mccain-pawlenty-bush.jpg(Image inspired by the clever work of Sir John Tenniel, and of Tild at Tildology.com)

No matter how much he tries to pretend he’s Not Like Bush, the governor of the North Star State, Minnesota’s own Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty, just can’t stop showing how much he emulates Mister Twenty-Eight Percent: Razor-thin "mandate", wins by catering to bigots (this is a direct quote: "Now I know I may not be in some of your wildest dreams but I can tell you what your worst nightmare is," Pawlenty told delegates at the Republican party's state convention. "It's one of the big spendin', tax raisin', abortion promotin', gay marriage embracin', more-welfare-without-accountability lovin', school-reform resistin', illegal-immigration supportin' Democrats for governor who think Hillary Clinton should be president of the United States."), suddenly forced to deal with Democratic control of both legislative bodies after the public voted out a sizable number of Republicans last November, vetoing legislation favored by most of the public — you know, stuff like that.

But Bush will have to take a temporary back seat in Tim's affections — or maybe they'll just all pile into the back seat together — as another BFF of Bush's, John McCain, now has pride of place in Pawlenty's dreams of higher office.  He thinks McCain will be president, and that he, Smilin' Tim Pawlenty, will be McCain's vice president.  It's as simple as that, and it's got right-wing blogs like Real Clear Politics all atwitter.  Non-righty blogs have taken notice as well.

How much does Smilin' Tim like John McCain?  Enough to put Minnesota's future in grave risk just to burnish his credentials with the lizard brains GOP primary voters they both need to succeed in their quest for the McCain-Pawlenty ticket.  Those GOP primary voters sure love their tax cuts and sure hate seeing their tax money go to people with darker skins than theirs.  But then again, like pretty much all "modern" Republicans in Minnesota, Pawlenty doesn't take a breath without running it past arch-nutball David Strom and his (Rich) Taxpayers League:  Placating the greedy rich and the antigay white-flight megachurchers is a lot more important than shuttered schools and decaying roads and a tax burden shifted from the rich onto the poor and middle class in finest "great risk shift" fashion.

And it isn't as if Pawlenty hasn't pulled off similar stunts in the past.  Back when he was in the Minnesota House and running for governor, he rammed through huge tax cuts — then when in office as governor tried to pretend that it was spending, not his tax cuts, that had driven the state deep into debt

Charming guy, eh?  And he's now John McCain's snugglebunny.