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McCain's V.P. Choice: Tim Pawlenty?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by A_3PO, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Apr 29, 2006
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    I don't know much about the guy. For the last week or so, several articles have said that he is the one McCain will choose. So I post this article to open up discussion. After all, there are TWO guys running for president and both have to choose a veep.

    Perhaps sishir or others may know Pawlenty well enough to educate the rest of us. This is a nice write-up. I chose this specific article for no particular reason.


    From The Sunday Times

    June 22, 2008

    Governor with ‘prole chic’ tipped as John McCain’s sidekick

    A young, obscure governor with blue-collar appeal is in line to be the Republican’s running mate

    Sarah Baxter in Washington

    Video: Tim Pawlenty — AFP Florida Summit speech | Interview

    ONE name has risen to the top of John McCain’s shortlist for vice-presidential running mate. Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, a trucker’s son and advocate of Republicanism for the masses, is the favourite to join his ticket, according to sources close to the McCain camp.

    They believe that Pawlenty, 47, has the youth, working-class credentials and executive experience to attract independent voters and disaffected Democrats who find Barack Obama, 46, the Democratic party nominee, too exotic and untested and McCain, 71, too old and too focused on national security.

    It is a case of “Tim Who?” outside his home state for now, but Pawlenty is the thinking man’s blue-collar conservative, a political moderate and environmentalist who possesses “proletarian chic”, according to The New Republic, a centre-left magazine.

    In a clue to his possible intentions, McCain said on a visit to Minnesota last week that Pawlenty “has a place in the future of this country as well as our Republican party”.

    Pawlenty has already pioneered the concept of “Sam’s Club conservatism”, named after the popular discount stores founded by Sam Walton of the giant Wal-Mart retail chain, which holds out the promise of good value, small government catering to working people.

    In an interview with The Sunday Times, Pawlenty said he was “honoured to have his name mentioned” as a possible vice-president, while adding that he was delighted with his “day job”. It is bad form to lobby openly for a place on the ticket - “I’m going to be very demure about it,” he said - but a combination of geography, temperament and ideology has lifted him to the top tier of candidates.

    “I believe the Republican brand needs refreshment,” he said. “Our principles haven’t changed but the country is changing in terms of demographics, culture and technology and we need to make sure the Republican messenger has a modern message.”

    It is no accident that the Republicans have picked Pawlenty’s state for their national convention in September. Minnesota, which narrowly voted Democrat in 2004, is one of many upper Midwestern swing states that they hope to carry.

    The governor, who will host the convention, could help McCain to win farming and industrial heartlands from Iowa to Ohio. Recent polls show Obama leading McCain in Minnesota by 50% to 41%.

    One confidant of the governor put his chance of being selected vice-president at 50-50; but some Republican insiders place them higher. Pawlenty has been co-chairman of McCain’s presidential campaign since its inception and stuck by the Arizona senator when his White House bid imploded last summer.

    For McCain, scarred by his imprisonment as a naval pilot in Vietnam, fidelity in adversity is highly prized. Pawlenty, an evangelical Christian who backed George W Bush in 2000, said his loyalty to McCain was never in doubt. “I endorsed him early because he has the character traits, values and ideas to be president, commander-in-chief and leader of the free world,” he said.

    Pawlenty is a firm believer in the heroic age of Republicanism, but his role models are presidents who brought their party into the modern era. “I consider myself a common sense, main-stream conservative in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln,” he said.

    In one off-colour moment last month, he joked that his wife Mary, a former judge, shared all his passions - except one. “I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish,” he told a local radio station. “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’.”

    However, Pawlenty has sound relations with the conservative wing of the Republican party without being a perfect fit. He admires Ronald Reagan more for his flexibility than his ideological certitude. “He had an independent, pragmatic streak and I believe I have some of those characteristics as well,” he said.

    McCain joked last week that the job of the vice-president was “to inquire daily as to the health of the president”. Pawlenty has little national security experience but fills the gaps in McCain’s domestic qualifications.

    “He would be a very good, safe choice,” said Todd Harris, a former spokesman for McCain. “He’s been an extremely effective governor and he’s able to articulate conservative principles in a way that is not scary to moderates and independents.”

    Pawlenty’s working-class background helps: “My father was a truck driver, my mother was a home maker, one brother worked in a grocery store, another in an oil refinery, my sister is a special education aide and my other sister has been a secretary for her whole career.”

    The young Pawlenty had bigger ambitions. His mother died of cancer when he was 16 and it was her wish that he should go to university. “She was very education-oriented and she was hoping somebody would go to college and Tim was her last hope - because it wasn’t going to happen with us,” said Rosie Atkinson, his sister.

    He dreamt of becoming a dentist so he could have a Buick Riviera car like one in his home town: “I went to college thinking it would be a wonderful career but I developed a strong interest in history and public service was a way of pursuing it.”

    He put himself through university and law school. “I worked my tail off,” he said. “I have kind of this attitude that if you are able-bodied and able-minded, you should get some fair shakes in life.”

    During his campaign for governor in 2001, Pawlenty coined the phrase “Sam’s Club conservatism”, urging conservatives to resist “the stereotype of the Republican party . . . that we’re all a bunch of wealthy snobs” and to appeal to members of “Sam’s Club, not just the country club”.

    The idea was taken up by conservative intellectuals in The Weekly Standard magazine, who argued that it could rescue a tired and discredited party “from the wreckage of Bush-style, big government conservatism”.

    “Sam’s Club is a metaphor for hard-working, middle-class people who want government to be effective and to deliver value,” Pawlenty said. He is nearly a quarter of a century younger than McCain, but cites the Republican nominee’s popularity in an MTV poll as proof that he can attract young voters.

    “He has boundless energy,” Pawlenty said. “I’ve travelled to Iraq with him and he has tremendous leadership skills and is a forward thinker. He has proposed the most daring, cutting-edge initiatives coming from the Republicans.”

    Obama will enjoy a huge financial advantage over the cash-strapped McCain, potentially outspending him by five to one. The Arizona senator, who is accepting public financing, will be able to spend $84m in the two months between the Republican convention and election day on November 4, while Obama will have up to $500m at his disposal by remaining outside the system.

    Pawlenty believes McCain has “many advantages” over Obama: If you look at the way Senator McCain has lived his life, it’s an incredible expression of commitment, duty, valour and patriotism. He’s forged compromises and achieved great accomplishments in a way that Senator Obama has only talked about.”

    If Pawlenty sounds star-struck, it is no bad thing for a running mate whose job is to make the presidential candidate look better than he is.
  2. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    It would be an interesting choice for McCain. He really needs a younger sidekick to help balance the age "issue," as the article mentions. This guy might fill the bill. And he obviously has a sense of humor! My wife would kill me if I made a comment on a radio program about her like that. :D

    Nice find, A_3PO.

    Impeach Bush.
  3. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Apr 29, 2006
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    Funny you would mention that. Another article on Pawlenty said he irked a few with that remark and it confirmed for some GOP folks that he isn't ready for the prime time spotlight of a presidential campaign.
  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

    Jul 24, 2007
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    Tim Pawlenty has had a couple of situations like that where his mouth gets the better of him. One time at at Minnesota Wild hockey game instead of saying "The puck drops now" to kick off the game he said "Drop the f*(king puck now!"

    Pawlenty as the article notes is very personable and as a campaigner he would provide a very good contrast to the McCain's old and occasionaly prickly demeanor. One thing I try to do every statewide election is to meet all of the candidates and Tim Pawlenty has been by far the most personable one I've met who really came off as being genuinely friendly.

    Pawlenty though will not help McCain carry MN and ironically he might have more appeal nationwide than he does here as his poll ratings while good aren't spectacular and he narrowly won his last election and that was mostly due to a last minute meltdown by his Democractic opponent and an Independence Party candidate (Jesse Ventura's party) who was a former Democrat. Their is as much anti-Pawlenty sentiment in MN as there is pro and the anti sentiment is fairly strong

    He also is far more ideological than the article would indicate and while he has championed some liberal issues, importation of drugs from Canada and environmental conservation, he has taken a very very hard line regarding taxes even proposing several times that municipalities shouldn't be allowed to raise property taxes. On a few, liberal / progressive, issues which he has previously stated he would support he has often abandoned when the legislation has come forward, commuter rail. Also as majority leader of the State House he frequently took on the roll of ideological stalwart.

    Another thing that has earned Pawlenty a lot of enmity and one that might cause McCain to not consider him is his appointment of his LT Gov. Carol Molnau as Transportation Commissioner. As a very harsh critic of MNDOT in the House Molnau was already an odd choice as Commissioner and is considered by most to have done a terrible job at it. The collapse of the I-35W bridge just confirmed what a lot of people thought of her tenure as commissioner and after saying he was going to stand by her Tim Pawlenty has since allowed her to be thrown under the bus by critics. While Molnau might not be known at all outside of MN the McCain campaign might not like the image of having the governor who presided over the collapse of a major highway bridge at his side and once the campaign gets going there will be a closer look by the national media into Pawlenty's tenure as governor.
  5. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Apr 29, 2006
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    The latest major article on Pawlenty. I think it's a done deal unless he blows it.


    The McCain Veepwatch, Vol. 4: Tim Pawlenty
    Monday, June 23, 2008 1:44 PM
    By Andrew Romano

    In which Stumper examines the Republican nominee's possible--and not-so-possible--vice-presidential picks. (Previous McCain installments: Bobby Jindal; Mitt Romney; Charlie Crist. Previous Obama installments: Ted Strickland; Jim Webb; Wes Clark; Hillary Clinton.)

    Name: Tim Pawlenty
    Age: 47
    Resume: Two-term Minnesota governor, former Minnesota state representative and state House majority leader.

    Source of Speculation: A flurry of reports claiming that Pawlenty has risen to the top of McCain's vice presidential short list. Last Thursday, U.S. News and World Report money and politics blogger James Pethokoukis wrote that the "flavor right now for Team McCain is the environment-loving, hockey-playing governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty," according to "a high-ranking McCain campaign official." At the same time, a close Pawlenty confidant told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that his pal "has better than a 50-50 chance because of his personal relationship with McCain," and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reported that "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." Can't get much more buzzy than that.

    Backstory: Despite the faddish feel of the current Pawlenty chatter, he's long been considered a top veep possibility for McCain. The Minnesota gov was one of the first high-profile pols to endorse McCain's second White House bid. He started lobbying his fellow governors as early as Dec. 2006. He signed on as national co-chair of the senator's exploratory committee in Jan. 2007. He assumed a parallel role on the campaign three months later. And he didn't let last summer's implosion scare him off. "He stuck with us through thin,” said senior McCain adviser Charlie Black in February. “He went anywhere we asked and did anything we asked him to do." As a result, the Star-Tribune began to ask "Pawlenty for Veep: Will He or Won't He?" as early as March 2007; a year later, no less a conservative authority than George Will was advocating on his behalf. ("Pawlenty is a center-right politician in a center-right country," he wrote.) Most importantly, both McCain and Pawlenty have signaled their interest in a possible partnership. Speaking to the Times of London last week, Pawlenty said he was “honored to have his name mentioned," while adding the de rigueur disclaimer he was delighted with his “day job”. “I’m going to be very demure about it,” he said. Meanwhile, McCain told a town hall crowd in Minneapolis Thursday that Pawlenty "has a place in the future of this country as well as our Republican party." In other words, there's a whole lot of flirting going on.

    Odds: Very strong. Contrary to the boosterish buzz, Pawlenty isn't a perfect candidate. According to Pethokoukis, internal McCain polls show that putting Pawlenty on the ticket would propel the senator to victory not only in Minnesota but also in neighboring Wisconsin, both of which went Democratic in the last two presidential elections by less than 3.5 percent. The reality? Not going to happen. Obama has held double-digit leads in both states since Iowa, and Pawlenty is neither popular not powerful enough to overturn them. He won reelection in 2006 by a mere two points, and his full-throated support did little to prevent McCain, by then the clear frontrunner, from losing by a whopping 19 points to Mitt Romney is Minnesota's Feb. 5 caucuses. The reason, as Cillizza has reported, is that "Pawlenty has an almost non-existent political operation either in the state or nationally."

    What's more, Pawlenty is a virtual unknown. His low profile will do little to rev up grass-roots GOP activists and party operatives--a key consideration for a campaign that's in desperate need of electricity. But it will open the door for "rough treatment from the national press corps as they sift through his record as governor." For McCain, that's double trouble. "In this environment you can't pick someone who hasn't already been publicly vetted," a Republican strategist told the Post. Pawlenty's past is not without grist. He's been involved in a few campaign-finance and corporate-crony-related scandals. He pissed off some fiscal conservatives by imposing a 75-percent tax on cigarettes. He's undermined his bipartisan brand by clashing with the state legislature. And he recently made waves with a risque crack about his wife. "She loves football, she'll go to hockey games," he told a local radio interviewer last month. "Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me." Not exactly the best way to woo former Hillary Clinton supporters.

    That said, Pawlenty is about as good as it gets for McCain. Think balance. He's youthful; McCain isn't. He has executive experience; McCain doesn't. And his blue-collar cred adds some "regular guy" ballast to McCain's rootless warrior image--not to mention a potentially useful link to middle-class voters, who have been trending Democratic in recent elections. A trucker's son raised in the working-class neighborhoods south of St. Paul, Pawlenty was the first in his family to graduate from college. As governor, he plays ice hockey whenever possible. On opening day of fishing season this spring, he snagged a 17" walleye. And he's completely comfortable visiting a roadside bar and putting a constituent in a headlock. Pawlenty's "proletarian chic," as the New Republic's Noam Scheiber calls it, would serve the stiffer McCain well, and help sell a message of populist Republicanism--for "Sam's Club not just the country club," in Pawlenty's trademarked catchphrase--perfectly calibrated for this dismal economic climate.

    Pawlenty is the rare Republican who could reassure supply-siders and social conservatives still skeptical of McCain without scaring off blue-state moderates. (After all, they've elected him twice.) As governor, he's cut taxes and spending, backed an anti-gay marriage amendment, signed a law requiring doctors to explain the risks and alternatives to abortion and maintained close ties to the evangelical community (his wife Mary attended an evangelical college and counts the president of the National Association of Evangelicals as a personal friend). At the same time, Pawlenty, who refuses to wear his religion on his sleeve, has branded himself as reformist/maverick in the McCain mold. He speaks out against global warming. He rails against oil and pharmaceutical companies. And he stresses the need for a new kind of conservatism. "I believe the Republican brand needs refreshment,” Pawlenty has said. “Our principles haven’t changed but the country is changing in terms of demographics, culture and technology and we need to make sure the Republican messenger has a modern message.” As the Times of London put it last week, he's "the thinking man’s blue-collar conservative, a political moderate and environmentalist." That's a tricky balance to strike--and it's exactly what McCain needs to win in November.

    Will McCain tap Pawlenty? We won't know until early August. But it's worth remembering that the senator places an unusual premium on loyalty and friendship--meaning that personal factors will probably influence his pick as much, if not more, than political calculations. This is where the Minnesotan may have the biggest edge on his competitors (namely, Mitt Romney). According to campaign insiders, Pawlenty and his prospective boss get along swimmingly, sharing a bawdy sense of humor and a strong mischievous streak. (The governor, for example, has been known to use his reception-room fireplace as a hockey goal.) In addition, Pawlenty stepped aside in 1998 to let a senior Republican run for governor, proving that he can shelve his own ambitions for the good of the party--a key part of being veep. In the end, choosing a running mate is as much an art as a science. But however you slice it, Pawlenty is well-positioned to score.
  6. bucket

    bucket Member

    Oct 9, 2007
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  7. Nice Rollin

    Nice Rollin Contributing Member

    Mar 30, 2006
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    Im glad it's not Bobby Jindal. That guy suffers from major inferiority complex

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