All things considered, things are shaping up pretty well for Tim Pawlenty.
For more than a year, the former Minnesota governor has effectively been the Potential Republican Candidate Most Likely to Elicit a Shrug. While none of the party activists or politically-active Republican faithful had much bad to say about him, they weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of Pawlenty as their standard-bearer against President Obama.
Pawlenty's image is one of the nice guy down the street - the solid family man with the firm handshake who might sell you a very reasonable insurance policy. He tried, tentatively, to change that perception as he traveled the country laying the groundwork for his campaign, offering up more forceful and provocative rhetoric that seemed outside his comfort zone. But it didn't really take, and by the time Pawlenty appeared in Iowa to formally announce his presidential campaign Monday, he had settled on his campaign theme: I may not raise your blood pressure, but at least I won't lie to you.
"Fluffy promises of hope and change don't buy our groceries, make our mortgage payments, put gas in our cars, or pay for our children's clothes," he said, in an obvious shot at Mr. Obama. "So, in my campaign, I'm going to take a different approach. I am going to tell you the truth."