Saturday, July 21, 2007

AP: "Pawlenty takes another step on apparently upward path"

Brian Bakst over at the AP does a nice job capturing Governor Pawlenty's rise as the face and voice of today's GOP in this piece: (Click here for the entire story)

On Monday, Pawlenty takes over as chairman of the National Governors Association as the organization moves into its centennial year. And by next year, he'll strut his stuff before the Republican establishment when the party's nominating convention comes to town.

Just 46, Pawlenty says he'll stay put until his term ends in 2010, and he won't rule out a bid for a third term. And he denies he's positioning himself for higher office. (excerpt from AP Story)

Significantly, Governor Pawlenty comes through, even in print, as to part of the reason he is so well loved across the spectrum while remaining a visionary conservative voice.

"You could drive three minutes south of the Minnesota border and nobody would know or care who I am. And that's OK," Pawlenty said in an interview Thursday.

"I'm energetic but I'm not obsessed with what I'm going to do three years from now," he said. "I could very easily be running a nonprofit or fishing on Lake Vermilion or working somewhere internationally. I have no idea." (excerpt from AP Story)

In a youtube and blog era, when too many politicians seem superficial (to use a generous word), much of Governor Pawlenty's political and legislative success has resulted specifically because he is the antithesis of superficial.

As comfortable in hockey skates as he is in wingtips, Pawlenty often has trouble hiding boyish tendencies from his days growing up in the meatpacking town of South St. Paul. (excerpt from AP Story)
And perhaps most telling, is that in this an other recent articles, the worst his opponents seem to be able to say about him is that he is a nice guy who is too dogged in keeping taxes low. (seriously, at a time when MN job growth is high and Governor Pawlenty solved the most massive deficit in the country his first year, they criticize him for being too successful).

But Pawlenty does have his critics. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl L. Clark (D) said that while Pawlenty is “likeable and affable,” he also “digs his heels” in and refuses to compromise on certain issues, such as raising taxes. (from the Stateline piece)
For those of our readers outside of St. Cloud MN, Tarryl Clark is a freshman state senator, former 2nd in command for the State DFL, and the supposed face of today's DFL.

To paraphrase Senator Clark as she tried to tear down the governor, "he's too nice as he leads the charge for a vibrant MN economy by letting the private sector flourish. Damn you for being so nice and keeping a lid on taxes."

Check back as he prepares to announce his NGA agenda.

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