I kid, I kid. There’s nothing in here about Mitt or the giant health-care boulder shackled to his ankles, although this may be the last Pawlenty video this year of which that’s true. Instead, we get T-Paw polishing his blue-collar credentials to a high shine (itself a contrast with Romney) and smartly focusing on jobs, jobs, jobs. In fact, this sounds more like a general election ad than a primary one — with the notable exception of the line about America needing to “tackle entitlements.” When I flagged that on Twitter, Dave Weigel countered that even Obama paid lip service to entitlement reform in the State of the Union. Right, but in O’s case, given the leanings of his base, everyone knew it was lip service. His disgraceful budget proposal last month confirmed his unseriousness about the issue; lest you doubt it still, the latest reminder arrived just this morning. (Come to think of it, the most memorable part of the entitlements passage in the SOTU was The One’s list of Social Security reforms that he won’t consider.) Pawlenty won’t have the same luxury of hiding from this issue given how frantic grassroots conservatives are for leadership on long-term solvency, so his strategy may be to go straight at it. That’s high risk/high reward insofar as tough talk on entitlements will raise his profile considerably, albeit at the cost of making even some Republican primary voters nervous.
But who knows? Maybe Weigel’s right and T-Paw will wimp out too once the campaign gets rolling. Don’t want to make any sudden moves in the primary that’ll frighten seniors in the general.