Is Tim Pawlenty ready to be president?

The chatter about the possibility of Gov. Tim Pawlenty joining the ticket with Sen. John McCain has had a familiar undertone to it in Minnesota: the “one of us” syndrome. For example, the Celtics will win the NBA championship and it will be covered here as a local story because Kevin Garnett, raised in Chicago, working in Boston, living in California is “one of us” because he used to play basketball here. Diablo Cody, from Illinois, living in California, is a local story when she won an Oscar because she once worked for City Pages and stripped.

Same with Pawlenty. It’s a “Minnesota makes the bigtime” angle.

But now that people are starting to realize that John McCain can actually win the presidency of the United States, isn’t it time to start covering this story from another perspective?

Is Tim Pawlenty ready to be president of the United States?

The choice of a VP candidate has been trivialized to “how does it help the guy at the top of the ticket to get elected?” Pawlenty has some strengths there. But let’s keep in mind what the job of VP entails. It entails primarily being ready to step in if the president goes toes up.

Pawlenty has been working the national circuit for years. His stint as head of the National Governors Association gives him cover to burnish foreign policy credentials (such as his trip to Europe to attend an anti-terrorism conference), his focus on illegal immigration plays to his Republican base and even his veto the other day of a resolution on trade in Cuba provided an opportunity for him to weigh in on foreign policy, while ostensibly saying it’s none of the business of Minnesota politicians.

Politically, he may be ready to be a vice presidential candidate. Is he ready to be president?