If last week’s tweet by Beth Myers is a guide, Tim Pawlenty is on Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice-presidential candidates. As I’ve often said, I think Pawlenty would be an excellent choice. Mark Kennedy agrees. Mark served three terms in the House of Representatives and has known and worked with Pawlenty for twenty years. Mark is now the Director and Professor of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. He wrote this endorsement of Pawlenty for Power Line’s readers:
As Mitt Romney makes his final choice for a running mate, a dozen variables could be evaluated. But only one matters: Picking someone who would be a good president. I have known Tim Pawlenty for twenty years, as he and I have served in multiple public roles, and I know he would make a great president.
Here are three reasons why.
1. His Personal Story. As the son of a truck driver and the first member of his family to graduate from college, Tim knows the importance of opportunity because he’s lived an American dream. It’s people like the Pawlentys in the swing states who will decide this election, and Tim speaks their language. Family, faith, and hard work are not talking points for him; they are in his blood.
2. His Record. Other governors have received more publicity, but who can match Tim’s conservative victories, especially in a liberal environment like Minnesota?
* Spending: He took a state budget that had increased by 20 percent per biennium for the last 40 years and forced spending growth down to an average of about 1 percent per year over eight years without raising taxes.
* Cost of Government: Tim held Minnesota state government employment flat and actually decreased AFSCME state employees. He refused to give in to the union for bus drivers’ unsustainable demands for benefits, endured a long strike, and saved taxpayers millions.
* Health: He implemented consumer-based health-care reform for state employees and brought down their annual premium increases to well below market rates.
* Education: He overcame teacher union opposition to pass nation-leading education reform to pay teachers for performance, not longevity.
* Family: He enacted bills and appointed judges to protect life, marriage, and the role of faith in our public square.
His hard work paid off. When he left office, the Minnesota unemployment rate was 30 percent less than the national average (“ridiculously low,” MSNBC said), proving that cutting government gives the private economy room to grow.
3. His Skills. Tim is persuader. In TV interviews, he is the best spokesperson we’ve got. He will not only make a strong case on the campaign trail, but he’ll be a passionate and effective advocate for conservative ideas within the new Romney administration. He will prove that the Republican Party is not just the party of the country club, but of Sam’s Club, too.
And he knows how to win. Tim spent eight years outsmarting the entrenched Minnesota democratic elites. A Minnesotan political commentator recently called him the “Muhammad Ali of budget-cutters.” He will be a potent force in the budget and policy battles that immediately follow the election.
As conservatives, we follow William Buckley’s rule: We want the most conservative ticket that can win. Tim will help Mitt Romney win and, after he does, he will make us proud by helping to turn America back to the principles that have made us great.