Pawlenty Says That's Plenty
I haven’t had a chance yet this week to comment on the recent announcement by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty that he won’t seek reelection to a third four-year term as governor. This is probably a good call on his part, as twelve years strikes me as a bit too long for one person to serve as governor, especially if he or she has other higher political ambitions.
Indeed, the announcement touched off the inevitable speculation that Pawlenty, who is only 49 years-old, is positioning himself for a presidential run in 2012 and/or 2016. In the 2008 presidential election, he was an early supporter of John McCain, and someone who was considered a finalist for the vice presidential spot, right up until it went to Sarah Palin.
For all his conservative credentials and governing experience, however, the rap against Pawlenty has been that he’s too bland, and lacks the charisma necessary to anchor a national Republican ticket. As I wrote in a post last June, I had a similar reaction after getting my first close look at him on the Sunday morning chat shows.
But since then, Pawlenty has shown signs of growing into the role of potential party leader. As I noted in a post just two months ago, the governor seems to have a pretty good handle on what currently ails the Republican Party. And, while Pawlenty is by no means a moderate, his political demeanor at least suggests the possibility of a broader Republican coalition. So, while he might not excite the conservative base the way other potential candidates do, and that could be a significant obstacle for him, Pawlenty is nonetheless now positioned to be a key player in the next few presidential election cycles.

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