Announcement coming “very soon.” Geraghty notes that Pawlenty’s still scheduled to give a routine speech on Wednesday, but TNR noted over the weekend that he’s already pulled out of one event and his plans for this week are suddenly and suspiciously hazy. See this recent item from Marc Ambinder, too, passing along a rumor that McCain was planning to meet with his inner circle about VP yesterday. And then of course there’s that CNN item claiming an attendee at a fundraiser heard McCain say conservatives are “really going to like” Pawlenty. Put it all together and today’s scurrilous veep du jour meme seems a tad less scurrilous than usual.
Here’s a bullet-point argument, again from TNR, about why Pawlenty is a “slam dunk” pick. His working-class pedigree is all to the good, but between the lack of name recognition and the “boring old Republican white guy” effect, I’m underwhelmed. He doesn’t even have serious religious cred to reassure antsy evangelicals. Let’s hope the report’s wrong, although given the general savviness of McCain’s campaign these days, it probably isn’t.
Update (Ed): Well, I live in Pawlenty’s state and have met him on a couple of occasions, and this pick would not make me too glum at all. Pawlenty has a good center-right track record, especially on holding the line on taxes with a hostile Legislature. He demonstrated real leadership during the bridge collapse and its aftermath, keeping the gas-tax-increase advocates at bay and convincing the rest of the state to ignore them. He’s also pro-life, and a humble but telegenic man who will inject a little vigor into the campaign.
I like Sarah Palin, too, but she’s been governor a year in a state with three electoral votes and about as much chance of going Democrat as getting a sunburn at ANWR in December. Pawlenty has a strong base of personal and political support in Minnesota and the upper Midwest, and he could change the calculus in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He also helps defend the Midwest if Obama picks Sibelius, Gephardt, or Hagel.
Plus, Pawlenty never wavered in his support for McCain even when times got tough. McCain values that kind of loyalty. It’s not a bad quality to have on the ticket.
My only caveat on this would be the timing. If McCain was to pick Palin, it would make sense to announce that sooner rather than later. An announcement for Pawlenty could wait until the convention.