Tim Pawlenty is officially in the Governor’s race, surprising nearly nobody that’s been paying attention for the past few months.
Ideological conservatives are unimpressed, of course. Being an ideological conservative myself, I completely get it. Pawlenty wasn’t and isn’t a doctrinaire conservative. He’s the sort of pragmatic center-right small-c conservative that is a product of a career in the legislature, rather than as a doctrinemonger.
But remember – just four years before he was elected governor, the Minnesota Republican party had gotten Arne Carlson elected. Carlson may have been to the left of the liberal, Rudy Perpich, that he beat in his first bid for office on many bedrock Republican issues.
Is Pawlenty “conservative enough?” Of course not.
Is Minnesota going to elect a doctrinaire conservative? Highly doubtful (although I do hope for a Wisconsin-like miracle one of these days).
Indeed – is conservatism in and of itself a winning ideology, statewide, in Minnesota? I have my doubts.
I follow the Buckley doctrine – elect the most conservative Republican who can win.
I’m still open to being convinced.