I began handicapping the GOP presidential field a few months ago based on my personal preference and the likelihood (in my view) that the candidate will run. I update it when a candidate does or says something that may change my perception of them.
I have mentioned before that I have been anticipating supporting Newt Gingrich in the next presidential campaign. He’s smart, he’s experienced, he’s conservative. I wouldn't have any qualms about supporting him and would be pleased to cast a vote for him.
But, even at this embryonic stage in a presidential campaign, there is a guy that is making waves and he may soon change my mind. It is Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Pawlenty has governed a liberal state quite successfully as a conservative. He’s smart, he knows the issues and talks about them plainly. And, having watched him twice on CSPAN, he’s got some charisma, a little more pep than Gingrich (and a lot more than Romney), and that’s important.
Here's a couple of thoughts on health care from an article in Politico:
“Medicaid is essentially bankrupt, Medicare is essentially bankrupt, why the heck would we give the federal government another entitlement program to manage?” asked Pawlenty.
“We had people, leaders in the Republican Party and conservative movement, saying we couldn’t talk about health care,” the Republican governor said. “Are you kidding me? There is no other pocket book issue that directly affects people as much as this.”
Smart, clear-eyed, plain-spoken. Keep your eye on Pawlenty.