Posted at 12:29 PM on March 9, 2009
by Jeff Horwich
This weekend, John McLaughlin (leading his eponymous "Group") embarked on a segment called "Pawlenty 2012" in which he asked his guests to contemplate a Pawlenty run for president. He made the fairly arbitrary choice to name Pawlenty one of the top five contenders for the next Republican Presidential nomination.
Really? Well, consider the rest of his rather weak-looking list:
* Mitt Romney
* Sarah Palin
* Bobby Jindal
* Ron Paul
Maybe it says more about the limited vision of John McLaughlin than the Republican Party, but it's hard to imagine there won't be a stronger line-up in four years. For the sake of our democracy and a healthy two-party system, one certainly hopes so.
Pawlenty's chances inspired some heated disagreement on the panel. From the right, Buchanan gives him a 2% chance, saying the party will never go for someone so moderate (on policy) and bland (in presentation). From the left, Eleanor Clift puts it at 50-50, on the logic that Republicans are going to have to respond to the national tack to the left if they want to win.
I would add that even more than ideology, I'd imagine a strong impulse to modernize the image of the party beyond the stereotype that (supposed front-runner) Mitt Romney represents (i.e. white, older, blue-blooded, fabulously wealthy, moral conservatives). Pawlenty hits all these points except the first one.
Maybe Jindal will resurrect his reputation by laying low for a while. But Sarah Palin feels like damaged goods after Election '08. And Ron Paul's a statistically hopeless case.
Who else should be on that list?
For such a supposedly boring guy, the governor certainly got the McLaughlin Group panel worked up:
Credit to MNStories for finding (and Tweeting) this video.