The Financial Services Roundtable announced Thursday that Pawlenty will become its new president and chief executive officer on November 1. Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung told The Associated Press that Pawlenty ruled out the races as he prepared to take the job heading the Wall Street lobbying group.
"With this new position, Governor Pawlenty is taking off the table running for U.S. Senate or governor in 2014," McClung said in an email. Pawlenty did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
What the means for Minnesota is a subject we'll return to at another time. What it means right now is more interesting, I think. If you believe the breathless reportage we've seen in recent weeks about the Romney campaign, you might assume that Pawlenty's decision is an example of a rat fleeing a sinking ship. T-Paw, as you'll recall, is one of the chief honchos in the Romney campaign and has been one of its most visible surrogates for the better part of a year now. So if you assume that Barack Obama is going to win and that the Democrats are going to, at a minimum, retain the Senate, it's passing strange that T-Paw would be the guy the money men would pick as their public face.
Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post tries to suss the larger meaning out:
The downsides seem clearer than the upsides. If Romney wins, then Pawlenty, a close Romney friend who co-chaired the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign and was seriously considered for the veep slot, will have all the access he could want. But if Obama is reelected, Pawlenty isn’t likely to be the most appealing messenger to the Democrats’ administration.I actually take it as a sign that the big money boys aren't so sure that Obama is going to win. If they thought Obama was going to win, it would have made a lot more sense to hire someone like Jennifer Granholm, the Democrat who was governor of Michigan at the same time T-Paw was at the helm here. And let's be honest; Granholm is whole lot easier on the eyes than T-Paw:
But to put it in market lingo, the Financial Service Roundtable, observers say, is pricing that in. The past four years have made it clear that Democrats aren’t likely to sympathize with the Financial Services Roundtable, regardless of what happens on Election Day. But Congressional Republicans might.
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But that didn't happen, now did it? No matter what you think of Wall Street generally, and I don't think much of it, the people who run the various firms there aren't stupid. They understand the value of having the right people in Washington to represent their interests, especially since they operate in one of the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy.
Sending T-Paw as your messenger also sends a message about what they expect to see, and whom they expect to deal with, in Washington for the next few years.If you choose a public face that looks like Tim Pawlenty, there has to be a reason for it. Do you agree?