The Corner

Pawlenty of Tea

In a new web video, the former Minnesota governor serves a hot cuppa. “I think the Tea Party is a great addition to the conservative coalition and the coalition for change in this country,” he says. “I think the Tea Party is a welcome, helpful, energetic, forward-leaning organization.”

As Pawlenty moves toward a 2012 run, he appears to be carving out a tea-soaked space in what could be, as Rich notes, a short field. Sal Russo, the Tea Party Express strategist, observes in the Washington Post that this may be a smart strategy, especially since Pawlenty, still an unknown to many, has room to define himself.  “I don’t think he’s very well-known within the Tea Party community,” Russo says. “There’s plenty of time.”

His overtures have already yielded some results: Pawlenty attended the Tea Party Patriots’ national summit last weekend and placed second in the on-site straw poll behind Herman Cain. Here is a snapshot from the event:

But beyond all of the web theatrics, which have generated some buzz, Pawlenty is clearly aiming to be more than  a Tea Party star. Ramesh details this in his NR cover story:

In an interview, Pawlenty volunteers that it is a mistake to multiply the categories of conservative. “People say, ‘I’m a tea-party conservative,’ ‘I’m a religious conservative,’ ‘I’m a compassionate conservative.’ But there [aren’t] 16 varieties of conservatism; there are some basic tenets of conservatism.” Those tenets, he believes, are “time-tested principles reflected in our founding documents. . . . The real challenge is to apply it to the challenges of our time.”

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