Thursday, June 04, 2009


I guess I should have seen it coming, and people told me it was conventional wisdom, that Governor Pawlenty would decide not to seek a third term. �I have only two personal thoughts about him to reflect on; speculation about Governor2010 can wait for another day.

Bloggers should probably give a nod to Governor Pawlenty for having held in 2005 a reception for new media. �Seems like ages ago, and nowadays blogger access is taken for granted. �I had three blogger conference call invites today alone. �But Pawlenty did this at a time where it was easy to dismiss bloggers, and not just from screedy columnists. �You could have seen it in the group there at the time: not so much awe but appreciation of being appreciated. �My sense was that he is a guy that respects hard work and passion, which is two of the three qualities that make a good blogger. �(The other is, you have to know how to write.) �Paid for out of his pocket, and more importantly the governor was generous with his time and thoughtfulness. �All questions were answered. �In case we didn't say thanks enough for that bit of validation in 2005, I hope this puts a small credit on my tab.

We had Governor Pawlenty on Final Word twice by my count, last in March last year. �We expected him at 3:30 and he came in early and sat down like a guy sitting at the lunch counter with people he knows in athletic clothes you'd expect anyone to wear while doing Saturday errands. �He starts the conversation right away. �We were told thirty minutes and he stays to 4. �Now any time we get someone of his stature -- look, he's the governor, we're two guys with a weekend radio show, this is HUGE for us! -- we always invite them to stay longer. �I fully expect him to say no, particularly since we already got an extra five minutes. �Pawlenty answers, "hang on, I'll see." �We go to the break, and he makes a call, then comes back and says he can stay. �Turns out he's between his daughters' volleyball game down the road. He called to see if their next match had started yet. �Family before us, and us before getting out of there and relaxing. � It's a side we don't see, didn't expect to see.

Both those memories form fundamentally my impression of the man.

Mitch has already written that Pawlenty isn't a movement conservative, and I'm not going to argue the point. �What Pawlenty represents to me, though, is the kind of person conservatives see Americans being: �quiet, unassuming, family-first, unafraid to disagree without being disagreeable, frugal, generous. �The guy, who didn't have to show up at all, shows up at Talk the Vote last October by surprise wearing a Coleman t-shirt. �When he's not the show, he gets out of the limelight (I hope he never runs for U.S. Senate, because he may lose that quality). �He does the Everyman thing really, really well. �He's�likable,�in a way few politicians pull off. �And likability takes you a long way these days. �