The Campaign Spot

Tim Pawlenty’s Fans Make the Case for Their Man

A couple of Pawlenty fans offer a few thoughts on yesterday’s rollout of his new PAC, and my perhaps-too-skeptical assessment of his opportunity if he runs in 2012.

The first from a self-described Pawlenty partisan:

The operative who questioned Pawlenty’s ability to go toe-to-toe with Obama has probably not spent a lot of time watching Pawlenty. Remember, Pawlenty won in Minnesota in 2006. I was working on a campaign in a blue state that year, and that accomplishment should not be discounted. Not only that, but he’s maintained his popularity since then.

I believe it was Mickey Kaus who described Obama’s success as due largely to America’s desire for a “return to normalcy” after the Bush years. Well, Obama’s presidency has been anything but, and if he continues pursuing things like cap-and-trade, Obamacare and the devaluation of American power at the UN, then a Midwestern governor with a moderate tone, unquestioned competence and a conservatism firmly rooted in common sense is going to look reassuringly normal.

True enough, although I would note he won reelection in 2006 by the skin of his teeth.

Another Minnesotan:

For quite a while, I’ve seen a parallel between Tim Pawlenty’s gubernatorial election after our “Jesse the Body” experiment in Minnesota and what is a very possible result after the nation’s “Barack Obama” experiment. Tim Pawlenty really came out of nowhere to be elected as our governor seven years ago. He was the house majority leader, but certainly beyond political circles was not well known. I think the people of Minnesota realized after enduring their thin-skinned, preening, naïve chief of state, that bland was good. It wouldn’t surprise me if it happened again.

And a third:

I enjoy your blog. Being from MN, I couldn’t help but comment on your post about Tim Pawlenty. Overall, I think your assessment of him is accurate. He is a bright, engaging guy, but not the most gifted in lofty flowery rhetoric. Two points, however: First, no one in the Republican stable is even close to Obama on that score. They won’t get close, and would waste their time trying. Second, let’s assume that things remain roughly where they are now (admittedly unlikely,

but . . .). If the Republicans put up a guy who can put more than two extemporaneous words together in a debate, and get heavy into policy (unfortunately, I don’t see Sarah Palin getting there), plus a guy with TP’s plain, regular guy background (state school, blue collar family, very friendly even in disagreement), that would be the best way to go toe to toe with Obama, a Hah-vad educated lawyer with strong ties to the far left (ok, I guess that part didn’t work too well last year).
Plus TP’s a great guy. I have seen him commit extraordinary acts of kindness when no one was looking. I know that doesn’t count for much, but it’s worth something.

I would be very happy to be wrong.

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