At least he didn’t fake another Southern accent

AT LEAST HE DIDN’T FAKE ANOTHER SOUTHERN ACCENT…. When a largely unknown presidential candidate kicks off a national campaign, it’s probably good news when his announcement video gets lots of attention. Ideally, though, it’s not the kind attention in which people are pointing and laughing.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) unveiled the latest in a series of overwrought, overdramatic videos yesterday afternoon, with hand-held shots and ham-fisted music befitting a Michael Bay action flick circa 1997. We see flags, fighter jets, churches, Marines, and Reagan.

I was almost disappointed when I realized, after two minutes, we did not see Nicolas Cage killing anyone with his bare hands. It’s an oversight I’m sure Pawlenty’s team will correct next time — this was, after all, only the exploratory launch. The actual launch will come later, and the sequels tend to have bigger explosions.

As for the substance — I use the word loosely — Pawlenty claims in the clip to have visited “nearly every state in the country” over the last year, listening carefully to the concerns of the American people. (Whaddya know, they all agree with him.) Of course, his travels have apparently been more limited than Pawlenty would like to let on. The Atlantic‘s Chris Good noted that the video shows the former governor meeting lots of folks — all of them white.

There are a handful of images of minorities, but “most of them were taken from Getty stock footage.”

Michael Scherer, noting that the video is the work of Lucas Baiano, a talented young director, added, “The question is whether Pawlenty is overcompensating by using Baiano’s emotive, hyper-Hollywood style.”

If that’s the question, the answer is yes. Pawlenty is all about overcompensating, from his fake Southern accent, to his cringe-worthy videos. He’s succeeded in getting people talking, which means Pawlenty is getting noticed, but if he succeeds in becoming a punch-line, the governor may realize there is such a thing as bad publicity.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.