The fourth Indiana Jones movie tried so hard and disappointed us so much. And that is what the 2012 Republican primary campaign has been like so far: Moments that were supposed to thrill us with their novelty or cleverness that just ended up seeming lame, like when Indy survived a nuclear bomb by climbing in an old refrigerator. Here are some of the 2012 race's biggest disappointments so far:
Mitt Romney was supposed to blow us away with his fundraising ability, and he started out promisingly, pulling in $10.5 million in a single day. But that sum ended up being half his entire haul for the first six months of the year. Romney has raised just over $20 million so far--$18.5 million in the second quarter. That pales in comparison to the campaign's goal of raising $50 million in the first half of the year, as Politico's Jonathan Martin reports.
After more than fifteen years of presidential anticipation, Newt Gingrich kicked off his campaign with his foot in his mouth. He ended the second fundraising quarter $1 million in debt, Alexander Burns reports. And since his entire campaign staff ditched him, he's fallen sharply in the polls, now entering asterisk territory, as Slate's Dave Weigel observes. Weigel says Gingrich is just waiting to pull out of the race till "whenever he feels like he can do it with dignity."
Jon Huntsman, the subject of many lengthy magazine profiles, earned absolutely zero bounce in the polls after his big Reaganesque campaign announcement in front of the Statue of Liberty. After spending a month in New Hampshire, he has just 2 percent of voters' support, according to a University of New Hampshire poll.
Tim Pawlenty, who was all set to be the anti-Romney candidate, is now admitting that Michele Bachmann might beat him in Iowa. But he claims that's just because Bachmann's "from Iowa." Pawlenty insists, "I'm the one candidate who can not only do well in a place like Iowa, but can win in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, but also more importantly, beat Barack Obama in a general. There's a bunch of people who can do well in Iowa, but aren't gonna win the election." But he's still putting a huge emphasis on Iowa, hiring Mike Huckabee's daughter to advise his campaign there. NBC News' First Read explains that for Pawlenty, "The stakes for the straw poll are even higher. If he's not first or a close second, he's last. You know who finished third in the 2007 straw poll? Sam Brownback." But in a Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus goers, Pawlenty has 6 percent, for sixth place. As Ben Smith notes,"It's a big day for early Pawlenty obituaries."