Funny-sounding names for presidential hopefuls are not such a liability after Barack Obama’s success. Otherwise, I’d say “President Tim Pawlenty” has a weird ring to it. And “T-Paw,” as he is affectionately known by supporters, sounds even stranger. Expect a sea of foam rubber paws at the Republican nominating convention.
There is plenty of time for substance later on. For now, we’ll examine our first semi-official entrant based upon purely superficial standards that I promise to fairly apply to others as they “explore.”
Trail Mix Glitz Index
- Hair (Rating: 7)
The hint of a receding hair line costs him a point or two, but dumping the mullet head for a shorter crop was a savvy improvement. Healthy and plentiful hair seems to be a must for White House hopefuls. (We’ve had no bald presidents since Eisenhower, but he got a break for winning a world war).
- Height (Rating: 10)
An early task for inquiring journalists will be to confirm reports that Pawlenty is an inch taller than Obama. If so, watch out Democrats. The taller general election candidate almost always wins.
- Weight (Rating: 9)
The New York Times has called him “runner-thin,” but we’ll hold back a point until we see a shirtless beach photo. I don’t apply a tough standard here. Basically anyone who is height-and-weight proportionate is electable.
- Looks (Rating: 8)
By Washington standards, Pawlenty could go Hollywood. Perhaps his look is suburban bland, but he definitely won’t frighten the kids.
- Voice (Rating: 7)
Until his 1,000th rendition of the same stump speech we cannot know if he wears well, but for a relatively younger guy (50) his voice presents a pleasing avuncular sound, endearingly raspy with an genuinely empathetic tone. While the hint of a Midwestern twang is downright all-American, Pawlenty’s occasional reach for a Southern drawl demands a quick call to the phony police.
Final Score: 8.2
(In the zone. Measure the drapes, governor, just in case.)
Craig blogs daily for CQ ROLL CALL.