Fox News news is up with a feature called "12 in 2012," a kind of working list made up of potential Republican challengers to President Barack Obama in the next general election.
The good news for Tim Pawlenty is that he made the list. The bad news is it sounds like Fox writer Chris Stirewalt has pegged him as a bit of a wimp, and somewhat irrelevant to the standard GOP southern strategy.[jump]
True, he's got the preferred suburban, born again Christian outlook. Yes, he's a budget hawk who gave Democrats fits in the Legislature. But:
A nice guy whose humility is praised far and wide in Republican circles, Pawlenty is also thought by many to lack killer instincts. Pawlenty would have to not only thrash his way into the Republican nomination but face down an Obama reelection effort that is already limbering up its big guns for an assault on the eventual GOP nominee.
In the GOP, the South matters most. Then, big states like Florida and California. Minnesota, which would be tough for the GOP to carry even with Pawlenty on the ticket, doesn't have a lot of clout inside the party.
The jabs at T-Paw were easy compared to the other two GOPers profiled so far by the fair and balanced cable channel. Stirewalt says Mitch Daniels' "short stature and thinning locks make him look more like an accountant than a commander in chief. Stand him next to President Obama on a debate stage and the juxtaposition could be jarring."
And then there's Haley Barbour, "whose public persona is that of a self-described "fat redneck."