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Pawlenty Retires

pawlenty.jpgThe buzz on Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty's decision not to run again for his position is that it clears the way for him to run for president in 2012. Which seems true. But that's not just because it gives him more free time. Plenty of serving governors run for president. Rather, it's because this is a really crummy time to be a governor.

It's a bit hard to make the case for your candidacy if the state you're in charge of just saw its unemployment numbers shoot up and its deficit explode. But by leaving now, Pawlenty can exit before a lot of the damage has been done and before a lot of the hard choices -- how many children, exactly, should be cut from the state's insurance rolls? -- have to be made. Part of being a popular executive is making sure to not be around when you'll have to do things that will make you an unpopular executive.

One of the concerns, however, doesn't seem likely to manifest. As Pawlenty is now looking to appeal to primary-voting Republicans, some thought he'd do more to hold up Al Franken's certification. Pawlenty, however, says he'll abide by the ruling of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By Ezra Klein  |  June 3, 2009; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  2012 Presidential  
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Comments

Isn't running away from your state's problems just as damaging as any policy decisions you might have to make if you stayed on? In politics, how often do quitters win?

Posted by: bluegrass1 | June 3, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

and yet Pawlenty is in position to own the budget cuts after twice refusing the legislature's budget, and apparently making good on his ability to 'unallot' money over the next budget period. he alone will be responsible for cutting kids from the heathcare roll.

it's important to note that his popular support has already slipped here in Minnesota- and that he never had a majority vote win in the two prior elections.

Posted by: ericrhouse | June 3, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

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