The Weekly Standard‘s John McCormack has written a short profile of former Minnesota governor and 2012 GOP hopeful Tim Pawlenty. McCormack’s description of Pawlenty is starkly different from the political moderate image that Pawlenty picked up in 2008 when he was thought of as a potential vice presidential candidate. McCormack writes that Pawlenty may be “the most underestimated Republican presidential candidate,” suggesteding that he “could appeal to the Tea Party and the Republican establishment.”
What would endear Pawlenty to the Tea Partiers? McCormack mentions his 299 vetoes, which included a number of tax hike bills. The most important data point, though, is the Cato Institute’s fiscal report card that awarded Pawlenty a grade of “A” for lowering spending and taxing. The only other governors to receive that grade were Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — no moderate Republicans — as well as Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, now a senator.