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Saturday, June 02, 2007

EHarmony Lawsuit

I agree with Michael here, pick your battles. That being said, I disagree with the characterization that this is the "gay lobby" doing this. This was an individual.

EHarmony also recently tried to get media outlets to stop running ads from a competitor that discussed EHarmony's discriminatory practices.

Minnesota Family Council Talks Dirty

These messages were left on my phone. They were sent in mass. How does Michele Bachmann feel about an organization that leaves mass automated messages that start with "anal sex and oral anal sex"?

Strib Has Story About Internal Complaints in the Republican Party Office

At least two staff members have left the Minnesota Republican Party since February after they complained that the party misused employee retirement money, improperly reported its finances and ignored and retaliated against staff who reported the problems.

The departures included former finance director and GOP stalwart Dwight Tostenson. He wrote in a Feb. 15 confidential memo that state GOP chairman Ron Carey fired him after he repeatedly pressed the chairman to address what he regarded as serious financial problems in the state GOP office.

"Since I started reporting these suspected violations, I have felt increasing harassment and other types of retaliation," Tostenson, the party's chief fundraiser, wrote in the memo to the party's executive committee.

Carey on Friday denied any retaliation and said any problems identified in the memo have been fixed.

"We've looked at all the issues that he raised, and where there was corrective action required, we took corrective action," Carey said. "Dwight and I came to a mutual, amicable agreement for our separation."

Tostenson's four-page memo detailed his longstanding complaints and efforts to get Carey to resolve them. In it, he urged the committee to direct Carey to conduct a full investigation and audit. The Star Tribune obtained a copy of the memo.

Carey said Friday that he has asked the committee for permission to commission an external audit.

The controversies arise as the party is gearing up for the 2008 election season, when it will play host to the 2008 Republican National Convention and attempt to reverse its setbacks of last November, when the GOP suffered heavy losses in legislative contests and a drubbing in a U.S. Senate race while narrowly reelecting Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Carey, who's running for reelection this week as party chairman, blamed the leak of Tostenson's memo on political enemies within the Republican Party who are out to get him on the eve of the Republican state central committee meeting.

But he didn't accuse Tostenson of having political motives for writing his memo.

Was it after this that the Republican Party of Minnesota advertised for a controller?

Republican Activist Eckernet Unloads on Bush and Coleman

I’m firmly convinced that if one of the GOP 2008 Presidential Candidates made his campaign slogan “President Bush Is A Disgrace”, he’d instantly capture a large plurality of the conservative base. Normally that would worry me, but after being insulted and spit upon by “my” parties leadership I barely care. I find myself strangely apathetic to 2008 Coleman race as well. When it comes down to it both Coleman and his eventual opponent seem intent on pushing this country off the cliff, the only difference being how hard the shove is.

I just can’t see the GOP, or indeed this country, surviving this amnesty bill. And if this amnesty bill fails, while the country may be saved, I’m convinced the damage has already been done to the GOP. Rifts have been created that I’m not entirely certain will easily heal. The base has so little faith and no confidence in it’s leadership. I’m not even sure new leadership would help that. While I’ll agree with Chief that a Sarkozy style candidate has more of a chance than anything else I’m not sure it’s anything but futile.

Pretty strong words. It goes without saying that Aplikowski is ranting about immigration also.

A commenter on Triple A's site points out:

# bmetzler Says:
June 1st, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Hopefully, if all the anti-amnesty supporters “abandon” the GOP, the party can build a “sane” base and work on making America better again. I’m sure that there plenty of moderates in the Democrat party who are more then ready to abandon that freak-show and join a sane party. Not sure what the “conservatives” will do, but they seem bent on self-destruction anyways, so they can go beat on themselves out of the way someplace.

The other alternative is that the “conservatives” manage to sink the whole ship before they self-destruct and we end up with a one-party country for decades to come. Oh, what the heck, I’m going to start practicing saying Senator Franken now anyways, I’m going to be saying enough of it sooner or later.

Others reacted:

# mattma Says:
June 2nd, 2007 at 10:30 am

The Republican Party has a problem; it is losing the conservative voters that once voted for it. That base includes voters in the Constitution party, fiscal conservative Libertarians, and conservative independent voters. It will lose elections both nationally and in Minnesota; until it rids itself of “go along to get along” Republicans.
# the Lady Logician Says:
June 2nd, 2007 at 10:48 am

Matt - what I am trying to get Brent to understand is that the go-along-to-get-along’s and thhe hard core conservatives NEED EACH OTHER!!!! Neither side can do it alone. We have to work together if we are going to win….


Joe Repya: I'm Running for Chair

I contacted Joe Repya to ask him whether his campaign was behind the phone calls promoting Joe Repya for Deputy Chair. Repya told me he was running for Chair, and would not accept the Deputy Chair position. He also said this was the first he had heard of these phone calls.

I've sent an email to Chairman Ron Carey requesting his comment about these phonecalls.


Who Paid for These Calls in Minnesota GOP Chairs Race?

The Drama Queen isn't covering the Minnesota GOP Chair's race in his blog, but he's a strong supporter of the incumbent, Ron Carey, and has said as much on his radio show, the Final Word. A couple commenters have posted about calls they received on his blog.

# gopgal Says:
June 1st, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Michael, I know you are following the chair’s race closely and I wanted to see if you know anything about a polling call that both my husband and I received earlier this evening.

A caller called and asked if I was supporting anyone for deputy chair, I indicated I was not. The caller then asked if I would be open to supporting Joe Repya for deputy chair. At this point my interest is peaked as I am very confused. The caller was very polite and seemed in no way to be in any way partisan.

I really wish that I had asked who payed for the call, but I was so surprised at the content. I did call a few other people in my bpou and a few others did receive the call. I would be interested to see how wide this is and if it may be to targeted delegates.
# CM67 Says:
June 1st, 2007 at 11:44 pm

I received a similar call this evening, as did two other delegates in my area. I have narrowed my choice for deputy chair to two candidates.

The caller was very polite, but they did press me on who I was supporting for deputy chair. When I said the names of who I was supporting at this time, the caller asked if I would consider supporting Joe Repya.

I didn’t ask who paid for the call.

Those delegates must be getting a fair amount of mail and phone calls.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mark Swanson Admits He Edited Olson's Wikipedia Page

(Cross-posted at the Dump Mark Olson Blog)

GOP 6 CD Chair Mark Swanson defends himself in the comments at MN Publius:

"What I changed is actually the unbiased truth and more accurate as required by the neutrality rules that are well established on Wikipedia."

Mark Swanson seems to be unaware that other folks have been caught trying to whitewash their favorite politician's Wikipedia page... for instance the staff of Norm Coleman in January of 2006 :

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, criticized the changes made by Coleman's staff. 

"It appears to be a major rewrite of the article to make it more favorable," Wales said. "If they're trying to edit in such a way to change the public record, that's a problem."

Olson goes on trial Monday, June 4th at the Sherburne County Government Center.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dan Bartlett - Another Rat Leaves the Sinking Ship

This just in:

Top Bush Aide Dan Bartlett Resigns
Filed at 9:43 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dan Bartlett, a key member of President George W. Bush's inner circle and an aide for him going back more than 13 years, announced on Friday he is resigning as White House counselor effective July 4.

In an interview, Bartlett, who turned 36 on Friday, said he had been pondering his departure for months and decided now is the best time to get a less demanding job so he can concentrate on helping raise three children all under the age of 4.

He is the most important White House insider to leave Bush's side since the resignation last November of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Bartlett started working for Bush in October 1993 in Bush's first race for Texas governor. He stayed with him through another gubernatorial campaign and two presidential elections.

"His contribution has been immeasurable. I value his judgment and I treasure his friendship," Bush said in a statement.

"I understand his decision to make his young family his first priority. His most important job is to be a loving husband and father of three young sons. We wish him all the best," he said.

Bartlett's pending departure will follow that of some other aides such as deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch and the National Security Council expert on Iraq and Afghanistan, Meghan O'Sullivan, who chose to leave rather than ride out the rest of the president's term, which ends in January 2009.

"It's been a hell of a ride," said Bartlett, who was at Bush's side on September 11, 2001, when al Qaeda attacks transformed Bush's presidency before his very eyes.

Bartlett said he was leaving for no other reason than to get a job in the private sector and concentrate more on his family. He has retained Washington lawyer Robert Barnett to help him in his search

After a tenure dominated by the Iraq war, and with Bush under pressure to change course, the rest of Bush's presidency could be difficult.

Asked if he had any regrets about his time in the White House, Bartlett demurred. "A lot of us will have time to look back and look at decisions. I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about that right now."

His wife, Allyson, had given him a nudge back when their third son was born four months ago by suggesting the baby be named "Exit Strategy."

"I figured after 13 years and a lot of experience under our belt, this was a time to turn a new chapter in my life," Bartlett said.

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said he would conduct a search for a replacement to Bartlett, who has had unrivaled access to the Oval Office.

"Whenever we lost a great player someone else steps up and performs exceptionally well," Bolten said. He predicted the successor to Bartlett would have a "similar but not identical role."

Bolten said he has been impressed by the caliber of people Bush has been able to attract to government service in his waning years in office, such as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and hoped to find similar talent for Bartlett's job.

He leaves without another job -

Maybe he developed some sort of conscience, or the constant projectile vomiting was wearing him out.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Connecting the Dots: Tom Heffelfinger, Rachel Paulose and Mary Kiffmeyer - Oh My!

Ken Avidor and Spot comment on Tom Hamburger's story.

I am the Very Modern Major General

Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith, Kevin Kline in Pirates of Penzance

Watch out Kevin Kline!

Unpleasantness in the Minnesota Party Chair Race

Residual Forces posts Joe Repya's latest communication in his run for chair. A commenter Sam, unloads on Joe Repya.

# Sam Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 8:37 am

I still hear silence from Joe on the key issue facing Republicans right now - The McCain Amnesty bill.

Is Joe silence because he is still the McCain chair in MN, just trying to do it as the MN GOP chair.

He is more than willing to call out other Republican’s for their failing, why not now.

If he can not stand up on this issue, how is he different.

As someone else pointed out, he is silent on McCain but very loud on criticizing the “rich”.

AAA was there to tells us Pawlenty was his man and now Joe - What do they both have in common -
They are the main McCain backers in MN.

So if you like McCain Republicanism then Joe is you man.

# Sam Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 10:05 am

Nope Mattma -

Joe is not a McCain Republican because he is silent.

He is a McCain man because he accepted the position to be a McCain chair in MN.

He then a short time later decided he would rather run for GOP Chair.

So Joe was McCain man but now says he will speak out against those evil RINOs.
It is easy to say that, but now he has a chance to one - show that he will really do it and two - show that he is not just running to make sure the party support his man.

Joe was/is a McCain man and has done nothing to show he is not still one.

That was the point. Not his silence but his actions.
He behaved one way (McCain chair),
says another thing now (True Conservative)
so now is a chance to show that his actions match his words.
# Andy Says:
May 23rd, 2007 at 11:10 am

(The following is from Joe Repya himself)


I think your posting is very partisan and a attempt to make something out of nothing. You and the current MNGOP Chair seem obsessed with painting me as a ardent McCain supporter. If that were really true, why I’m I not working for him now? The truth is, I was offered the position as the National Chairman for Veterans Outreach for McCain 2008 not State Chairman for McCain. I turned down the offer because of the despicable condition the Minnesota Party is in following a greatly mismanaged and poorly executed election in 2006. By the way, McCain 2008 offered to pay me much more money then what I’m willing to accept as MNGOP Chair by taking a 50% pay cut from the existing Chair’s $95,000+ compensation. I have also turned down similar high paying offers from other first tier Republican Presidential Candidates. These offers were presented because of the outstanding job I did for Veterans for Bush 2004. I chose instead to be a candidate for Chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. As such, I can not endorse any Presidential candidate until the NRC in St Paul picks one. And unlike my competition for Party Chair, I will not attack the qualifications or integrity of any of the Republican Presidential candidates.

As many Republicans, I’m very saddened by the Immigration Bill that is working through the US Senate. I’m against amnesty for illegals no matter where they came from. Three of my grandparents were immigrants who came to America at the start of the 1900’s legally. They assimilated into American culture, learned to speak our language, started families, and one owned a small business and served in the US Army prior to World War I. Their sons and daughters would become part of the “Greatest Generation” serving in World War II and building our nation after that War. There are better ways of dealing with the immigration problem then the McCain - Kennedy - Bush Bill. Most Conservatives agree that a tamper proof national ID card, enforcement of our laws, stiffer fines to companies who hire illegals and a real border security program is the only answer to this reoccurring problem. As for proof of my Conservative credentials, lets just say that I doubt that most moderates or liberals would serve the nation in three wars. Maybe it is because I have served in combat that I’m willing to cut a little slack to those who also have. Tell me Sam, where have you served again and what makes you the Minnesota authority on Conservative thinking? Now that is my position. You can accept my position or whine about it as you most likely will.

Joe Repya

Repya's words: "despicable condition the Minnesota Party is in following a greatly mismanaged and poorly executed election in 2006" are being used against him, in an email that recently went out to party activists from Rory Koch, 4th District Chair.

I received this interesting letter in my email today. Looks like someone sniffed out Joe “Reagan’s 11th Commandment” Repya for who he really is:

May 31, 2007

Dear Fellow Republican,

As the race for state party chairman begins to heat up, I feel compelled to urge a note of caution to the campaign of Joe Repya. Perhaps he and members of his campaign should remember our party’s history.

The year was 1966, and then candidate Ronald Reagan in a heated campaign for governor of California was coming under fire from his liberal Republican opponent. The California Republican Chairman Gaylord Parkinson realized it was crucial to prevent a repeat of the liberal Republican attacks on conservative Barry Goldwater. A mere two years before liberal Rockefeller Republicans branded the conservative Goldwater as an “extremist” who was unfit to hold office, harsh attacks that laid the foundation for Goldwater’s eventual defeat in the 1964 presidential election.

Chairman Parkinson therefore coined the term that is now known as Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Advice as pertinent in 2007 as it was 41 years ago.

I was reminded of this recently when I read a comment by Mr. Repya where he made the following statement:

“I turned down the offer because of the despicable condition the Minnesota Party is in following a greatly mismanaged and poorly executed election in 2006.” (emphasis mine) - Joe Repya, May 23, 2007

Whipping out my handy dictionary/thesaurus I looked up the word “despicable” and found the definition of the word:
“despicable [dispikÉ™bl] adjective contemptible, worthless and deserving to be despised”
Worthless, despised, contemptible? This is not the language ANY Republican should be using to describe a fellow Republican, and most certainly not the type of thing you would say about the entire Party.

Friends, you and I are the Republican Party, and our Party is not in a “despicable condition.”

The leaders of the Republican Party are not “despicable” The activists of the Republican Party are not “despicable”. And frankly I don’t believe anyone who wants to lead the Republican Party should call our party “despicable.”

Negativity, pessimism and these blatant violations of Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment do not represent the kind of vision and leadership our party needs. In fact, when Joe Repya announced his campaign for party chairman on April 11th I was pleased when he promised to abide by Reagan’s 11th Commandment:

“…you know my style, I don’t come out complaining about people. I believe strongly in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment ‘Thou shall not speak evil of a fellow Republican’”.

Sadly it seems Mr. Repya has chosen to break his promise to by abide by Reagan’s 11th Commandment when he called the Republican Party of Minnesota “despicable”.

We had a tough year in 2006, but our party, you and me, are in good shape and are ready to take on the challenges of getting our majority back. We are optimistic, we are engaged and enthusiastic, and we are ready to fight together in 2008 and beyond.

I am afraid we can expect more negativity, pessimism and mud from the Repya campaign. Mr. Repya’s most recent letter to delegates talked a lot about morals and ethics and I’m afraid he is foreshadowing his next attack on our party. I hope I am wrong, and that in the final few week of this campaign we can stay out of the mud.

I’d ask that you keep in mind what has already come out from this campaign, and please take with a grain of salt and a skeptical eye whatever is sent out or worse yet, whatever half-truths or falsehoods are pushed to our “friends” in the media. This would be an 11th hour desperate attempt to change the direction of the chairman’s race in the last week leading up to State Central.

Those who know me well know I’m an optimist and so I will try to remain confident Mr. Repya will do the right thing and retract these attacks on the party that we hold dear. President Ronald Reagan and Chairman Gaylord Parkinson would be proud.

I look forward to moving forward together with hope and optimism towards more great victories in the upcoming elections.

Your Republican friend,

Rory Koch
4th District Republican Chairman

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Amy Klobuchar Uses Matt Entenza to Raise Money

Democratic Underground posts an invitation to a Klobuchar Fundraiser:

Please join our host committee

Mark Addicks * Jeffrey & Julie Anderson * Jan & Ellen Breyer Peter Bachman & Janet Rice * Forrest Burke * Joel Conner
Fran Davis * Judson Dayton * Vanessa Dayton * Walter Duffy
Nazie Eftekahari * Barbara Foster * Myron Frans & Susan Segal
Lorna Gleason * Paula Goldberg * Michael & Barbara Goldner
Ted Grindal * Roger Hale * Elinor Hands * Dennis Hecker
Peter & Anne Heegaard * B. Todd Jones * Elliot & Eloise Kaplan
Sam & Sylvia Kaplan * Jim Jacobson & Andrea Kaufman
Audra Keller * Jay Kiedrowski * Mary Knoblauch
Peter Lancaster * James & Susan Lenfestey * Ross & Bridget Levin
David Lillehaug * Margaret Lucas * Colleen Short Lucke
Keith Lurie * Mark Margolis * Helen Metz & Perry Ketchum
Charles Oswald * Rick & Suzanne Pepin * Sally Pillsbury
David Potter & Darwin Lookingbill * Lois Quam & Matt Entenza
Katherine Flom & Malcolm Reid * Peter & Patricia Riley
John Sheehy * April Spas * Julie Steiner * David & Robin Sternberg
Ruth Usem * Winston & Maxine Wallin * Irving & Marjorie Weiser
Rolf Westgard * Charles & Julie Zelle * Phillip & Anne Zink
(Host Committee in Formation)

For a birthday celebration honoring United States Senator Amy Klobuchar

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
4:30 - 6:30pm
At Murray's
26 South 6th Street * Minneapolis, MN

Contribution Levels:
$2100 * $1000 * $500 * $250 * $150

Questions or to RSVP,
please call 651-714-2006

Paid for by Klobuchar for MN,
PO Box 4146
St. Paul, MN 55104

A commenter points out that Klobuchar is slumming it:

Why would anyone put Matt Entenza's name on a fund-raising solicitation?

That guy has all the allure of a slug--and half the principals. Nice to see he and his overpaid health-care executive wife are still trying to buy their way into the spheres of influence, even though Matt's sheen is a little, um, tarnished.

Pour Oh Pour the Pirate Sherry

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blue Man on Julianne Ortman/Rich Stanek Scam on the Hennepin County Taxpayers


Talking to others that utilize similar time recording software, employee's log in using their employee name and a password. They also confirm that they are punching in and out.

A State Senator that is voting on billions of dollars in budget items is not capable of punching in and out of the Hennepin County time card system?

Are you serious?

According to Sheriff Rich Stanek, she's the most qualified double dipper they could find.

Rosie ODonnell v Elizabeth Hasselbeck

This is the video the media's been going on about.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Drama Queen Misrepresents Larry Schumacher Column

UPDATED: Brodkorb takes issue with the term "misrepresents", but is ok with the word misleading to describe the post. See more below.

Brodkorb's quote:

"But Monday night shook me out of that complacency. The last two hours of debate on the floor of the House of Representatives made me nauseous and angry.

I don't know if House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Democrats' decision to run roughshod over the GOP minority to finish on time was within the rules, but I know it was wrong." Source: St. Cloud Times, May 27, 2007

Here is what Schumacher said with more context. He goes after both parties, though is stronger in criticizing the democrats. His full column (well worth reading) is available at the St Cloud Times.

But Monday night shook me out of that complacency. The last two hours of debate on the floor of the House of Representatives made me nauseous and angry.

I don't know if House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Democrats' decision to run roughshod over the GOP minority to finish on time was within the rules, but I know it was wrong.

House Republicans were stalling, running the clock out to force a special session. Many of them believed House Democrats would take the blame if the people's work didn't get done on time.

That was just as wrong. But Democrats' poor clock management over the last week gave Republicans that power. They didn't see until too late that they were never going to agree 100 percent with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and they waited until Monday to press ahead when they could've been finishing up over the weekend.

I'll give DFLers credit for finishing on time, especially because I've written before about the dangers of another special session or government shutdown.

The public's trust in government is very, very low, and another failure to complete the people's business on time would have hurt us all. I'm not sure House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, realizes that.

But Monday night's shameful displays make me just as uneasy. For all the cynics' desire to scapegoat our politicians for everything that's wrong today, I think Monday night says more about us than them.

When I think about the broadsides we level at our government — financial irresponsibility, abuse of power, juvenile behavior, corruption — I see the same things at work, at home, in the community, in myself.

Yet, when I remember to stop and look at this 101-year-old building, I still feel something like pride in my state and my neighbors.

So I'm going to resist numbing myself to what goes on here and give some unsolicited advice instead.

To lawmakers: Stop pretending this is a game and the only way to win is for the other side to lose. It's not.

To readers: Stop pretending that what goes on here is separate from or irrelevant to your life. It's not.

Brodkorb's commenters went after Keliher's weight, rather than substance:

# WildBlue Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 7:34 am


Why do you refer to the Speaker as Large Marge? That doesn’t seem very respectful. I don’t remember people saying Skinny Steve.
# Chet Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 9:40 am


Large Marge will get respect when she’s earned it. Her, in her stylish Hoigaard Brown Shirt (could be a Coleman tent, hard to see the tag), shut down opposition to bills she wanted passed. She didn’t allow discussion. She ignored pleas for rules to be followed. She ruled with the kind of iron fist only Stalin and his ilk could respect.

She’ll get respect when it is earned. As it stands, she ought to resign her position in embarrassment. But I know DFL’ers have no shame because abusing power for their own ends is part of how they operate.
# Chestnut Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 9:57 am

Large Marge, Two-Ton Tessie, Fatty-Fatty Two-By-Four, Plump Peggy, etc…

Is that enough respect for that dictatorial cow?

Nice, huh?

UPDATE: Commenters react -

Collapse comments

Minnesota Democrats Exposed said...

I didn't misrepresent anything. Schumacher wrote an unflattering section in his column about the House Democrats and I posted it.

He wrote exactly what claimed he wrote...I quoted him exactly. I provided two direct links to the story.

My sourcing was accurate and my writing was accurate.

I didn't misrepresent Schumacher's column. This is really weak - even by your standards.

9:41 PM

10:13 AM

Markh said...

Emmer and Olson ran down the clock big-time on May 21st.

Did the GOP want to force yet another special session?

Michael - your representation of the Schumacher column is on par with Hollywood press agents who will cherry pick certain words out of a scathing movie review, and use the carefully chosen words to make it sound like the critic loved the film.

10:24 AM

Avidor said...

Cherry picked without a doubt.

I think Mark H hits the nail on the head.

Tim Pawlenty's Irrelevant Buzz

From Monday's Star Tribune

Governor has D.C.'s attention
Pawlenty's legislative success turned heads on the national political scene.

By Patricia Lopez, Star Tribune

Last update: May 27, 2007 – 11:51 PM

Vin Weber, a Republican strategist and former Minnesota congressman, walked into a book party in Washington the other night primed to talk up his choice for president in 2008, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "But when I got there," Weber said with a laugh, "all anyone wanted to talk to me about was Tim Pawlenty."

In the aftermath of a legislative session that just ended with Pawlenty fending off a barrage of proposed tax increases, the Minnesota governor's national profile is rising, as is talk of him becoming a vice presidential candidate.

"He's a Republican who's saying no [on taxes] and making it stick," Weber said. "That he accomplished it against big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate enhances the credit he gets for that."

Even as Pawlenty insists he has no national ambitions and intends to finish his second term, he is a national cochairman of the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. He is also poised to become the next head of the National Governors Association, a spot that will give him key political connections and a pulpit on national issues. And he'll be hosting the Republican National Convention when it comes to the Twin Cities in 2008.

Discreetly, Pawlenty has stuffed his weekends full of appearances for McCain, parachuting into all the usual presidential hotspots: Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan.

With the legislative session at full tilt a few weeks ago, Pawlenty hauled himself halfway across the country to open a McCain campaign office in Manchester, N.H.

Just one flaw?

Pawlenty won reelection in November by just 1 percentage point, but his political fortunes apparently have improved since then. A new Survey USA poll puts his approval rating at 55 percent.

Pawlenty is "seen as young and vigorous, a successful executive in a purple state," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and a national political observer. "That makes him an attractive property."

But Sabato said Pawlenty has one big flaw that could dim his national stature. "He's a conservative Republican in a state that has not gone Republican in a presidential race in 35 years," he said. A perceived inability to deliver his home turf could limit Pawlenty's usefulness to a presidential candidate, Sabato said.

DFLers, meanwhile, see additional flaws. "I think [Pawlenty is] exactly the kind of Republican we want to see on the ticket," said Andy O'Leary, executive director of the Minnesota DFL. "He lost 39 legislative seats in his time as governor and has never won a majority of votes in the state.

"It's sad he put his national ambition above those of the state. Yes, he'll be able to say he didn't increase taxes, and that's a good talking point for the Republican Party dinner circuit. But independent voters will see it for what it is: stonewalling and standing in the way of progress."

With its 10 electoral votes, Minnesota is not a decisive prize in a presidential campaign. But as a swing state and GOP convention host, it's expected to be at the epicenter of the Midwest battleground.

"He pulls off the trifecta of geography, ideology and overall profile," said Jennifer Duffy, co-editor of the Cook Report, a longstanding Washington political report. "That he got through his legislative session without a tax increase is a big win for him nationally," she added. Republicans, she said, "are realizing they've strayed from their core values, balanced budgets being one of those. So anyone who held onto that is looking pretty good."

Duffy said Pawlenty also may have distinguished himself on an issue that is divisive, but that moves the conservative base -- immigration. He has staked out fairly strict views on immigration and vetoed a higher-education budget bill, in part because it contained provisions for the DFL Dream Act, which would have allowed illegal immigrants to enroll in college at in-state tuition rates.

In a recent New Hampshire blog interview on YouTube, Pawlenty touted to a national audience the same agenda he pushed through the legislative session: renewable energy, environmental improvements and accountability and innovation in education.

Pawlenty, who at 48 remains young enough to style himself as a Next Gen Republican, also noted that traditionalists have been a bit slow-footed on issues of interest to younger voters such as the environment and energy policy.

How that message is communicated also counts, said Pawlenty, who during his reelection campaign waged a Target-style television ad campaign with snappy music and a poppy-red backdrop.

Balanced off against McCain, the oldest Republican candidate in the field so far, Pawlenty projects the kind of fresh, vibrant energy that could make for an attractive ticket, Sabato said.

'Not a zealot'

Dan Hofrenning, a political science professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., said Pawlenty's persona as a social and fiscal conservative with personal charisma will keep him on the short list.

"The best Republicans manage to be socially conservative without alienating economic conservatives who are socially liberal. Pawlenty manages to do that," Hofrenning said. "He's also compromised enough on some conservative issues to show that he's serious, but not a zealot." Charlie Weaver, head of the Minnesota Business Partnership, Pawlenty's former chief of staff and a close friend, said he had his doubts about Pawlenty's strategy at the beginning of the legislative session, when he proposed a nearly 10 percent increase in spending.

"I thought he had set the floor too high," Weaver said. "I hate to say this, really hate it, but he was right and I was wrong. He proposed enough spending that he didn't look like a cheapskate.

"If I'm a presidential candidate," Weaver said, "looking around for an effective, young, articulate, conservative politician with national prominence, how do you not look at him?"

This is all well and good, except for the fact that any GOP presidential candidate is going to have a tough road in the 08 general election, especially if US troops are still in Iraq with the meter running at $1 billion a week. May 2007 has proven to be yet another particularly lethal month for US troops.