The more Tim Pawlenty says no, the more attractive he becomes to elements of his party that keep toying with the notion of Midwestern veep on the ticket.
The latest admirer is Mallory Factor, one of the conservative elite who has been called the Ã¢â‚¬Å“George Soros of the right,Ã¢â‚¬Â for his high-level involvement in politics.
In the latest National Review, Factor lists PawlentyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s charms, calling him Ã¢â‚¬Å“an obvious choiceÃ¢â‚¬Â for the shortlist. His reasons? PawlentyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s oft-quoted Ã¢â‚¬Å“SamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ClubÃ¢â‚¬Â Republican philosophy, his focus on clean energy, his anti-tax tilt and his basic clean-cut quality.
Interestingly, Factor points to one potential problem area for Pawlenty: his veto of the transportation bill prior to the I-35W bridge collapse. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Though he did so for the best reasons _ he thought it was bloated with pork and he wanted the Legislature to try again _ he will nonetheless have to account for the decision,Ã¢â‚¬Â Factor said.
Factor seems to be particularly fond of the young-old dynamic, saying that PawlentyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“youthful demeanor and attractive family would make a nice contrast to an older presidential nominee, such as John McCain or Fred Thompson.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Thompson, who has children far younger than PawlentyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, may take exception to that.)
Recently relocated from his longtime bastion in New York to South Carolina, Factor seems to think Republicans needn’t waste time wooing the South. (If that base isn’t already secured, he said, not much else will matter). Rather, Republicans should focus on a potentially new locus of power: the tri-state super region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, which together offer 27 electoral votes. (Just for the record, Bush lost both Wisconsin and Minnesota last time and won Iowa by a hair.)
So why does Pawlenty keep popping up on the national agenda? HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a guy who says repeatedly that wants only to serve out his term. If only… he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t turn up so often in WSJ, NYT, CNBCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Power Lunch (on the same day the Factor piece came out).