Tag Archives: Tim Pawlenty

Dems unload on potential VP picks

Democrats have unloaded opposition research profiles on three key potential Republican running-mates of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The ABC News Blog reported the story yesterday morning, which shows up on the Drudge Report today.

The American Bridge 21st Century SuperPac – the official dirt-digging machine of the Democratic party – launched a website yesterday detailing the supposed dastardly deeds of Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. VeepMistakes also casts Romney as the less-than-enthusiastic choice of Republicans, and reminds us all that Sarah Palin was on the ticket in 2008.

Wow. I’m underwhelmed.

Whats interesting, though, is the timing. It’s speculated Romney will announce a running-mate soon, possibly even this week. Those kinds of suggestions usually rely on a stray story here and there, but mainly all it takes is a look at the calendar to know that an announcement can’t be too far away. (For reference, in 2008 Obama announced Biden on August 22nd, McCain announced Palin August 29th. Four years before, Kerry announced Edwards on July 6th. In 2000, Bush announced Cheney on July 25th, Gore tapped Lieberman August 13th.)

It’s clear Democrats published these dossiers now to influence media coverage of the expected announcement. It’s also interesting that they put out the longest report for the potential pick with the shortest public record – Rubio. Either they really believe it’s going to be him, or he’s the candidate they most fear.

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Sarah Palin stirs the waters

The political universe is atwitter at the latest sign that Sarah Palin may run for president. Politico and others have reported on her bus stop tour and a promotional documentary soon to be released. This comes on the heels of unconfirmed reports that she has bought or is buying a home in Arizona.

There are several questions here. The first is will she run. The second is how well would she positioned in the GOP field as it is currently shaping up. And the third of course is could she realistically take on Barack Obama in a general election.

The bus tour all but says “I’m in,” although I don’t think it’s a lock. It’s possible she’s leaning that way but not yet made a final decision, and wants to keep her options open. This keeps her in the game, and possibly keeps others – like Michelle Bachmann – out. You can do a lot on a bus tour besides run for president: make endorsements, spotlight issues, raise money, sell books, and generally pump up your reputation. It’s also a great way to test the waters and make a splash, without actually jumping in. Still, common sense says this means she is more likely to be running.

Governor Palin would be an instant front-runner – which is not to say the front-runner. I think that would still have to go to Mitt Romney. But clearly she would be in select company with Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman if she gets in.  She’s already way ahead of the latter two in name ID, and will be for some time.  She would definitely fill a perceived void in the primary right now, that of a grassroots, cultural conservative. She can no doubt speak to important constituencies in the Republican primary, especially in some of the early state contests. Without discussing this at length, it’s safe to say that yes, Palin is well-positioned to shake things up and do well in a GOP primary.

How well she does may depend on the degree to which the other candidates can convince the base that one of them is more electable in a general. That shouldn’t be hard to do, although the task will be complicated because you don’t want to alienate her fans. All the good folks out there who really like Sarah Palin.

That of course points to her political problem. She’s easy to like if you are like her, or if you happen to relate to or admire her personality. She’s also made progress in the last couple years in the way she carries herself on screen.  I think the Fox gig has helped her with that.  But fundamentally, she tends to see  America as red or blue, with her own idea of the shade of each color. That is at lesat the impression that she can sometimes give.

Like any aspiring politician, she’s got to be able to talk to a variety of people in a way they can understand and appreciate. That doesn’t mean she has to compromise her values, but she’s got to consider the issues that are important to others, and offer ideas and solutions in a way that reflect empathy. The sooner she starts doing that the better. For the time being, I like Romney, although of course I’ll be giving Pawlenty and Huntsman a look.

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Pawlenty, anyone?

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty makes a great presidential primary candidate, writes Stanley Curtz at The Corner of National Review Online. He says that it’s time to take a look at Pawlenty, even if by name-ID alone he may not currently be a top-tier candidate.

I’ll take Curtz up on it. The GOP contest is only just now picking up steam, and the field is broad but deep only in a few places. That is, there seems to be only a few very serious candidates. I don’t know Pawlenty’s record in detail, but at this stage in the game he deserves a look. At a minimum, he won office twice as a red governor in a blue state, and earned a reputation for fiscal responsibility in the process.

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Hmm…interesting

Governor Tim Pawlenty recently sent out a fundraising email noting his support for the U.S. Senate campaign of former Congressman (as well as U.S. Trade Rep. and OMB chief) Rob Portman, in addition to congressmen from the Minnesota governor’s home state.

Where is Portman from? Ohio. This is common for PACs to give money to competitive canidates in critical seats, but I hear that state has some sway in presidential elections.

~ H.A.

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Conservative thinkers

My brother in Denver sent me this piece from the New York Times this morning, about Robert P. George of Princeton. The article’s author, David Kirkpatrick, writes of his subject as a “professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.

Which is interesting, because I was not familiar with him before reading this article. I think I had heard of him before, but that’s about it. I’m reading the fairly lengthy article at the present moment (blogging never waits), but one of the first things I noticed was his sense of style.

Of his physical appearance at a meeting in Manhattan, the Times notes that George was “dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses­.” I’ve got to say I appreciate this. I’ve had a few great instructors at the University of Missouri, but for the most part, one thing I would not give them high marks for is their rather lackadaisical approach to attire and appearance.

There seems to be an unspoken code in some places that to be a professor one must assume a kind of artisan aloofness in personal dress. That to look otherwise would be pretentious, or conformist, or somehow not reflect the proletariat ethos of the professoriate. It’s ridiculous of course, and I have a mind to write a letter to the school newspaper to blow off a little steam about it. Maybe the courteous thing would be to first bring my concerns to the political science department itself. But I digress.

I’m glad to learn about George. I’ll keep him on my radar screen now. It’s tough to pinpoint any one person as “the country’s most influential conservative thinker.” So I don’t know if I buy the label yet for George. Personally, I would say that Charles Krauthammer (from the field of medicine, with experience in presidential politics) is the country’s most important conservative political voices. Slightly different category perhaps, but there you go. Other intellectuals to consider would have to include Marvin Olasky (with a background in history, journalism and theology), a Protestant and political conservative who serves as editor of WORLD [and as provost of The King’s College] Magazine among other things, and Peter Wood (an anthropologist by training), president of the National Association of Scholars and [former] provost of The King’s College in New York City.

That’s only a very quick mental perusal of the topic, though. There are many leading lights of the intellectual conservative movement, each occupying their own niche and taking on important work. It’s people like this I want to learn from and emulate in their passion and seriousness of approach, and we will need many such individuals to impact society and government in fundamental, positive ways.

Ultimately, any movement needs someone who can communicate its ideals persuasively to the public, and the article correctly noted conservative intellectuals’ current concern over a “leadership vacuum on the Christian right.” I’ve written before that Rep. Mike Pence should run for president. He’s stepped into a national role and I believe he is an effective spokesperson for the conservative cause. I like Romney in the 2012 primary, although I’m willing to give Pawlenty a look as well. One thing is for certain – Barack Obama may soon be the best public case for conservatism before too long.

NOTE: This article was updated on 12/21/09 to identify Peter Wood as the former – not current – provost of The King’s College. (And Marvin Olasky as the current provost). I regret the earlier error.

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Palin: “Not a serious contender”

[UPDATE: 10/28/09 appx. 9:45 p.m. CST: The Kansas City Star Prime Buzz notes the results of a new CNN poll indicating that “more than seven in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president.” On the positive side of things for her, “nearly two-thirds of those questioned say Palin’s not a typical politician, and feel she’s a good role model for women.”  ]

Might as well continue with the theme of the 2012 GOP field – specifically, potential candidates we need to look beyond. In my last post, I explained why Gingrich should not and probably will not run. Then, reading an interview in Der Spiegel, I came across this statement by the brilliant and highly respected conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer:

SPIEGEL: Who will be the next leader of the Republican Party?

Krauthammer: Some presidential candidates from last year will return in 2012. Sarah Palin is not a serious contender, but somebody like Mitt Romney will be. He is a serious guy, he understands the economy. There will also be some young people many haven’t yet heard about, such as Rep. Paul Ryan or Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Or outsiders like the mastermind behind the surge in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who might retire from the military and run for President on the Republican ticket.

“Sarah Palin is not a serious contender…”

Just let that sink in, folks.

Not a serious contender.

I’ve written about Palin before….as with Newt, I also like Palin and think she has a lot going for her. But if you think Palin is qualified to seriously lead both a national party and national conservative movement, it’s time to get real. She has simply never demonstrated that she has what it takes to do so.

Furthermore, I don’t know that she’s ever seriously demonstrated any willingness or ability to stake out grounded and nuanced conervative positions on issues that either didn’t rev up the base at a campaign rally or have some streak of populist appeal. In contrast, the ideal leader – the ideal candidate – will be able to assertively and articulately put forward a credible platform on a host of issues, and know those issues as well as any one person could.

I think Palin can remain a relevant national voice on certain issues, and in certain circles. But if she really wants to take a shot at the title, so to speak, she’ll need to do some serious training before getting back in the ring.

Regarding the other names Krauthammer mentioned: Paul Ryan is a rising star, but may not yet be seasoned enough….I’d like to see him continue to do good things in the House or maybe move into the Senate at some point. Pawlenty might be a good possibility…need to learn more about him. Ditto with David Petraeus…that could be an intriguing scenario. Mitt Romney is the early front-runner in my book, and also my top choice.

Post Script: It’s great that Palin is coming out with some Facebook posts on hot topic….and while the “death panel” comment was not necessarily a precise criticism of current health care nationalization plans, it certainly pointed to an essential reality of such systems while managing to positively impact the debate (or negatively, depending on your view). Yet, has anyone asked Palin if she’s actually writing these things herself? Or at least, closely directing their composition?

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