When talk turned to probable presidential contenders, no one last night seemed to give Tim Pawlenty much of a chance. Nonetheless, it appears that Pawlenty is moving to re-assemble many members of the McCain campaign as part of his preliminary efforts in preparing a bid. This makes sense, as Pawlenty was one of the true McCain loyalists during the last election. While many elected officials had either abandoned McCain early on or refused to back him until he was already the de facto nominee, Pawlenty was unusual in his consistent and public support. The story from The Hill had this passage that should remove any doubt about the kind of foreign policy thinking Pawlenty will be entertaining:
Among those interested in getting to know Pawlenty are Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Randy Scheunemann [bold mine-DL], two top policy advisers from the McCain presidential campaign who have joined the Minnesota governor’s host committee.
If you are interested in angry Russophobia and needless provocation of other major powers, Pawlenty might well be the candidate for you.
What might be more interesting is whether or not Republican activists and primary voters will recoil from a campaign filled with top McCain staffers. As a losing nominee unpopular with conservative activists, McCain would have much to offer Pawlenty in terms of prestige, so I wonder how much of a liability close association with McCain and his advisors could be. Add to that the instinctve revulsion many economic conservative activists seem to have for any candidate who expresses interest in addressing the concerns of working-class voters, and Pawlenty could have some significant difficulties.