Pawlenty: Mitt Romney’s health care speech failed to mollify critics. Newt Gingrich imploded. And as of Saturday night, Mitch Daniels is out. That means all eyes will be on Tim Pawlenty as he rolls out his campaign this week.
Daniels’ decision not to run comes at a perfect time for Pawlenty. Millions of conservatives across the country are now assessing their post-Daniels options and second look at Pawlenty has to be near the top of their list. Mere hours after Daniels announcement, Team T-Paw was tweeting out Stanley Kurtz’s National Review post from May 10: This is Your Pawlenty Wake-Up Call. Pawlenty appears to be sticking to a relatively simple Buckleyite message: he’s the most electable conservative in the race.
Pawlenty is on a whirlwind tour this week: Monday in Iowa, Tuesday in Florida, and Wednesday in DC. You can watch his pre-launch video here. It’s heavy on biography, but the last line is good: “Together we’ll change our country. And this time, it will be for the better.”
Conservatives are never going to fall in love with Pawlenty, but if he continues to execute well, many of them will learn to like him just fine.
Ryan: If House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan wanted a platform to make a 2012 splash following Daniels announcement, yesterday’s Meet the Press would have been a prime place to do it. MTP producers even ginned up some 2012 buzz online tweeting out a partial Ryan quote before the show aired: “You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road.”
But viewed in full context, Ryan’s explanation seemed much more like a firm no: “I’m not running for president. It’s not my plan. My plan is to be a good chairman of the House Budget Committee and fight for the fiscal sanity of this nation. … You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. I’m not talking about right now. And I want to focus on fixing the fiscal problems of this country.”
But for many, with Daniels, out Ryan is the next logical choice. FreedomWorks Dick Armey told CNN Sunday: “We have about 2 million activists across the country and, frankly, we are disappointed. Now, obviously, we have to start looking, and I was just saying this morning, maybe it’s time to start drafting Paul Ryan.”
Cain: On Fox News Sunday, Herman Cain proved he did not understand what the Palestinian ‘right of return’ was, and The Volokh Conspiracy‘s David Bernstein notes he doesn’t know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence either.
Israel: President Obama reiterated his belief that the 1967 borders should be the starting point for negotiations between Israel and Palestinians on Sunday at AIPAC. The Examiner’s Phil Klein reports: “The pro-Israel crowd was mostly quiet when he mentioned the 1967 borders, and there were even some scattered boos.”
House Majority Whip Eric Cantor, however, received thunderous applause when he said “resentment and hatred” toward Israel “is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians – it is not about the ’67 lines.”
Libya: The White House appears to be taking a dual track on Libya with regard to the War Powers Act. In a letter to Congress Friday, Obama both: 1) claimed that U.S. involvement in Libya was so “limited” that no Congressional approval was needed; and 2) voiced support for a resolution drafted by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., supporting continued military action in the country. Hard to see how this will appease critics of military involvement in Libya. Look for dissenting Senators to act this week.
NY-26: A new Siena College poll has Democrat Kathy Hochul leading Republican Jane Corwin by 4 points among likely voters. Hochul leads with 42%, with Corwin trailing at 38% and independent Jack Davis has 9%.