Evidence aside, this line of argument also presents a tension with the rest of Pawlenty’s book. It’s clear that he doesn’t really like liberals (“the current administration and Democrat-controlled Congress have led us further down the liberal, socialist road than at any time in the history of this country,” he laments). But it’s also clear that he really does like Minnesotans (“Let me tell you about Minnesota strength, and Minnesota people, and Minnesota resolve, and Minnesota commitment and service,” he says). Explaining how this great, wise, strong, service-oriented, deeply patriotic state could’ve become so committed to the liberal-socialist agenda is, however, left as an exercise for the reader.I'll also, while I'm add it, direct everyone to a quite interesting analysis of recent newspaper and blogging coverage of the various 2012 candidates from Nate Silver. I'm not sure that calling the former "Beltway" really works, and I can think of a few other methodological questions, but it's better than no data at all, and interesting.
I agree with Klein (and, I think, Silver's data) that it's worth making an effort to spend more time on Pawlenty. I don't know that I agree with Jonathan Chait that Pawlenty is the clear frontrunner, but he's certainly a plausible winner in a field that I've said is down to about eight plausible winners, four or five of whom don't appear, at this point, all that likely to be candidates as of August this year. And whatever his other strengths and weaknesses, Tim Pawlenty definitely fulfills the Woody Allen requirement of showing up.