In a recent interview published in Esquire, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, made it clear he doesn’t believe President Obama is a socialist, distancing himself from a key conservative talking point:
Esquire: Governor, members of your party have taken to calling the president a socialist with such regularity that the word has become a fixture in the discourse. Is Barack Obama a socialist?
Pawlenty: You know, I don’t think name-calling is helpful. I’ve done my share of that, so I’m not Pollyannaish about how the political process works. But as a general proposition, I think these are serious times, the country’s in significant danger, and I think we need people who are thoughtful. We’re gonna have sharp differences, but we need to debate those in a way that’s constructive and civil. I think President Obama is governing as a movement liberal. I don’t think that rises to the level of being a socialist.
With that statement, Tim Pawlenty may have just doomed his chances of being the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2012.