Home / The View from the Samarian Mountains: A Brief Word About Tim Pawlenty – He’s Not In The Race

The View from the Samarian Mountains: A Brief Word About Tim Pawlenty – He’s Not In The Race

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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.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • Clavos

    The blogs this morning are almost all saying it’s Palin.

    Hell of a good choice!

  • Clavos

    Here’s an ABC article published a few minutes ago, confirming it’s not Pawlenty.

  • Clavos

    CNBC confirms it’s Palin, but there’s no confirmation from the McCain camp yet.

  • Clavos


    According to Fox, Palin has been “confirmed” by a “McCain official,” but has not been officially confirmed by the campaign.

  • Clavos,

    The official announcement will be made after 18:30 IST, when most of us here will be in synagogue, or setting the table for Sabbath dinner. But the AP article I linked to in my piece above indicates that McCain people anonymously have said that “all indications point to Palin.”

    This race is going to be fun to watch – but I want Obama – for reasons I’ve explained many times.

    Shabbat Shalom,

  • I really like this choice!

    When Barry and the boys start giving her hell it will just piss off the Hillary supporters even more! Why they pickin’ on that woman like that?!??!

  • Clavos

    Good point, Andy.

    I like the choice as well. I’ve been saying for weeks that McCain should pick a woman, I’m VERY glad that he apparently has.

    I think he has vastly improved his chances (which already weren’t bad) to get elected.

  • Clavos

    Significantly, Palin is also known as a maverick.

  • If Fox News was actually listening (and they do not by any means always listen!), the McCain campaign has officially confirmed to them that it’s Palin (Sarah, not Michael).

    So one thing is now for sure: the 2008 election result will be a historical milestone. Come November 5th or possibly mid-December Florida behave yourself this time we’ll either have the first African-American president or the first female vice-president. Yippee!

  • Ruvy, we must have been ships passing in the Tundra. Your description of Minnesota politics back in the early 80s was right on. The one thing I can say about it was that Democrat Bruce Vento was one legislator that actually did something for his constituency.

    If this VP news is true, then I’m liking it.

  • Valerie Corbett

    For what it is worth from this side of the “pond”, I think McCain has indeed made an excellent choice.

    I was surprised Obama didn’t pick a woman, not necessarily “Hillbilly”, but in order to show just how progressive and accommodating he is to female voters (54 per cent of the population.)

    Mr. McCain has a big plus on his ticket.

    He may have made himself more electable by his choice of Vice President.

    From Belfast, N.Ireland, I wish you a peaceful Shabbat.

    Love to all


  • Ruvy

    Shavua Tov everybody! Have a good week!

    First, Joanne;

    My past participation in Minnesota politics gives me some appreciation for what kind of trash you have to deal with in Michigan. The UP is very similar to Minnesota in lots of ways. The makeup of the population there, the industries. When I lived in Minnesota, I always felt at home in the UP. Any bunch of folks who like lox can’t be all bad….


    Thank you for showing up here! It would be nice if some of my other buddies showed up as well. Do read Joanne Huspek’s fine articles on politics in Michigan. Just go to the link to her writer’s page. They’ll give you a perspective of politics in a state that is similar to Minnesota in some ways, though the auto industry there kind of distorts the similarities.

    One of these days I have to write an article on Minnesota politics. Minnesota has the possibility for a great deal of direct democracy in the way the party caucuses are organized, but unfortunately, too many of her citizens prefer to ignore the one real opportunity for them to get real power in the political system there.

    So, McCain showed some intelligence after all! It will be hard for Obama to beat Palin – and that is what the race really boils down to now.

    It’s a shame that McCain supports an Arab terror state here in Israel. If he didn’t, I could vote for him with a good conscience. But, he, like Obama, supports an Arab terror state here. So, better for us here in the shomrón to have a n anti-Israel candidate who stinks like one, than a lying glad-hander like McCain.

    For me, that is the bottom line.