Tim, we hardly knew ye

I’m not sure how to interpret this.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has resigned as a national co-chairman of Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to lobby for Wall Street. He has also ruled out a run for governor or Senate in Minnesota in 2014.

The Financial Services Roundtable announced Thursday that Pawlenty will become its new president and chief executive officer on November 1. Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung told The Associated Press that Pawlenty ruled out the races as he prepared to take the job heading the Wall Street lobbying group.

“With this new position, Governor Pawlenty is taking off the table running for U.S. Senate or governor in 2014,” McClung said in an email. Pawlenty did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Pawlenty was an early entrant in the Republican presidential campaign, but he ended his bid last year after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses. He was also a finalist to be Romney’s vice presidential running mate.

I can think of four possibilities. In order of likelihood (least likely to most likely), they are as follows:

A) T-Paw believes Romney will win but won’t give him a plum job in his administration. This is hard for me to swallow. Pawlenty has been on board Team Mitt since he lost a straw poll to Michele Bachmann (remember her). And who can forget T-Paw’s the Iowa Straw Poll. And who can forget T-Paw’s refusal to confront Romney after his clever “Obamneycare” construction. Pawlenty had Mitt in his crosshairs over Romneycare and gave him a free pass without so much as a whimper. Mitt rewards loyalty (how else can we explain that incompetents like Andrea Saul and Eric Fehrnstrom still have jobs) and would certainly, in my opinion, have given T-Paw a prime job in his administration.

B) T-Paw was simply miffed at being “passed over” for the VP slot for the second time in as many elections. That can’t be good for the ego.

C) T-Paw, the self-described “Sam’s Club Republican” has had a change of heart, and decided that he’d rather join that “big triangle of greed” about which he once spoke rather than rail against it. Becoming a banking industry lobbyist offered him a symbolic and dramatic way to illustrate that change. Kind of like ripping the band aid off in one swift motion rather than slowly peeling it away.

D) Having seen the latest polling data and intrade trends — and the disarray inside the Romney camp — T-Paw has decided to flee the sinking ship while he could. He’s afraid that being associated with the Romney campaign will not be much of a resume enhancer … quite the opposite. (Think Steve Schmidt and the McCain campaign). The lobbying gig presented him with an irresistible life raft, so to speak, and T-Paw jumped into it head first.

Is there an option E that I missed? I’m open to possibilities.


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