So notes Chris Cillizza:
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) may be leaving his current post at the end of this year but he’s hoping to take with him a passel of accomplishments to fuel his courtship of conservatives in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race.
Last week, with Minnesota facing a $3 billion budget deficit and the state Supreme Court striking down the unilateral cuts he tried to make, Pawlenty engaged in a chess match with the state’s Democratic-led legislature. He offered few concessions, held out long enough and wound up with an agreement that includes no tax increases and plenty of grist for a potential 2012 presidential campaign.
The situation left one longtime Democratic member of the state legislature saying the governor “learned that politically the more often he says ‘no’ to us, the more his political standing rises.”
Whether one likes Pawlenty or not, he has definitely become a formidable player in national politics.