Earlier this morning, we asked -- as others have -- if Tim Pawlenty made a mistake by getting out of the GOP race.
A Republican involved in the 2012 race emails Politico's Ben Smith arguing that Pawlenty would have never caught fire, even if he remained in the race.
I just can't take any more blog posts on this. He was 500K in debt. He would have had to fire 2/3 of his staff and deal with the exodus stories. And he likely would have had to deal with internal squabbling. (That one-off Daily Caller story would have been more than a one-off if Pawlenty was still around and people were jockeying on the sinking ship).
So we have a candidate who was polling about 4% in Iowa at the time, in debt, looking ahead at a month of terrible press, with no natural political skills to turn it around. He'd have spent the past 3 months banking just on debates, where he wasn't exactly knocking the cover off the ball when he was in the race.
The reality is he would have been the same place now he was then. Broke, 20 points behind Romney and top conservative alternative in Iowa, and in low single digits nationally.