The GOP Race for Veep
I read yesterday that Mitt Romney at the moment likes Tim Pawlenty for vice president, mostly because of his blue collar roots and his conservative bona-fides.
After reading the article in the New York Times, it occurred to me that I’m a much smarter pick for Romney as vice president than Pawlenty, for I, too, have blue collar roots, and I, too, have recently eaten pierogis. The article cites both circumstances as reasons to put him in the ante-room to the White House.
He’s been high up on the Republican veep lists for a couple go-rounds, and was edged out by Sarah Palin in 2008, whom he says he admires. Of course, he made a short-lived run at the whole ball of wax himself last year, but the pundits wrote him off as terminally dull.
I watched a bit of former Governor Pawlenty in action on a Youtube video from March, and the pundits were quite right. He has a whiney voice, and his efforts at making a crowd laugh are pathetic. He didn’t get a reaction from the crowd until he mentioned the magic name of Ronald Reagan, our only senile president and a Republican diety. Check it out.
Strategically, which is how politicians and reporters like to think, I don’t see how someone like Pawlenty can help Romney. If you listen to what he says nowadays, he’s just another right-wing evangelical Christian who likes to make references to the holy book (though he’s not talking about Romney’s holy book.)
What good is that? No one’s going to vote for Pawlenty who won’t already be voting for Romney. Does anyone suppose these Bible thumpers, birthers and assorted domestic extremists are going to vote for Obama after their strenuous slander on the web? If their rants are unknown to you, type in “anti-Obama web sites” into your favorite search engine. If that’s too much work, take a look at this report on Media-ite.
Here’s where I come in.
On blue collar roots, I’m every bit as blue collar as Pawlenty. I was born in a blue-collar neighborhood in New York, and I grew up in a blue-collar town in New Jersey. My father was an upholsterer when I was born, but moved one small step up the socio-economic ladder to be a clerk in a store when I was young. Pawlenty’s father was a milk-truck driver — and as such was made obsolete by big retail markets. But both Pawlenty and I hardly stayed blue collar. We both went to our state universities — at a time when such riff-raff could afford them. He went on to law school and immediately joined the management side of things. I remained an hourly worker, but it was as a newspaper reporter, a decidedly white-collar job. Later in life, I surpassed Pawlenty in education when I got a PhD in computer science, but that’s another story.
There’s nothing really to say about pierogis. They’re good, and both Pawlenty and I come by it naturally. And after all, our forebearers were both from Poland, although from different parts of the village.
On the honesty front, I’m way ahead. I have never been a politician; I have never run for anything; I have never taken part in a political caucus or convention, although I don’t make a big deal out of it. If I were inclined to tout my outsider props, they would be true.
Pawlenty makes an awfully big deal about the evils of politics, but he’s spent his entire adult life in politics. He started college aiming at dental school, but he got involved in politics at the age of 20, went to law school and then was in the Minnesota legislature for years and years. His big claim to fame was a pair of very narrow victories to have eight years as governor of Minnesota. During his tenure, he supported spending taxpayers’ money on a commuter rail line (a good thing) and a baseball stadium (also a good thing). He was against raising taxes, but he raised sales taxes (a bad tax). And on the environment, he mandated the use of ethanol to fuel automobiles, but now he’s a vociferous denier that burning gasoline and oil is changing our climate (a position that doesn’t stand up).
I admit that I would be a more natural fit on the Obama ticket, but he’s already got somebody.
But what’s that old cliché? Politics make strange bedfellows.