Save the last dance for me

May 01, 2006 by barbara

By Barbara Miller

Oh, frabjous day! The first week of May. Time to commemorate spring, revolution and the pairing up of political odd fellows. Yes, once again, Karl Rove reigns supreme in the match-making biz. And this year, that crafty Beltway Yentl has his eye on our very own Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty.

Tim is slick, sleek and young as politicians go. He is the conservative's conservative. He's an earnest-sounding, articulate D.C. outsider," unless you count co-chairing Bush's Minnesota Campaign and having Rove raise funds for him insiderish.

Tim has Big Plans for himself. Four years ago, he was poised to run for the U.S. Senate. Rove said no. Chances are he offered Tim the possibility of an even juicier run somewhere down the road. Say, maybe, the vice presidency? In 2008? Now all Tim needs is someone to invite him to the dance.

It appears that Rove is looking to pair Tim with John McCain. He's going to have to work fast, though, because that pending indictment might mess with his matchmaking.

The McCain-Pawlenty alliance makes some sense, when you look at it pragmatically. Pawlenty needs McCain's big name for entr. But in the final analysis, that crusty recovering maverick probably needs Tim more than the other way around.

Here's how it works. Tim Pawlenty provides stability while McCain struggles to distance himself from -- ummm -- himself. McCain seems to be having a little identity problem. One day he's the familiar, cantankerous obstructionist. Next day, he's mewling and puking in Bush's arms and making nice with Jerry Falwell.

While McCain morphs from principled veteran to political opportunist, Tim is already waiting for him on The Far Side. The gov has been resolute in upholding the rigid right-wing agenda:
- Anti-taxes, check.
- Anti-choice, check.
- Anti-gay marriage, check.
- Bait-and-switch budgeting, social service gutting, education budget slashing, check, check, check.

They've already met. McCain and Tim traveled together to Iraq, where they discovered soldiers and civilians are still dying in large numbers. When they got back, McCain noted that the war seems to be losing favor with Americans. I'm guessing the Iraqis aren't crazy about it either.

When McCain came to Minnesota recently to fundraise for Tim, they both side-stepped pointed questions about their political aspirations together. But they did exchange winsome smiles and gooey sound bites. McCain cited Tim as America's bright, shining future. Tim countered that McCain is one of his personal heroes, along with Ronald Reagan and Bart Starr. For real.

So what comes next? Ah, the official courting dance. It's called "Printemps: Wherein We Check Each Other Out, Pretend That's Not What We're Doing, Preen like Peacocks, Study the Polls, Smile and Wink and Dance, Dance, Dance." It's a folk dance, actually, and the caller's script appears in the Republican playbook. Here's how it goes:

Two steps forward,
Two steps back.
Slide right, slide right, slide right.
Face your partner,
Give his arm a playful whack.
Slide right, slide right, slide right.
Oh, wait, your right's my left.
Stay put.
Make a half-360 spin.
Slide right, slide right, slide right.
We're back to where we've been.

Now that Turd Blossom has given the McCain/Pawlenty dance his stamp of approval, it's starting to smell like a done deal.

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