My friend and RS colleague Erick Erickson has just put up a post noting that former Governor Tim Pawlenty has picked up a top-notch campaign manager in Nick Ayers. Erick rightly notes that this is a strong indicator that you have to take Pawlenty seriously as a Presidential candidate; Ayers was actively courted by everybody, and it's unlikely that he'd sign on with a campaign that couldn't win. What I'd like to do here, though, is use this opportunity to point out a video from last year that might help explain why this campaign should be taken as seriously as Erick now is.
Now, as everybody knows I'm generally for Pawlenty at this point*; and I've certainly thought that he was going to run since I interviewed him at CPAC '10. Pawlenty's been running a quiet campaign until quite recently, but it's definitely been a serious one; as witnessed by the below video from October of 2010.
Put aside for the moment the lack of explosions, iconic symbols of Americana, and action movie soundtrack that have characterized Tim Pawlenty's recent ads. What we have here is a politician who is really being quite nasty to the President, in a cheerful, understated, somewhat dry, and very Midwestern sort of way. Pawlenty wants to make sure that you understand that he's not aligned with President Obama (remember Charlie Crist?), doesn't agree with Obama - and that he's not particularly afraid of Obama, either. Which is refreshing, frankly.
Now, it is a truth that Pawlenty is not as... dramatic... as some of our other candidates, or potential candidates, or would-be candidates. It is also a truth that some on the Right primarily want a candidate that they can be enthusiastic about - and that some people will rear back angrily from the first half of that last sentence and mutter something along the lines of how they don't want a boring candidate. And that's fine.
No, really, that's fine. I'm not here to tell you how to vote; there are plenty of people who are trying to do that to you already...
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*This is as good a time as any to note something: one of the dumbest things that the Right did in the 2008 primaries was to operate under the assumption that tearing down Candidate X was the best way to get Candidate Y the nomination. As near as I can tell, this only ended up resulting in: tears; a lot of resentment and bitterness between various factions; and John McCain.
So let's not do that again, OK?