Newt Says Don't Be Tim-id
I caught an item earlier today reporting that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is encouraging Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. As the piece notes, Pawlenty appears to be putting some of the initial building blocks into place for just such an occasion. I have written several times before that I consider Pawlenty to be one of the few high-profile Republicans out there with the potential to put together a winning center-right coalition in a presidential election.
While some political observers cite a charisma gap for the governor, I think an equally important question for Pawlenty is whether he will be able to resist the inevitable pressure to pander to the right wing of the party during the primaries. Some of this behavior will be unavoidable if Pawlenty is to survive these contests, but too much of it could damage his potential appeal to moderates. From what I have seen of Pawlenty so far, slash-and-burn doesn’t seem to be his style. When he has tried a little red meat in recent speeches and media appearances, the rhetoric has sounded a bit forced. Perhaps that discomfort will serve as an internal pander regulator of sorts.
Any Gingrich story wouldn’t be complete, however, without a few words on a potential run by Newt himself in 2012. I have written previously on this subject, as well. You can add Gingrich to my growing list of frequently mentioned Republicans who will not be the nominee in 2012, for the reasons I discuss here. Still, even if Gingrich does not make a run for the nomination (and my guess is he won’t), you can bet that he will nonetheless insert himself right into the thick of the political discourse surrounding the party’s eventual choice.
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