PAWLENTY WANTS IT MORE
A couple of days ago, Jonathan Chait argued that Tim Pawlenty, of all people, is the man to beat for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. I don't agree with Chait's argument completely -- he accepts, at face value, George Will's assertion that there are only five plausible candidates: Mitt Romney, Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman, and Haley Barbour, whereas I think the nomination could be Mike Huckabee's if he runs, or maybe Sarah Palin's if she runs and breaks a sweat. Nevertheless, I agree that Huntsman is too compromised by his years in Obama's employ, Barbour too old-school, Daniels too defined by his call for a social-issues truce ... and I especially agree that Mitt's going to have a hell of a time living down his health care bill, his Mormonism (a serious liability with wingnut evangelicals), and his general phoniness.
So does that mean it's Pawlenty by default? Well, I think it might be Pawlenty because (a) he could be credible to the dwindling but still somewhat significant non-crazy wing of the GOP (the folks who voted for McCain in 2008) even as he's trying really hard to win over the crazies.
On the latter point, see for example, this, flagged, not surprisingly, by Jonathan Chait:
Likely GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is set to have dinner in New Hampshire this week with the sponsor of what's been dubbed the Granite State's "birther" bill.
... Pawlenty is scheduled to have dinner Thursday with Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC leader Jerry DeLemus and his wife, Susan DeLemus, a freshman New Hampshire state Representative.
Susan DeLemus is the lead sponsor of a House provision that would require presidential primary candidates to provide birth certificates....
Asked Wednesday afternoon specifically about the meeting with DeLemus, Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant responded: "The governor is meeting with lots of people while he's in New Hampshire, some public and some private. ... As for the bill, the governor hasn’t seen the legislation."
Chait nails it:
He's not for it, he's not against it. If pushed into a corner by a journalist, he'll probably say he personally believe Obama was born here and/or we should move on to others issues, and will resolutely refuse to condemn birthers.
But the dogs have heard the whistle.
By the way, Jerry DeLemus is not just a tea party guy, he's a member of the 9/12 Project -- a group linked to Glenn Beck. Mr. DeLemus is an Alan Keyes contributor, a Sharron Angle fan, a G. Gordon Liddy fan. Oh, and for good measure, he was the senior warden of a church that broke with the Episcopals when the Episcopals appointed a gay bishop:
Senior Warden Jerry Delemus says his parish no longer recognizes the authority of the Episcopal Church USA.
DELEMUS :19 They support the consecration of Robinson, which we don't. And when they take an unbiblical stance, not because of Gene as person, but because of unbiblical stance, we can't recognize them as having authority over us. Why we're here celebrating at Baptist church. thank god for Baptists....
Delemus' wife, Susan says she was glad to be free of what she called the Diocese's "wrong teaching".
SUSAN :25 some of the pastors that they put up on the pulpit for us during our bad time were absolutely blasphemous. How do you say that? You pick one part where it's wrong and the rest is right? I was confused and Satan is the father of confusion so we've been waiting and now it's time to bring people back to Jesus.
Pawlenty had the smarts to connect with these folks? Oh, yeah, he wants this nomination. He wants it bad. And he may be the guy who figures out just what he has to do to get it, giving both the crazy purists and the Establishment what they want.