Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A state budget or a national one? Pawlenty and 2012

Director of the University of Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Larry Jacobs, says it's unlikely his state's governor will run for a third term, despite Pawlenty's recent hints that he will.

Jacobs reads Pawlenty's aggressive fundraising differently than we do. Both the amount and timing of his $ gathering seem more suited to a 2010 reelection bid than a 2012 national campaign.

But the Minnesota Independent has Jacobs bringing up another good bellwether:

Jacobs argues that Pawlenty’s recent behavior suggests a run for national political office is more likely in the cards than a third term. He’s struck by Pawlenty’s reluctance to lobby for passage of the stimulus package despite a looming $5 billion budget deficit, positioning himself as a hard-line fiscal conservative.

So here's what we can add to any discussion of Pawlenty's plans.

a. even power players from his own party (e.g.state Sen. Julianne Ortmon) have suggested Pawlenty's proposed tax cuts wouldn't do much good. that would seem to support Jacobs' point. Advantage 2012

b. pawlenty recently affirmed his practical support for the stimulus, even if he opposes it in theory. "We're not going to be bashful about getting our fair share". Advantage 2010

c. he recently attended a security conference in Munich, Germany, which had folks buzzing about national security cred. only problem is, he attended last year as the guest of Sen. McCain, and did so again this year. in other words, you'd have to argue he started running for Prez last year, when in fact, he was running for Veep. Advantge Neutral

d. two weeks ago, Pawlenty told KSTP that he is "doing everything to get ready to run in 2010, but i haven't made a final decision on that". Advantage 2010

e. his fundraising report for 2008 was more consistent for another gubernatorial run than for a lame duck governor. Advantage 2010

So you're free to connect the 2010 dots.