Michael Gerson likes him. Among Pawlenty’s appealing characteristics to Gerson:
* He agreed to increase the state cigarette tax.
* He proposed subsidies for alternative energy.
* “He does not view empathy as an ideological crime.”
The “empathy as an ideological crime” line is a dig on people who believe in limited government. This is the sort of thinking that may have cost the Republicans the 2008 election. The GOP lost their brand as the fiscally responsible party and independents fled in droves because of deficits and spending. The big government side of the GOP had free reign over the budget for a time, obviously to be dwarfed by the current administration. But make no mistake about it, big government Republicans lost a candidate over the weekend and are looking for a new one.