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The Case Against Tim Pawlenty

There's little dispute in Republican circles that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the leading candidate at the moment to be selected as John McCain's running mate.

VP Watch

Yesterday we made the case for Pawlenty as the right pick; today we argue the opposite.

Tim Who?

Pawlenty is virtually unknown on the national stage despite being in his second term as governor of a swing state.

He has done little to raise his profile nationally since coming into office -- although he has been seeking to remedy that of late by traveling the country in support of Republican downballot candidates.

Tim Pawlenty
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (AP File Photo)

One of the key factors in the veepstakes is building buzz among grassroots activists and party operatives for a candidacy. Pawlenty has clearly done an effective job in winning friends and influencing people in the Washington chattering class (The Fix was overwhelmed with people who wanted to say something kind about him.)

But, the fact remains that of the candidates most seriously mentioned as McCain's vice presidential choices, Pawlenty is the least known.

Some argue that being less known works in Pawlenty's favor as he is something of a tabula rasa on which any story that McCain wants to be written can be written.

Others, and there are more of these folks, believe that Pawlenty's lack of exposure means that he would be in for rough treatment from the national press corps as they sift through his record as governor.

One Republican strategist pointed out that the recent v.p. picks -- former senator John Edwards and Dick Cheney among them -- had already been fully vetted on the national stage before they were picked. "In this environment you can't pick someone who hasn't already been publicly vetted," said the source.

And, Pawlenty has already shown signs that he may not be ready for prime time. To wit: In a radio interview last month with a local station, Pawlenty said of his wife: "She loves football, she'll go to hockey games and, I jokingly say: Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me." That's not the typical tone of a vice presidential candidate.

Political Operation Incognito

For a guy who has spent six years in the governor's office and was a leader in the state House before winning that post in 2002, Pawlenty has an almost non-existent political operation either in the state or nationally.

Even allies describe Pawlenty as generally apolitical and not someone who has spent much time building a national network of donors or hiring on national operatives to position him for a run at the ticket.

Vin Weber, a former Congressman from Minnesota and Pawlenty advocate, explained that the governor is an "Eagle Scout" on matter of ethics -- including separating his governance from his political career. "That impedes his ability to build a political organization," acknowledged Weber.

In this Pawlenty is unique among those mentioned for vice president. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney remains surrounded by an informal group of highly-regarded operatives. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), too, has a solid group of political operatives looking out for his long term interests -- although those folks are far less known at the national level than Romney's team. Ditto for Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.), Sen. John Thune (S.D.) and even former Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio.).

The lack of a political operation was put in sharp relief earlier this year when Pawlenty was unable to deliver a victory for McCain in the state's Feb. 5 caucuses. Although the vote came after it was clear that McCain was the frontrunner for the nomination, Romney trounced the Arizona Senator by 19 points in the caucuses. Pawlenty's and inability to back up his endorsement of McCain with a win in his state suggests a woefully weak political operation.

A Man Without an (Ideological) Home

In our case for Pawlenty yesterday, we noted that he has stronger ties to the evangelical community than many people assume. But, he is not generally regarded by social conservatives as "one of them." He is definitely not a Mike Huckabee or a Gary Bauer.

That same sort of feeling toward Pawlenty holds true among activist fiscal conservatives -- symbolized by national groups like the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform.

While Pawlenty generally wins kudos for his handling of a massive budget shortfall upon entering office in 2002, fiscal conservatives took significant umbrage at Pawlenty's decision in 2005 to levy a "health impact" fee on cigarettes. As Jason Lewis, a prominent conservative talk radio host in Minnesota wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this year: "No one was fooled. User fees are generally charged to ensure that those who use a government service pay for the cost of providing that service. In this case, however, it was obvious that smokers were just being tapped to fund health-care entitlement programs."

Those familiar with the thinking of these national fiscal conservative groups note that Pawlenty is neither a beloved figure among their membership nor a detested one -- as Huckabee is, for example.

Even so, Pawlenty may well be a man without a country when it comes to the veepstakes. He is unlikely to be pushed to McCain's advisers by either social or fiscal conservatives -- the two broadest and most powerful elements within the party. That also means that if Pawlenty is picked by McCain, he will make neither of those constituent groups happy.

Agree? Disagree? What did we miss in making the case against Pawlenty? Feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments section.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 20, 2008; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
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Next: "Who Won The Week?" -- The Competition Continues

Comments

All of your readers miss the point, Pawlenty will likely not bring Minnesota to McCain's column as it will probably be in the Dems camp this fall anyway. In fact, I think McCain doesn't have any VP choice that will carry a state for him. The real issue and really the only issue that matters is what candidate will not hurt him with the groups he needs to win the election. He does not need to be exciting VP choice just a competent one. In fact, if he were too exciting, the press would just say why can't we have Obama-Pawlenty ticket? Pawlenty's vetos are a mark of strenght for him as current President Bush needed to do a lot more vetoing of even his Republican congress's agenda. Pawlenty may not be perfect, but McCain could do a lot worse and he brings fewer liabilities than most of the others being discussed. I am comfortable with him, and I am a catholic who is both an economic and social conservative.

Posted by: J Snyder | August 16, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

This Gov. Puhlenty is about as boring as they come. You want to rest the entire election that he's going to deliver Wis. & Mn.?, ..or do you want to change the mindset of a major portion of American voters nationwide in both parties by having Gov. Sarah Palin on the ticket? Hilary voters, conservatives, the religious, women with children, and 75% of all horny men will vote for McCain because of her.(sorry to be crude but it's true) She is an extremely qualified leader of the type that only comes by once in a blue moon. Research her and you will believe...

McCain/Palin '08
Palin/Jindal '12

Posted by: Dave from Illinois | June 29, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

There isn't any visionary direction
that he has for the State of Minnesota. All he knows how to do, is to say no. That's the real reason his is considered a
"lightweight"! There isn't any substance.
Someone point out some to me, go ahead.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

You know as a Minnesotan...I don't want Molnau for Governor. I like Pawlenty. He is ethical and he stands firmly against wasteful government spending. Minnesota is a liberal state. The liberals are into redistrabution of the wealth...namely mine to everyone else. I'm not so into that but I do want a nice place to live, commute, hunt, fish, and play softball. We are expanding busing in the south metro. Now, a lot of people want the light-rail line to run down here...me included, but the costs are astronomical. Slowly expanding the rail lines and beefing up busing is the right way to do. Pawlenty is steering the Minnesota ship like the Captain he is. Some Minnesotan's would prefer to move in a more socialistic direction. A majority of Minnesota voted for Tim to lead us forward. I think he is doing a darn good job. He'd be a better VP than those on the short list from this blog. Just my opinion.

Posted by: Rob Mc - MN | June 23, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

----- Original Message -----
From: John K
To: aculvahouse@omm.com ; info@straighttalkamerica.com ; Info@FreeStrongAmerica.com ; TimP@mail.governor.state.mn.us
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 12:02 PM
Subject: McCain picks former Reagan official to head VP search, http://thehill.com/campaign-2008/mccain-selects-former-reagan-official-to-head-vp-search-2008-05-23.html


If integrity counts, Romney and Pawlenty are both unfit for public office. I don't think the Obama camp would be reluctant to use this information against them. Nothing airs out dirty laundry like a political campaign.

Posted by: John K | June 23, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

A reason you forgot to mention -- the Dems (and MSM) will try to turn Pawlenty into "Quayle II"

Posted by: ffx city | June 23, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Chris on this one. Pawlenty brings little to nothing for Minnesota, let alone the nation, on the Republican ticket. I've been scratching my head over this one ever since his name started being bandied about in press reports.
I think McCain's best options are either Romney or Portman. Romney did well in swing states in large part because of his economic credibility. As for Portman, he has a strong economic record as well and is well-respected by conservatives. He also is an effective communicator. Last but not least, he's from Ohio - and if McCain loses Ohio, it's all over!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 4:00 AM | Report abuse

I would just like to point out that it is very unlikely that Pawlenty would be able to deliver Minnesota for McCain. He never received even close to 50% of the vote and his popularity has decreased over the past year because of the 35W bridge collapse, a failed veto of a state transportation bill, and failing to keep his word in support of a light rail line running between the Twin Cities.

Posted by: Brian | June 23, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

if you go to spain you must visit andalucia and an very nice village name antequera. go to visitantequera.com is a very nice village and not popupular but it will surprise you.

Posted by: josefon99 | June 22, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

THESE REMARKS BY OBAMA ARE SO ANTI-AMERICAN AND SO OFFENSIVE TO EUROPEAN AMERCANS THAT Obama should RESIGN FROM THE SENATE IMMEDIATELY AND WITHDRAW FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE.


****************************************


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CNN) - Barack Obama told supporters that Republicans will "try to make you afraid of me" in remarks he made Friday at a Florida fundraiser.

"The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy.

"We know what kind of campaign they're going to run," said the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'"

In similar comments at a Chicago fundraiser last Thursday, Obama told supporters that Republicans would try to portray both him and his wife Michelle as "scary."

"They're going to try to make me into a scary guy," he said last week. "They're even trying to make Michelle into a scary person. Right?" And so that drumbeat - 'we're not sure if he's patriotic or not; we're not sure if he is too black.'


"I don't know, before I wasn't black enough," said Obama. "'Now he might be too black. We don't know whether he's going to socialize - well, who knows what.'"

.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | June 22, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama is basing his entire campaign on CALLING PEOPLE RACIST WHO ARE NOT RACIST. OBAMA IS RUNNING A TERRORIST INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN WHICH IS A DISGRACE.


Obama has got to be kidding.


This guy Obama is a joke. He is turning the Presidential campaign into an affirmative action program which he thinks he should win whether he is more qualified or not.


Obama is not even close to being more qualified.


Please save this country. Please act now to rid this country of this Inexperienced Flip Flopping Empty Suit Slime Fish Obama - Please act to save this country today.


.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama is basing his entire campaign on CALLING PEOPLE RACIST WHO ARE NOT RACIST. OBAMA IS RUNNING A TERRORIST INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN WHICH IS A DISGRACE.


Obama has got to be kidding.


This guy Obama is a joke. He is turning the Presidential campaign into an affirmative action program which he thinks he should win whether he is more qualified or not.


Obama is not even close to being more qualified.


Please save this country. Please act now to rid this country of this Inexperienced Flip Flopping Empty Suit Slime Fish Obama - Please act to save this country today.


.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama is basing his entire campaign on CALLING PEOPLE RACIST WHO ARE NOT RACIST. OBAMA IS RUNNING A TERRORIST INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN WHICH IS A DISGRACE.


Obama has got to be kidding.


This guy Obama is a joke. He is turning the Presidential campaign into an affirmative action program which he thinks he should win whether he is more qualified or not.


Obama is not even close to being more qualified.


Please save this country. Please act now to rid this country of this Inexperienced Flip Flopping Empty Suit Slime Fish Obama - Please act to save this country today.

.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I wish lazy national reporters would actually do research prior to writing, especially when they're entrusted with a column.

Minnesota a swing state? How many times in the past 13 elections (dating back to Dwight Eisenhower) has Minnesota gone Republican?

Five? Six? Four?

The answer is *once* in 1972, the year that Nixon obliterated McGovern.

Once. One time.

Pawlenty as VP nominee couldn't deliver Minnesota--where Obama has enjoyed double digit poll leads ever since Iowa.

Minnesota is home to the country's largest University, with a student population of more than 75,000. Obama carried the Democratic caucus vote 2-to-1, and even with that landslide, Hilary Clinton still got more votes than McCain and all the Republicans *combined* in MN Republican caucuses.

To top all that off, if Pawlenty is elected the new governor of Minnesota would be Carol Molnau, who serves as Lt. Governor, and used to be...wait for it...*Transportation* commissioner when the I-35W bridge collapsed. She was hounded from that job after the bridge collapse.

So now Democrats would get to run against McCain / Pawlenty / Molnau using the I-35W disaster as a legitimate campaign issue.

Obama carries Minnesota by 10% in the Fall regardless of Pawlenty's being on the ticket or not.

Posted by: MN is *not* a swing state | June 21, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

NEWS FLASH . NEWS FLASH


Obama really did it now - he is FALSELY ACCUSING the Republican party of racism BEFORE THEY SAY ANYTHING - Obama does not have an actual quote or instance of racism - so he is going with the "Republicans are GOING TO BE RACIST" line instead. The Constitution states one is innocent until proven guilty - Obama's new version of the Bill of Rights is "one is a racist before one says or does anything." Is this Obama's version of a post-racial campaign ? Give the country a break.


Obama is a disgrace to the Bill of Rights.


This is actually a new version of twisting someone's words around and "FALSELY PRETENDING TO BE OFFENDED." Or the FALSE ACCUSATIONS OF "OFFENSIVE COMMENTS."


This time, Obama has nothing to go on. He has nothing.

So Obama says the Republicans are "GOING TO SAY SOMETHING WHICH MIGHT BE TWISTED INTO SOMETHING THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED RACIST IF ONE REALLY REALLY REALLY TRIED." THESE REMARKS BY OBAMA ARE SO ANTI-AMERICAN AND SO OFFENSIVE TO EUROPEAN AMERCANS THAT Obama should RESIGN FROM THE SENATE IMMEDIATELY AND WITHDRAW FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE.


****************************************


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CNN) - Barack Obama told supporters that Republicans will "try to make you afraid of me" in remarks he made Friday at a Florida fundraiser.

"The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy.

"We know what kind of campaign they're going to run," said the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'"

In similar comments at a Chicago fundraiser last Thursday, Obama told supporters that Republicans would try to portray both him and his wife Michelle as "scary."

"They're going to try to make me into a scary guy," he said last week. "They're even trying to make Michelle into a scary person. Right?" And so that drumbeat - 'we're not sure if he's patriotic or not; we're not sure if he is too black.'


"I don't know, before I wasn't black enough," said Obama. "'Now he might be too black. We don't know whether he's going to socialize - well, who knows what.'"

.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | June 21, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH


Obama really did it now - he is FALSELY ACCUSING the Republican party of racism BEFORE THEY SAY ANYTHING - Obama does not have an actual quote or instance of racism - so he is going with the "Republicans are GOING TO BE RACIST" line instead. The Constitution states one is innocent until proven guilty - Obama's new version of the Bill of Rights is "one is a racist before one says or does anything."


Obama is a disgrace to the Bill of Rights.


****************************************


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CNN) - Barack Obama told supporters that Republicans will "try to make you afraid of me" in remarks he made Friday at a Florida fundraiser.

"The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy.

"We know what kind of campaign they're going to run," said the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. "They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'"

In similar comments at a Chicago fundraiser last Thursday, Obama told supporters that Republicans would try to portray both him and his wife Michelle as "scary."

"They're going to try to make me into a scary guy," he said last week. "They're even trying to make Michelle into a scary person. Right?" And so that drumbeat - 'we're not sure if he's patriotic or not; we're not sure if he is too black.'


"I don't know, before I wasn't black enough," said Obama. "'Now he might be too black. We don't know whether he's going to socialize - well, who knows what.'"


.

Posted by: 37th&OStreet | June 21, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about posts I'm seeing in all of these blogs that overconfidently claim the Dems will win in a "tidal-wave" and bring in huge majorities in Senate and House. Never forget the need for 60 votes in the Senate--enough votes to start or stop a fillibuster. Obama could come into office with a strong majority in the House, 56-57 votes in the Senate, and he could still be stymied. Mitch McConnell and his merry minions could hold everything up. They'll play for time until the "backlash" of 2010.

Posted by: Minnesota_guy | June 21, 2008 8:34 AM


There's almost no conceivable chance that the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof 60 Senators after the November election. We're at 51 now right? What can be hoped and worked for is 57 Democrats and 3 moderate Republicans who can be convinced or cowed into supporting Obama's agenda. 2010 could be another good year for the Democrats in the Senate, just because the Republicans picked up seats in 2004 and therefore will have some freshmen defending, but who knows what the political climate will look like by then.

Posted by: aleks | June 21, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I know that Pawlenty gets credit for being one of the few Republicans left standing in Blue States in 2006, but his opponent (the unethical *and* unlikeable Mike Hatch) and his running mate both self-immolated on camera immediately before the election and Pawlenty still barely squeaked by. Also, Pawlenty opposed funds for road maintenance and then the I-35W collapsed, killing several people and massively disrupting Minnesota transportation. Palwenty presents himself very well, and he's handsome and likable, although whether his youthful energy will mitigate McCain's age issue or highlight it is anyone's guess. Also, he was an early backer of McCain's when he was the presumed candidate and never jumped ship when the McCain campaign imploded last year and was left for dead. But I doubt the incredibly small chance of winning little blue Minnesota will justify Pawlenty as VP, unless McCain's people think he also appeals to important constituencies in actual battleground states.

Posted by: aleks | June 21, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Romney is the ideal selection. His only negative is the Mormon issue. The evangelicals need to overcome their religious bigotry to save our nation. It ok to have a Mormon as the General Manager of the world champion Boston Celtics, also Sec. Leavitt in Bush's cabinet and never forget that Reagon made a point of surrounding himself with "Mormons". To spout the rediculus falsity that Mormons are not Christian is as stupid and non-sensical as saying that NASA doesn't believe the earth is round. Huck never got votes for him, but the voters were always voting against either Romney or McCain. The fact remains that Ron Paul beat Huck in at least five states! Romney is the person to help McCain win!

Posted by: Tom D | June 21, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, adding Pawlenty to the ticket would actually reduce McCain's chances of carrying MN.

Pawlenty received a great deal of buzz in 2006 because he was able to hold on to the governorship despite broad losses nationally and in the state for Republicans. However, he won that race not because Minnesotans liked him, they just disliked him less than his opponent, Mike Hatch. Hatch saved defeat from the jaws of victory that year. After his Lt. Governor running mate made a small but highly publicized gaffe regarding E-85 fuel supports, his mean streak came out as he went after the media in an ugly way. Hatch already had a reputation as a jerk and the incident, only a few weeks before election day, cemented that image with the populace, allowing Pawlenty to eke out a victory.

So T-Paw's popularity is not so deep to begin with it. Couple that with what I'll call "The Molnau Effect," and putting him on the ticket guarantees McCain loses MN. Carol Molnau is Pawlenty's Lt. Governor and would become governor were he to resign to become VP. After being elected in 2002, Pawlenty asked Molnau to double as Transportation Comissioner in his administration. The MN legislature took the extraordinary step of removing her from that office earlier this year due to her gross incompetence. Not only did her department fail to sound the alarm on bridge safety prior to the I-35W bridge collapse, she refused to admit her department had done anything at all wrong following all those deaths. She has also presided over multiple highway and bridge construction projects that have gone over budget and lasted years longer than planned due directly to her bad decision making.

75% of Minnesotans disapprove of her performance. Once they are told that a vote for a McCain/Pawlenty ticket is a vote to make Molnau governor, even the moderates who might think McCain would make a better president than Obama, will vote for their own self-interest to protect themselves from having Molnau in charge of state government.

Posted by: Andy George | June 21, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Christ himself couldn't deliver Minnesota for the GOP this November.

Posted by: Bud0 | June 21, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Pawlenty an "Eagle Scout" on ethics? NOT. He was fined like $600,000 in his first guber campaign for violating finance laws.

Posted by: Rob Levine | June 21, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about posts I'm seeing in all of these blogs that overconfidently claim the Dems will win in a "tidal-wave" and bring in huge majorities in Senate and House. Never forget the need for 60 votes in the Senate--enough votes to start or stop a fillibuster. Obama could come into office with a strong majority in the House, 56-57 votes in the Senate, and he could still be stymied. Mitch McConnell and his merry minions could hold everything up. They'll play for time until the "backlash" of 2010.

In fact, that's what Pawlenty has been able to do in Minnesota, and may be one of his claims on the VP spot. With a Republican minority in the Minnesota State House and Senate, Pawlenty has successfully stymied many Democratic party plans in Minnesota--extending health care to more Minnesotans, improving roads, increasing aid to education. Minnesota Republicans love him. He has mastered obstructionist governance--with a smiling face. Many Minnesotans are bamboozled into thinking Pawlenty is a "nice guy," when he's really a real roadblock to progress. Also, the fact that he got his education, from grade school to law degree, in public education institutions, and now, wants to cut education aid at all levels shows remarkable ingratitude.

Dems have to get real serious about surrounding Obama with an impregnable coalition that can really change things.

Posted by: Minnesota_guy | June 21, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

As a Minnesotan, I realize too well Pawlenty's shortcomings. He's a lawyer and well spoken. He'll come across as a neighbor you'd like to have, but as a governor he's terrible. He'll change his views to suit the current political winds (was pro-gay rights as a legislator, then changed his tune when he wanted the support of evangelicals for political advancement), and he has adamantly stuck with his no-new-taxes mantra despite all reason. Even after the 35W bridge collapse (due to mismanagement and lack of funding of the state transportation department), and after several other major bridges were shut down in the state, he refused a minimal gas tax increase to fund long overdue repair projects. The quality of life in Minnesota has been steadily getting worse and our rankings in numerous studies have been constantly dropping. Tim Pawlenty is a political lapdog, not a leader. He has no vision. McCain and the nation would be poorly served by selecting Pawlenty as VP.

Posted by: Rick - Minnesota | June 21, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

No real American cares a whole lot who McCains VP will be as long as it's not the racist white and America--hating Barack Obama's. Barack Obama's 20 year history of supporting the Louis Farrakhan doctrine of racial hatred, anti-white and anti-America agenda speak for themselves. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for racial intollerance, racial hatred of all white people in America, and a hatred of our country--the greatest most generous country on the planet that has ever existed.

Posted by: madhatter | June 21, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

How about doing a piece on Peter King from NY
If he was the VP it would put NY in play and NJ.

VJ Machiavelli
http://www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.com
ps Is Obama the Neville Chamberlain of our time ?

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | June 21, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

CC also forgot to mention another bland, boring white guy won't excite anybody running against an African American. T-Paw doesn't really excite evangelicals, tax cutters, or pro-business folks either. Furthermore, it's not really clear he has the experience or political heft for the presidency. He'd be a bland choice, and right now McCain needs a bold choice to win. Palin or Jindal would be exciting. Huckabee would shore up the evangelicals. even Romney would at least exude managerial competence and pro-business. T-Paw brings nothing.

Posted by: freeDom | June 21, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

MEMO TO OBAMA: THE DEM CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP IS SELLING OUT THE CONSTITUTION:
WILL YOU?

The pathetic capitulation of the spineless Dem leadership on constitutional issues -- from warantless surveillance to the refusal to conduct hearings on other possible constitutional rights abuses -- begs the question: Et tu, Barack Obama?

The headlines rightly focus on telco immunity from lawsuits challenging government surveillance programs. But there are other constitutional rights issues that endanger our democracy, such as:

* The impact of electronic voting machines and the lack of a paper trail on the integrity of elections; and

* Possible Administration aid and support for KKK-style vigilante groups known as "GANG STALKERS" or "COMMUNITY STALKERS."

Read the following link and sublinks:

http://www.usenet-replayer.com/faq/alt.abuse.recovery.html

While the media focus on the horse race, democracy is being threatened by suspect election apparatus and grassroots quasi-military vigilante squads.

Where is the national media on stories about our threatened democracy?

Yes, Chris, this has much to do with politics. Because the politics of fear and vigilantism is destroying our democratic freedoms at the grassroots, while the pundits play the "Who Won the Week" game.

Where are today's Woodwards and Bernsteins?

Posted by: scrivener | June 21, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Have you seen this web ad? After viewing this ad, I have decided this Governor (Palin) should be McCain's VP. Sorry Pawlenty.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXfiOSCfY44

Posted by: Lauren | June 21, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

There is no one out here who can excite the party like Huckabee. McCain is not going to win without doing something to get the south excited. Conservatives will just simply stay home and so far, that looks like where we're headed. Obama is courting the evangelicals in the south and is making a pretty good case. McCain has not given any indication he wants to reach out to the base. He is spending more time pandering to Hillary spporters than reaching out to his own party. Hillary supporters are just angry right now, but they will vote democrat if they were picking Hillary on issues. While McCain is wasting his time chasing them he is losing his very base which he can't win without.

Posted by: Kay | June 21, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Have you seen this web ad? After seeing this video, I have decided this Governor should be McCain's VP. Sorry T-Paw.

Posted by: Lauren | June 21, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Recent Survey USA election polls showed Huckabee polls better with McCain than with Romney, Pawlenty or Lieberman. He even beat Romney in his own state of MA. True, Washington insiders don't like Huckabee (another HUGE plus to picking him). We have said all year that Washington is broken and the last thing we want is someone who has their blessings. McCain needs to have some guts and take Huck, the people's choice!!

Posted by: Linda | June 21, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I have changed my mind about wanting Huckabee on McCain's ticket. I dont like the direction McCain is taking and dont want Huckabee tainted for his next run. I hope Romney gets picked. His money will finally have bought him a ticket to nowhere!

Posted by: anonymous | June 21, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

... how about the fact that, in his two statewide contests, he won 44.4% and 46.7% of the vote (2002 election, 2006 re-election respectively)? Hardly a ringing endorsement, and if he can't win a majority of the voters in his own state, how helpful will he be in any other contest?

Posted by: alex | June 21, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

As a staunch conservative, it is possible that McCain, in his stupidity, could pick Pawlenty. A virtual unknown that will get eaten aline. Romney would be a great VP, but McCain is intimidated by him. President Bush was smart enough to pick Cheney. A great man to assist the president. McCain has too much of an ego for this type of thought process. Mavricks can be that way. Its all about them.


Posted by: Rip | June 20, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Whoever claimed that Pawlenty is at the top of the list? Certainly not McCain and co. The only Pawlenty ever had going for him was his loyalty to McCain, and that just doesn't cut it.

Romney is the one at the top of the list, and for mnay good reasons. Notice the polls are always about a McCain/Romney ticket. What about all the other VP candidates? No one cares. There are no polls about them.

The MSM/DNC are still afraid of Romney.

Posted by: Martha | June 20, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

BLANCHE LINCOLN for VP

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

BLANCHE LINCOLN for Obama's VP!

She's this year's dark-horse candidate for the job.

What say you CC?

Posted by: MBW | June 20, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

No mention of the failed bridge? Pawlenty has plenty of credit for that one...

Posted by: Spectator | June 20, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Vin Weber is the most corrupt republican lobbyist in Washington today. His advise on anything is absurd.

How often he visits his district in MN? Answer is very little.

This guy is worst than Senator Breaux from LA.

We do not trust them in Middle America.

Posted by: "Vin Weber" - Another Jerk From MN | June 20, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Minnesota a swing state? Please, Minnesota has voted liberal in EVERY presidential election since its birth. It even voted for Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive Bull Moose party, not to mention the fact that in 1984 Minnesota was the ONLY state to vote for Walter Mondale. Besides, Tim Pawlenty is a screw up of Bush-like proportions, He almost makes you long for the days of Jesse Ventura.

Posted by: MN history buff | June 20, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who McCain picks. The Republicans are going to be washed out of Washington in a tidal wave of biblical proportion. They've screwed things up so badly, McCain is a sacrificial lamb no one cares about. Who's going to donate money to his campaign? Good money after bad.

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 20, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Christine Todd Whitman for McCain's VP with would help win NJ and women.

Posted by: yobbs | June 20, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Many of us up here would welcome the selection of Timmy as VP. With the GOP convention here in August and a stellar organizing community--what better way to celebrate the anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge falling down?

There are years of soundbites of his No New Taxes blather on talk radio, refusal after refusal to play any sort of ball or come up with a plan, his red veto pen in hand...and, have you met HIS choice for second in command.

Oh please, give Minnesota's masses this vehicle to express their feelings about property taxes in the wake of Tim's guvmint. This will be a truly bipartisan effort.

Posted by: J. Rae | June 20, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

No doubt about it, T-paw is a good politician. He's liked by many and plays up the one or two moderate things he's done - successfully overshadowing his right-wing tendencies. He even got people to ignore the fact that he was paid $4,500 a month, while a candidate and by a regulated entity, without being able to say what he was paid for just 6 months later. I just don't like him. He made me miss the days when Jesse The Body Venture was governor.

Posted by: temporary gopher | June 20, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The State of MN wins either way if McCain picks Tim.

1) Obama wins, that's just good for all of us

but

2) If McCain wins and takes Pawlenty, Minnesota will be rid of this bum of a governor.

Posted by: MrSota | June 20, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty was also head of an orginization that promoted government subsidies of Bio-fuels. That was all well and good 6 months ago, but currently that is not a horse I would want my wagon hitched to. Many speculate the push to Bio-fuels has led to the steep increase in price to staple foods through-out the world. There are deadly riots in 3rd world countries over the prices of rice. Have you noticed all those nice environmental commercials touting a companies switch to Bio-Fuels, or that they are Bio-Fuel friendly have dropped off the air. Bio-Fuels are a toxic subject right now, and having one of the main proponents of this idea as a V.P. candidate seems risky at best.

Posted by: Joel | June 20, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"Looks like Pawlenty might provide the sort of feverish support previously generated by William E. Miller."
-FlownOver 3:06P

All else is superfluous. Tee-shirt for FlownOver?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | June 20, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I am supporting Obama, but I want to see the best DEM team Vs. the best REP team...

I just like a good debate: Issue vs. Issue
team vs. team etc.

For McCain(i dont like the man) Tim Pawlenty might be good for him....it would even out his card

Posted by: Oregon4Obama | June 20, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Much more than usual the VP in Mcain's case has to inspire confidence that they could succeed if McCain cannot live out his term. By that measure, I dont see how this guy measures up, there is no time to introduce them to the country and therefore would create uncertainty among voters. I think in the end McCain will try to mollify the conservatives who are already sitting on their hands when it comes to campaign contributions

Posted by: nclwtk | June 20, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

How about Sarah Palin?

Posted by: Formans49 | June 20, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Imagine the Democrats' commercial: the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapses while McCain's voiceover talks about wasteful pork-barrel spending.

Posted by: DavidK1 | June 20, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

You want another negative for Pawlenty? Well, I don't have pawlenty of them (sorry), but I do have one. How about the fact that Pawlenty has no empathy toward the most tragic of subprime mortgage crisis victims. He just vetoed one of the most limited and restrained pieces of homeowner rescue legislation you could possibly find across the state houses. This bill would offer only very limited help to an even more limited number of people who had taken out a negative amortization mortgage from a non-bank lender and had undergone a rate reset. The bill would have merely deferred foreclosure for a single year for this limited range of predatory mortgages, and only if the borrower could keep current on the amount of payment prior to the rate reset. You'd forgive Pawlenty if he reasoned that the bill was too weak-- didn't help enough victims or didn't offer enough help-- but that wasn't Gov. Tim's reason, no-sirree. He said that if the bill passed, it "could result" in higher interest rates for other Minnesotans taking out a home loan. Understand that the bill would have excluded all loans made by banks, thrifts, and credit unions. So just who was Gov. Tim talking about when he said it could result in higher mortgage rates? Surely not for most future borrowers-- their institutions would have been totally unaffected. It's just Gov. Tim trying to mimic President W because that's what's expected if you are going to be seriously considered vice-presidential timber for a Bush third ter...oops for a McCain first term. Obama staffers take note of this heartlessness.

Posted by: Joe Allan | June 20, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Minnesotans don't want Tim Pawlenty to be VP because then we would be stuck with the promotion of Lt. Gov. Carol Malnau. She was in charge of the DOT before and during the bridge collapse and wasn't reconfirmed for her post by the MN Senate because she did such a horrible job.

Posted by: Minnesota Gal | June 20, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

And another thing, Chris...! ;-) You can't have an effective analysis of Pawlenty's leadership qualities without talking about the significance of the I35W bridge that collapsed here in August 2007. In order to remain true to his no-new-taxes pledge, Pawlenty vetoed a comprehensive transportation bill earlier that year that would have significantly increased funding for bridge replacement and road construction. Many here see that decision by Pawlenty as embracing a Bush-like system of skewed priorities that put political preservation and a loyalty to far-right principles over and above real people's lives. After the bridge collapsed, Pawlenty had to go back and undo that veto during the 2008 legislative session and pass a transportation spending bill that in typical Republican fashion, borrows the money from my children -- just so he could still claim No New Taxes.

Posted by: Minnesota Guy | June 20, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what Republican circles you've been in, but I think Romney is regarded much more likely to be the veep than Pawlenty.

Come on.

Posted by: www.JosephAntley.com | June 20, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow ... after reading these Pawlenty posts over the last few days, he seems like he is the best-qualified to be President, not just VP.

Since McShame is a sure loser, why don't you Repubs get wise, and start looking for Pawlenty's VP pick?

Since the GOP doesn't have the guts for that, why not pick as McSame's running mate someone else walking the tightrope in distancing himself from Dubya? Ladies and gents, I submit Scott McClellan.

That way, the dems would have their answer to "Sore/Loserman": McSame/McFelon.

Posted by: bondjedi | June 20, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

" Pawlenty said of his wife: "She loves football, she'll go to hockey games and, I jokingly say: Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me."

I won't vote for the guy, but that is CLASSIC!

Posted by: NM Moderate | June 20, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It startles me to see the words, "Pawlenty generally wins kudos for his handling of a massive budget shortfall..." in The Fix. Any Minnesotan will tell you that Pawlenty "corrected" the state's budget shortfall (created in the Ventura era, by the way) by canceling numerous budget items devoted to local governments -- forcing nearly every community in the state to pass sharp increases in their property taxes. Don't be fooled by this fiscal responsibility claim. It will all come out in the vetting process if Pawlenty is chosen. There was nothing magic about Pawlenty's budget making. He took everything away from communities, forced them to raise taxes at the local level, and now he wears the disingenuous banner of a No New Taxes Politician. On top of all this, Minnesotans can't articulate one thing Pawlenty has ever accomplished.

Posted by: Minnesota Guy | June 20, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I would add that Pawlenty has helped lose Republicans the state house, he has given the Democrats a veto-proof majority in the senate, he has helped Democrats gain a Congressional seat. He has reverse coattails. He's also very far to the right on social issues. He put a high priority on social issues in 2003 and 2004 and the GOP lost tons of ground in the state.

Posted by: Carl | June 20, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing really to say here. . .Who cares about this guy. . .As a staunch republcan, I'd rather chew on tin foil!

Posted by: Mark West | June 20, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor has the netroots buzz, but of course the MSM wont cover it. Cantor has a great family story, compelling conservative credentials and delivered VA for McCain in the primary (just ask Karl Rove!) Chris will you or someone please start writing about this guy!!

Posted by: Brad | June 20, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty for VP! Tim is an open virulent son of Mother Church, as McCain was schooled at her breast. Only true Catholics should be permitted in office in America...the New Roman Empire!

Posted by: Count Loyola | June 20, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I think that Pawlenty seems to milquetoast on the national stage to be acceptable. One thing I think that both candidates will seek to avoid is the idea of an "unaccountable VP", ala Cheney. I think that that has the potential to be the sleeper issue for VP Picks: the extent to which voters can subsequently hold them accountable for their time in an appointed office.

Posted by: William Smith | June 20, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

i think chris is mostly right, but i think he leaves something out.

first, i think he's exactly right about lack of name recognition. picking pawlenty doesn't grab headlines, and, i think more importantly, people don't have a narrative to attach to him, making him vulnerable to being defined by the DNC.

but i think chris left out geography. it seems like a lot of analysts (including the fix, at least according to the line from a month ago) don't see MN as one of the major swing states this year. pawlenty doesn't really offer any shoring up of support in a key geographical region like ohio or pennsylvania, colorado or virginia.

i think the case for romney is the strongest--there would be all sorts of talk on cable news..."how could he do this? what is he thinking? can this really work?" in the same way that there is/was that type of buzz with obama-clinton. romney gives him geographical advantage in the west (with mormons) and michigan (with the old timers who remember his dad).

Posted by: against the DLC | June 20, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I believe another potential calculation against the selection of Pawlenty is the problem it makes for hammering Obama on National Security credentials. If McCain wants to press that Obama lacks the necessary national security experieince, he'll have to explain positioning a No.2 that has as thin a resume.

Posted by: Paul | June 20, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

FlownOver:

I think you hit the nail on the head. The chattering class is falling all over themselves to promote Pawlenty as a VP pick, but to most of us, the response is either a big yawn or "yeah, right" (as seen in the comments section for "The Case for Tim Pawlenty").

Posted by: mnteng | June 20, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

After Katrina, McCain's going to pick the guy who vetoed bridge repair work just before a bridge collapse? Right.....

Posted by: mts | June 20, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Also Pawlenty only held onto his job by about 20,000 votes in 2006

Posted by: Frank | June 20, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think T-Paw's stock has taken a dramatic fall. Recent polling gives Obama a large lead in MN - pollster's composite shows a 10 point Obama victory - and without a political operation, Pawlenty cannont be counted on to overcome a lead that large.

With the polling as bad as it is for McCain lately, he needs someone who can put a state in play. I don't believe that VP nominees really help do that, but enough people do that McCain may be convinced. This increases the likelihood of Crist, I think.

Or, I think Sanford would help energize some GOP base voters. I just don't see Pawlenty having many positives right now for McCain.

Posted by: Alex | June 20, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

London Bridge is falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down, Guv'nor Pawlenty!

Posted by: Spectator2 | June 20, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow what a rush to comment! Looks like Pawlenty might provide the sort of feverish support previously generated by William E. Miller.

Posted by: FlownOver | June 20, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

One thing's for sure: There's no point trying to pacify the Club for Growth. Having actually governed anything disqualifies you with that crowd. See, for example: Huckabee, Mike.

Posted by: ed lahoa | June 20, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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