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What About Me? What About Pawlenty? (No. 3 in a Series)

Al Hunt recently wrote a column on Tim Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations in 2012 for Bloomberg News. Of course, Hunt being blatantly liberal, you have to take all praise with a grain of salt because we’ve seen this movie before.

They aren’t saying anything aboot Tim Pawlenty that they haven’t said aboot John McCain before. McCain would be the ideal candidate who didn’t engage in ideological wars…that the media complete turned on the minute he received the Presidential nomination. Hopefully Pawlenty is learning from McCain’s mistake that these people are not his friend.

Anywho, some snippets from the interview…

He doesn’t excite Republican passions like Sarah Palin, or bring the intellectual range of Newt Gingrich, the down-home humor of Mike Huckabee or the resources of Mitt Romney. He also brings none of their baggage, has a consistently conservative record, presents his views in a less-confrontational and more measured way, and has succeeded in a Democratic state. Pawlenty “has respect from people on both sides of the aisle, and if he can win a primary, would have formidable appeal in a general election,” says Rick Davis, who managed John McCain’s presidential run last year. “There is no heir- apparent, which opens it up for people like Tim.”

He has built a reputation as a blue-collar conservative — his dad was a truck driver, and associates say he’s much more comfortable hunting or fishing with his pals than hobnobbing with the rich and powerful. He advocates a more modern, inclusive Republican Party — a “party of Sam’s Club, not just the country club” — that stresses lower taxes and entrepreneurial initiatives while eschewing divisive and exclusive politics and policies.

He brings an almost Jack Kemp-like fervor to cutting marginal tax rates; an important predicate for any presidential run may be how Pawlenty handles a recommendation from a task force he appointed that the state replace some corporate and individual taxes with consumption levies. Still, unlike a Palin or a Gingrich or other right-wing Republicans, Pawlenty doesn’t use social issues to bash opponents and is open to moderate reforms of immigration laws, which is anathema to many in the conservative movement. His focus is much more on the economy, energy, education and, especially now, health care.

It’s still to early to say one way or another, but Pawlenty is still in the mix until he tells us otherwise.

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