Heterosexual governor of Florida to marry a woman
Crist and Pawlenty, in case you've been living in a cave, are among a handful of Republican leaders viewed by pundits as comprising the first tier of likely running mates to join forces with Sen. John McCain in his bid for the presidency.
Each has his strengths and weaknesses. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, the youthful governor of Louisiana, for instance, has dark skin, which could help appeal to minority voters. But he's also an unabashed creationist, which analysts note could hurt him among the pro-fossil segment of the electorate.
Pawlenty, of course, has a lot going for him: he's a longtime McCain backer, has burnished his reputation as a starve-the-beast hater of redistribution of wealth, and exudes a certain folksy charm. On the downside, he comes from a relatively small and electorally insignificant state and, said charm notwithstanding, has periodically shown himself to be a vindictive asshole.
For his part, Crist's biggest strength is his job. As governor of Florida, he's seen as key in delivering the mother of all swing states to the Republicans. But he's also been legally single for nearly 30 years, and rumors have long swirled that, while he may not be a homosexual, he makes a habit of fucking dudes. A thoroughly-reported 2006 article by Bob Norman in Broward-Palm Beach New Times explores these rumors, and specifically allegations that Crist had sex with two men in particular. Norman's conclusion?
"There's no proof, just the ring of truth."
In this context, Crist's gambit of marrying a certified female named Carole Rome, who at age 38 is 13 years his junior, can reasonably seen as an attempt to shed his image of a man who has sex with other men.
Pawlenty, though he recently made light of his own lackluster sex life, has never been linked with other men's penises. And while we encourage Pawlenty to stare down his political weaknesses as a would-be VP candidate, we're kind of at a loss. Either he has to stop acting like the big bully of his backwater playground, or else he needs to find a way to get Minnesota another 20 or so electoral votes. These seem about equally likely.
Bottom line: McCain-Crist just got a little more likely.
N.B. If you want to get on us for bringing sexual orientation into this, save it. We believe what Bob Norman believes, which he puts succinctly enough:
[A]ny closeted politician in the Republican Party — which openly woos homophobes into its ranks while opposing gay rights — is fair game for the media.