That’s it, I’ve convinced myself. Not only to the point of certainty, but so much so that I’m convinced that my certainty is certainly justified: Tim Pawlenty is going to be John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
John McCain with future vice president Tim Pawlenty
Pawlenty is a conservative Evangelical Christian with a compelling “poor-boy-makes-good” story, legislative and executive experience, and a good reputation. He’s been elected as a conservative twice in a majority-liberal state, and he’s quick with an answer and (usually) clever with a quip. Pawlenty has been a personal friend of McCain for more than twenty years, he has been a loyal McCain supporter since the very beginning of McCain’s campaign (he was the co-chair of McCain’s exploratory committee) and he stuck with McCain even during the darkest hours of the campaign when his staff was abandoning him for Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
It seems that lately the chatter about potential Republican veep candidates has centered around the runner-up and second runner-up in the Republican contest, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. But neither man is likely to get the nod.
Despite frequent praise and compliments during the campaign, McCain isn’t going to name Mike Huckabee because Huckabee is scorned by the fiscal conservative establishment and the East Coast intellectual class.
And despite the demands of the fiscal conservative establishment, McCain isn’t going to name Mitt Romney because he already knows that Romney is a man without honor – and honor is important to McCain. Romney is a plastic man, a man without principles, who only turned conservative in his late fifties when he began to eye the White House. Besides, Romney wrote the book on how to waste millions of dollars while losing an election.
Pawlenty will be a darling of conservative Christians and he can pick up many of the Southern voters who would otherwise have voted for Huckabee. Pawlenty came from humble roots (unlike Romney) to put himself through college and law school (unlike Romney) and has legislative experience (unlike Romney). Like Romney, Pawlenty ran for governor in a liberal state and won, but he did it by campaigning as a conservative (unlike Romney).
It would be a great public relations gift for McCain to announce Pawlenty as his running mate at the national convention in St Paul – the capital of the state that Pawlenty has been governing since 2002; the networks would have a irresistible opportunity to fawn over a new name and a fresh face in an adoring environment.
If you happened to watch McCain on Jay Leno’s show on August 25, you saw him praise Pawlenty (when Leno asked specifically about Pawlenty) by calling him a great governor with whom he has ideals and principles in common.
Final clue that McCain plans to pick Pawlenty: Pawlenty has already been designated as a featured speaker on the final day of the Republican convention. Seriously, John McCain, this is no way to keep a secret!