Friday, July 25, 2008

Gov. Tim and the Veepstakes

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, but the big news here in Minnesota is that our Governor, Tim Pawlenty, may be John McCain's pick for VP. It's all part of McCain's "Pay Attention to Me while Obama's out doing Cool Stuff in other Countries!" strategy. And, boy, is it working! Um, right... But I think the real reason that McCain is staying in the US right now is that the countries he wants to visit don't actually exist anymore. His travel coordinator is having the toughest time finding out when Archduke Franz Ferdinand is available for a sit-down about the hard issues facing the Austro-Hungarian Empire! And I won't even talk about trying to reach the Holy Roman Empire, or Bohemia, or Gaul. (And I've heard that McCain is very worried about possible attacks from the Visigoths while he's in Rome.) I haven't even heard about Obama's position on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I think it's non-existent. (Much like said empire.) Okay, so John McCain is old and easily confused. He doesn't know how to use the Internets, so he can't just hop on The Google and check if, say, Czechoslovakia still exists or not. (Here's a hint-it doesn't!) And he's not really up on his geography, either. (Iraq does not border Pakistan. Sorry John!) Someone should really do him a favor and buy him a friggin' atlas from, oh, I don't know, maybe this century?

Anyway, back to Governor Tim. There's been lots of buzz about Governor Tim as McCain's running mate, and it's been going on for a while now. One of the local news stations had a very funny montage of Pawlenty at a news conference today saying about a dozen times that he's "no longer engaging in discussion or speculation" about the VP slot. Which just proves that obviously someone thinks he's VP material. Governor Tim has also been a national co-chair of McCain's campaign since January of 2007, at which point no one thought the Straight Talk Express had any gas left in the tank. So his loyalty may be rewarded. And Governor Tim would actually be a good choice for McCain. McCain needs pick someone younger, obviously. Of course, everybody is younger than John McCain, so that's not hard. Unless he picked Bob Dole. Which would make a great road movie. I can see the slogan now, "Grumpier Old Men 2008!"

Okay, so back to Governor Tim. Pawlenty is noticeably younger than McCain, which is good, although the flip side of that is that then McCain just looks, well, older. And there's not much you can do about that. Governor Tim has executive experience, he's from a totally different region, he's from a swing state that the GOP would love to win, and the state he governs just happens to be holding the GOP convention. And despite the fact that I disagree with Governor Tim on just about every policy issue, I can't help but like the guy a little bit. He seems very down to earth, and he really seems like a nice guy. (A nice Republican??? Isn't that an oxymoron?)

And Minnesota, despite it's reputation as a very liberal state, is actually kind of purplish. We have a very liberal Senator, Amy Klobuchar, and a very conservative Senator, Norm Coleman. We have narrowly elected Governor Tim to 2 terms, and we haven't elected a Democratic governor since 1986. So I think that the Republicans think that Minnesota could be up for grabs if Pawlenty is the VP. Minnesota has not voted for a Republican for President since Richard Nixon in 1972, but the 2000 and 2004 elections were fairly narrow Democratic victories.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. If Governor Tim is chosen, he'll break with the tradition of Minnesota producing only Democratic VP's-Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale. Hubert and Paul Wellstone are buried in the same cemetery, which is very fitting. Every day on my way to work I drive by their graves and think about what might have been. If Hubert would have beaten Nixon in 1968, this country would be a much different place. God, if any Democrat had won in 1968, Hubert, Gene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, the country would be a much different, and better, place.

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