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The Weekly Sift

Four years ago, Jonathan Chait made the kind of prognosticating mistake people don’t let you forget: He picked Tim Pawlenty as the 2012 Republican nominee.

To be fair, Pawlenty wasn’t as ridiculous a choice as hindsight makes him look, and Chait wasn’t the only one forecasting great things for him: Pawlenty was Mitt Romney without the baggage of Mormonism and RomneyCare. He was conservative enough to be acceptable to the Party’s various factions, while sounding moderate enough not to scare off the national electorate.

In other words: If this were still the GOP of 1920, Pawlenty was exactly the kind of Warren-Harding-ish compromise candidate the smoke-filled room above the convention hall would have settled on after ten or twenty ballots. But since Pawlenty was nobody’s first choice in 2012, he never broke out of single digits in the polls and was out of the race before a single vote was…

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