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Breaking News: Rob Portman Is Actually Interesting


For the last few months just about the only thing I have heard about Rob Portman is that he is, with Tim Pawlenty, one of a pair of “boring white guys who would not hurt the ticket.” (The political benefit of this talk is, if Romney puts anybody but one of these two on the ticket, it would be a bold and exciting choice by contrast.) But The New Republic has an article about Portman, describing his interest in the Shaker sect, to the extent that he wrote a sympathetic book about them. The Shakers were pioneers, TNR’s Timothy Noah points out, in religious tolerance, racial and gender equality, and other things. (Portman himself was a Presbyterian, and became a Methodist when he got married.)

This is not the sort of thing one would expect to find on the résumé of a D.C. policy wonk, never mind one who was skilled enough to be OMB director. Props to Portman.