Handicapping the veepstakes. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's name keeps surfacing as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney. I've met Gov. Pawlenty on a couple of occasions, and he's an affable enough guy. But conservative icon Richard Viguerie says Pawlenty "falls into the category of someone who has done a good job of pretending to be a conservative." When Pawlenty was first elected governor in 2002, Viguerie said he "talked a good conservative game" but supported a 75-cents-per-pack cigarette tax. Viguerie said the tax hike funded healthcare entitlement programs, and that Pawlenty's "progressive instincts" run strongly toward "nanny-state programs, mandated healthcare programs, and banning ads by pharmaceutical companies."
General quarters. While we're on the subject, I've been hearing for months that Gen. David Petraeus is on Romney's short list. Now Matt Drudge is saying it. I think he's still a long shot for the spot, but he solves at least one significant problem for Romney: the rap that he has no foreign policy experience. Of course, in 2010, Gen. Petraeus said, "I will not, ever, run for political office, I can assure you." That sounds pretty unequivocal to me, but you never know.
Democratic disarray. Last Thursday, Democrat Mark Clayton won his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, but Democrats aren't celebrating. The state party issued a statement that read: "Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November." Clayton has worked for Public Advocate of the United States, a group that calls itself "constructionist" regarding the U.S. Constitution. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Public Advocate of the United States a "hate group." But we should also note that the SPLC has the Family Research Council and the Traditional Values Coalition on that list, too. The real question is, how did he get the Democratic nomination? The answer is that he won it fair and square by getting nearly 50,000 votes statewide in a primary race mostly ignored in this deep-red state. I have nothing to say about Clayton, either positively or negatively. I don't know anything about him or his group, but I will say that this episode shows a Democratic Party undisciplined, disheartened, and in apparent disarray, at least in Tennessee. It will be interesting to see if this disarray in Tennessee is a precursor for the fall election.
Move over, Chick-fil-A. Jack Phillips doesn't have thousands of locations and millions of customers, but in his own way he has taken a stand that Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy might be proud of. Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., refused to provide a cake for a same-sex couple's "wedding" reception. One of the men, Dave Mullins, cursed at him, and they both stormed off in a huff. "I may or may not have flipped him off," Mullins told Denver Westword. The two gay men later organized a protest and a petition drive against the bakery. But then a funny thing happened: business for Phillips doubled, and he said positive feedback has outweighed negative feedback "100 to 1." But whether the feedback is positive or negative, Phillips told Fox News, "I'm not going to change my business because of a petition. I'm just going to do the best I can to honor Jesus Christ."