It’s only a matter of time before 2012 rears its head and 1) features a possible Prop 8 repeal showdown; and 2) plays host to Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Hoping to give the president a run for the White House is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who today announced his presidential PAC, Freedom First. Guided by some of George W. Bush’s key GOP campaign operatives, Pawlenty’s candidacy is — no shock here — going to be bad for the gays.
Once upon a time (1993, to be exact), Pawlenty almost became a gay ally. He was among “11 House Republicans to vote for the Human Rights Amendment that outlawed discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation. It was the first legislation in the nation to offer protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” But nine short years later, while running for governor in 2002, he backtracked under political pressure, calling that vote one of his greatest regrets. After securing the governor’s mansion, Pawlenty continued down the anti-gay path: In 2004, he voiced supported for Bush’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and in 2006 he lent his face to the GOP’s anti-gay marriage effort. Most recently, Pawlenty lobbied against Minnesota’s Safe Schools for All Act, an anti-bullying measure that would have forced schools to add sexual orientation and gender identity to written harassment guidelines.
And now, he’s “quietly” putting together a solid Republican team of advisers and supporters in an ambitious attempt to reclaim 1600 Pennsylvania.
Pawlenty, under the radar of D.C.’s political community, has locked up some of the key operatives who engineered then-President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign — a significant feat for a little-known Midwestern politician.
The moves underscore, and will lend credence to, the emerging belief among many establishment Republicans that Pawlenty is becoming the sole viable alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential Republican primary rival. The Minnesota governor has even gone so far as to contact some of Romney’s former supporters.
Pawlenty, who previously has had little political infrastructure, is now being advised by a trio of GOP consultants with presidential experience: Terry Nelson, Sara Taylor and Phil Musser.
And in formally opening his political action committee, Freedom First, Thursday, Pawlenty will also announce two co-chairmen, William Strong, a Morgan Stanley vice chairman, and former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.), both of whom are heavyweight GOP figures, along with a list of prominent Minnesota donors.
But hey, maybe Pawlenty has more in common with us than we thought. Namely, in the bedroom, which he does not use to have sex with his wife.
Last year, he told a radio show that his wife refused to copulate: “I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish. I mean, she will take the lead and ask me to go out fishing, and joyfully comes here. She loves football, she’ll go to hockey games, and I jokingly say, ‘Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me I’d really have it made.’”
That was a joke, we hear. Not that it makes Pawlenty a gay. He just sleeps with a jock.