Sunday, June 08, 2008

Red Alert: T-Paw for Veep Danger Severe

When someone told me a while back that second-term Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, aka T-Paw, was on the short list to be McCain's running mate, I was incredulous. All of my issue with T-Paw aside (his asinine anti-tax stand, his insistence that a cigarette tax was a "fee," his suburban mega-church habit, etc.), I couldn't believe that it would make sense for an Arizona Republican to run with this milquetoast Minnesotan. Wouldn't you rather have someone people know? Wouldn't a Southerner be a smarter choice? Or even Mitt?

Back in 2001, Pawlenty got a personal call from Dick Cheney, asking him to please not run for senator. Former Democrat (he also used to be Jewish, too) Norm Coleman was the preferred candidate to run against Wellstone. So he ran for governor instead. And won. And then won again, to the bewilderment of Minnesota liberals.

The McCain/T-Paw rumors may have started in 2006, when the Arizona senator came to Minneapolis to help the governor raise re-election money. "I think he's the next generation of leadership in our Republican Party, and in America," McCain said. If that's true, then the conservative era really is over.

If McCain really wants to beat Obama, he has to distance himself from Bush and become the kind of Arizona Republican Berry Goldwater was. He'd have to do much better than T-Paw for that. He'd have to come up with a running mate more like a Bloomberg or a Schwarzenegger.

In response to a very puffy U.S. News list of "10 Things You Didn't Know About Tim Pawlenty," the City Pages came up with the following list:
Three Things We Do Know About Tim Pawlenty

1. His wife won't sleep with him.
2. He disagrees with McCain on the cause of the 35W bridge collapse.
3. He and Carol Molnau were the cause of the 35W bridge collapse.
The "wife won't sleep with him" bit is a little cheeky. He joked about it on WCCO radio, but it was obviously an attempt at humor.

As for the second and third items, McCain said "The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects." If you think T-Paw had anything to do with the collapse of 35W over the Mississippi last August, he'll accuse you of trying to smear him. Not raising taxes for 6 years? That's not why our infrastructure is failing.

[The meter is from the City Pages, which rates our danger level weekly.]

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