It's a long way from Samaria (the shomrón to be precise) in Israel to Saint Paul, where Minnesota's Republican governor Tim Pawlenty hangs his hat, but for someone who lived for two decades in the "Saintly City", it ain't that far.
According to the Dude's Blog, Pawlenty, who has been rumored to be on John McCain's short list for vice president had canceled all appointments. This was reported at 14:15, 28 August, according to whatever timepiece WordPress uses. According to the Associated Press, in a a story by Liz Sidoti, found on America-Online, McCain had already decided on his choice by Thursday morning, and is due to announce it today – as I write this, it is 07:15, EDT – so it should be soon. And by coincidence, Pawlenty had canceled all his appointments for the day.
How much of a hint that is, I do not know, but John McCain is obviously using this as a means of deflecting attention from his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, and focusing it on himself.
According to one blogger who e-mailed me about this, Pawlenty is a weak debater who would get shredded by Joseph Biden in debates. As a Minnesota resident who was active in Democratic politics when I lived there, I can say that Pawlenty is an effective leader, but his sound bites can be distinctly uninspiring. In a presidential campaign, it is those sound bites that count, not real ability.
My own impression of what used to be known as the "Independent Republican" party in Minnesota is that when they weren't actually talking about politics, they were discussing what church they attended, a practice that dissuaded this writer from joining them, and which left many Jews in Minnesota, who sought something different from the increasingly left-tilting Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, very unhappy. When working as a fund raiser for the Independent Republicans in 1984, and using Rudy Boschwitz' name to squeeze money out of the party faithful, this dislike of the Republicans' churchy atmosphere came through loud and clear from Jewish Republicans (a bit of disclosure is needed here — Democrat that I was, it was the Republicans who were paying people to raise funds, not the Democrats, so I went where the money would come to pay the bills).
To put it simply, Pawlenty is a bad choice for McCain on first blush. He is less inspiring than McCain is, handles sound bites badly, and might get shredded in a debate. On the other hand, he has not been a bad governor, from all that I have heard, and unless he has been doing dirty deals in the State House, he provides an image of a clean politician – something that McCain could use. In addition, more importantly, if McCain keels over and dies, Pawlenty might be able to be a good president, having had six years experience at Minnesota's helm, often doing the dirty work that his predecessor Jesse Ventura could not be bothered to do.
In sum, a McCain-Pawlenty ticket will drive voters to vote for a third party – or not at all. It's just as well; apparently, Tim Pawlenty has taken himself out of the running. According to the AP, a plane from Alaska is on its way to Dayton, Ohio, possibly carrying the state's governor, Sarah Palin.