One of the reasons Tim Pawlenty has become something of the insider’s front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is that he enjoys an unusual amount of trust from the anti-abortion lobby, a powerful faction with veto powers over the ticket.
Sure, he’s got the standard-brand down-the-line “Pro-Life” issues positions, and as governor, has had the opportunity to sign plenty of legislation aimed at chipping away at abortion rights and harassing abortion providers and women seeking abortions. But all the putative candidates (unless you consider Rudy Giuliani a real candidate) have similar positions and records, with the only suspects being Mitch Daniels for his infamous recommendation of a “truce” on cultural issues (which has infuriated the Christian Right), and maybe Haley Barbour for once telling Republicans they needed to include pro-choice candidates in their ranks.
So why is Pawlenty considered so solid by these famously untrusting folk? There’s an fascinating hint in a National Review piece by LifeNews CEO Steven Ertelt, which, after summarizing T-Paw’s record and mentioning his appointment of a RTLer to the state Supreme Court, makes this point:
Pawlenty’s strength on judges also comes by way of his wife Mary, who is a former judge herself. Although pro-life voters appreciated the pro-life actions of presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush, their wives did not share their pro-life perspective. Mary Pawlenty, an evangelical who attended Bethel College, is a heartfelt pro-life advocate who combines a passion for the unborn with an acute political and legal mind.
So unlike Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush, T-Paw’s wife isn’t going to be whispering any feminist sedition into her husband’s ear, or suggesting that maybe women know best on reproductive issues.