Cap was listening to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (shown below with Lord Stanley's chalice) on Hugh Hewitt's show the other day and happened to notice that he had his foreign policy "chops" down pretty good. Is he gearing up for a run in 2008?
Only time will tell, but the Republican Party is a wide open field as it stands right now. John McCain probably can't get the nomination, Cheney isn't going to run, and senators usually don't get elected due to baggage, to which John Kerry can attest. Guiliani may be too liberal on gun control and abortion to garner much support from the base. Who does that leave exactly?
Pawlenty is young, popular, and without any skeletons in the closet, that we know of. He is also without affiliation to "big" anything, except perhaps, as Cap pointed out, "big meat" being from South St. Paul (where most local meat is processed), or "big hockey."
Still, most think he's an outsider looking in at this point.
He excites the imagination of right-wing gatekeepers like Paul Weyrich, who called Pawlenty one of the top three or four Republican contenders for '08, and Grover Norquist, who placed him in the top dozen. But he has no national profile. As political consultant Bill Hillsman puts it, "If you really look at the landscape, it seems sort of ridiculous to be thinking this. I think the notion of him running in '08 is--it's not ludicrous, but it's heading toward ludicrous as opposed to heading toward reality. But at the same time, he's done a very good job of managing his image nationally among the circles that count. It's more of an insider's game, involving DC people."
Granted, he's a long shot, but who knows? The man has been underestimated before, and it's a role he thrives on. Perhaps the more pertinent question is: If not Pawlenty, who?