Tim Pawlenty is a Toby Keith Song

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 6 2011 5:42 PM

Tim Pawlenty is a Toby Keith Song

A great observation by Christian Heinze on Matt Lewis's interview with Tim Pawlenty.

T-Paw uses the following words/phrases in the interview:

"blue-collar" (2x), "fingernails dirty", "grit and stuff of real life", "truck driver", "meat-packing", "lunch-bucket", "kitchen table", "half a tank of gas", "Gordy Howe", "puked", "pro-beer", "pro-hockey", "scrapper", "fighter", "John Mellencamp", and "Springsteen."

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OK, this is sort of unfair, because Pawlenty said a bunch more stuff, and the instinct of the reporter is to scrap the wonk quote and add the analogy quote. Still: Pawlenty's challenge in 2012 is not to out-blue collar anyone. He could put on a tuxedo and blast Philip Glass music and still be rootsier than Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels. There is a danger of being defined as the candidate who offers nothing but folksiness. Lamar Alexander's recovered well from his 1996 bid, but for a while he was The Guy Who Wore Plaid.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.