If you're not sick of this sort of thing by now, Politico has the latest in Romney VP speculation. Today, the inside dope is that Tim Pawlenty is the guy at the top of the short list.
We're told that it's Pawlenty because his regular-guy background and style contrast nicely with Romney's patrician bearing; we're told that Pawlenty has been better on the stump campaigning for Romney than he was campaigning for himself; we're told his evangelicalism would help Romney with the base, though he doesn't talk about it in a way that alienates swing voters; and we're told that his wife and Ann Romney get along well.
But as you read the Politico story, you get the feeling that the real reason Pawlenty might be the one is that (unlike certain other short-listers) Pawlenty is really, really low-maintenance:
And what do top officials at Romney headquarters love about Pawlenty?In other words, Pawlenty doesn't expect Romney to do much of anything to help him out. That's what Romney finds most appealing about him.
"They respect people who are loyal and show up and work hard, and he has done both in spades," the former Pawlenty official said. "From the perspective of Boston, I think that really matters.... he's an articulate, effective, economical messenger for the campaign."
In contrast to some of their higher-maintenance surrogates, the plain-spoken Pawlenty travels with no entourage -- not even the "body guy" that even most House members travel with. Often, a Romney campaign volunteer meets him when his plane lands. But at an appearance for Romney in North Carolina recently, he rented his own car and drove himself to and from the airport. The local reporters were shocked when they followed him out to his car and watched him drive himself away.
When the campaign makes a request that he fly somewhere, according to a person familiar with the conversations, the former governor just says cheerfully: "Send me my ticket."
I suspect that Romney looks at the American people and judges us by the same criterion.