Reaganism. But Ronald Reagan imposed himself on a party, he was not the product of a party. Pawlenty’s current strategy might more aptly be compared to that of Reagan’s 1984 opponent, Walter Mondale: the party’s least objectionable man, or rather the man least objectionable to everyone in the party with the power to express an objection.

  8. Joe Loveland says:’s snapshot of TPaw:

    “Incredibly dull northern former moderate Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now a thrilling hard-right action film hero with a Southern accent.”

  9. Joe Loveland says:

    On the NPR game show Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me this weeken, Roxane Roberts suggested a killer slogan for Minnesota’s favorite lower tier presidential candidate:

    “Pawlenty, the other white meat.”

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