Pawlenty calls Palin a "force of nature"
Appearing on Nightline this evening, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made it pretty clear that he's running for president in 2012. He said he hasn't made "a final decision," but that would appear to be a mere formality.
Asked about Sarah Palin, a possible (if unlikely) Republican primary opponent, he praised her (as any GOP hopeful must, given her "influence") and said she's a "force of nature."
So is an earthquake, of course, and while Republicans generally still adore her, at least among the Tea Party base, she's very much a fault line within the GOP, and there's a good reason why many in the establishment, while being careful with their words, have already come out against her.
Pawlenty isn't an idiot. He surely knows she's toxic -- not just with the party establishment, but, as the polls show, more broadly with the American people. But of course he has to bow to her in the hope of ultimately securing her support.
The GOP is very much the Party of Palin, after all, as much as it is still the Party of Rush, and her force, no matter how toxic, will help shape its future, at least over the next couple of years, as her star shines.