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Political divide most likely to continue

Tim Pawlenty's departure last week from the crowded Republican presidential field is likely to soon be forgotten amidst the ongoing battles among the remaining candidates.

Yet before the former governor's run for the nomination is left too far in the rear view mirror, it is worth considering what it foretells.

In two terms as Minnesota's governor, Pawlenty earned a reputation as one of the new breed of ideologically motivated governors -- becoming one of the first to adopt a tough, no-new-taxes pledge and, more remarkably, stick to the pledge (except for the occasional tax-turned-into-a-fee).

In the middle of Pawlenty's second term, he seemed to be a standard-bearer for the Republican party. But by the time he left office, the national political landscape had shifted. Pawlenty's quiet, firm stance on traditional Republican issues no longer enough to attract national attention.

Although moderate, sensible Republicans remain in the race, it is clear that 2012's presidential contest is going to do nothing but deepen the political divide and inspire wild promises from all candidates. A situation not likely to be to the nation's benefit. -- Fergus Falls Daily Journal