Mr. Gov. goes to Miami

by Jake Grovum

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is in Miami for a national conference of Republican governors. Despite their tropical settings, Pawlenty and the rest of the congregation there seemed to be in a somber mood, according to the The New York Times. Following an election that saw a landslide (kind of) for Dems across the country, Pawlenty spun a yarn for his colleagues. Quoted from the Times: “Pawlenty said that he had been road-weary from the campaign trail when he looked at himself and complained about what he saw to his wife, Mary. “I said, ‘Mary, look at me,’ ” he said. “I mean, my hairline’s receding, these crow’s feet and wrinkles are multiplying on my face by the day, I’ve been on the road eating junk food, I’m getting flabby, these love handles are flopping over the side of my belt.” “I said, ‘Is there anything you can tell me that would give me some hope, some optimism, some encouragement?’ ” he said. “And she looked at me and she said, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.’ ” As his fellow governor’s laughed, he came to the moral of the story: “If we are going to successfully travel the road to improvement, as Republicans, we need to see clearly, and we need to speak to each other candidly about the state of our party.”” As if his consideration as possible running mate for John McCain wasn’t enough, Pawlenty seems to be carrying on his newfound role as prominent player on the Republicans’ national stage. Perhaps looking to solidify that role, he spoke about a stagnant party, quoted straight from The Times: ““We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the Northeast, we are losing our ability to compete in Great Lakes states, we cannot compete on the West Coast, we are increasingly in danger of competing in the mid-Atlantic states, and the Democrats are now winning some of the western states,” he said. “That is not a formula for being a majority governing party in this nation.” “And similarly,” he went on, “we cannot compete, and prevail, as a majority governing party if we have a significant deficit, as we do, with women, where we have a large deficit with Hispanics, where we have a large deficit with African-American voters, where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes and modest financial circumstances. Those are not factors that make up a formula for success going forward.” Mr. Pawlenty spoke of the two main lines of thought. “One perspective is, the Republicans lost their way,” he said. “There will be calls, and voices across the country for Republicans to return to traditional conservative approaches in almost all respects.” “A second viewpoint will be the country’s changing a lot,” he said. “The country is changing culturally, demographically, technologically, economically, and the like. And the Republican Party isn’t changing in a way that reflects those major, or macro changes across the country.” “And so there will be a call from these voices to quote unquote ‘modernize’ the party,” he said. “The good news is both are true, and both can be harmonized in my view,” he said. “We can be both conservative and we can be modern at the same time.”” Is this Pawlenty’s way of positioning for possible presidential for vice presidential bid in 2012? Time will tell.