Here's an immutable truth of the Republican primary: of the many, many contenders for the presidential nomination, all but one will lose. That means that eventually -- this week, this month, this year -- the herd will thin. Who'll be the first to go? The New York Times's Jeff Zeleny gets the magic 8-ball rolling this morning with a look at former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty's struggling campaign under the headline: "
Pawlenty has been running for president for two years, focusing intensely on Iowa, but he's still polling at just 6 percent in the state. If he doesn't do well in the Iowa Straw poll, a little more than a month away, his campaign is probably finished. Pawlenty told the Des Moines Register's editors that he's behind in the polls because "this week is the first time that I've campaigned in earnest in Iowa," Jennifer Jacobs writes--but Pawlenty has been in the state more times than any of his rivals save Rick Santorum.
Pawlenty may stick it out for a little bit longer, but there are plenty of contenders for the first to concede that they won't be going to the White House in 2013.
Newt Gingrich has had a rough campaign so far too--his staff quit, his Tiffany's habit was revealed, he criticized an unpopular Medicare overhaul plan, his campaign is a million dollars in debt--and Slate's Dave Weigel wonders if he's just waiting till the right moment to pull out of the campaign with dignity. Iowa Politic's Lynn Campbell reports that even groups who've invited Gingrich to speak aren't being nice to him: the Christian group The Family Leader issued a statement four days before his lecture saying,
"Our exceptional and free society simply cannot endure without … nurturing nuclear families comprised of sexually faithful husbands and wives... We acknowledge and regret the widespread hypocrisy of many who say they defend marriage, yet turn a blind eye toward the epidemic of infidelity and the anemic condition of marriages in their own communities."
Gingrich is on his third marriage.