Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, endorsed Marco Rubio for president on Monday — notably after Jeb Bush dropped out of the race.
As of 11:15 a.m., you couldn't find Pawlenty's name on MarcoRubio.com, while other endorsements (such as Congressman Joe Wilson) were blared from the home page.
Pawlenty isn't merely a Republican candidate who dramatically underperformed early expectations despite blending a conservative record with establishment backing. Pawlenty is also one of Wall Street's top lobbyists and a champion of corporate welfare for Wall Street.
Pawlenty (who sounded populist notes in his 2012 run), is now CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a major lobby group in town. FSR takes a small-government, free-enterprise position on many issues, but on some, FSR lobbies for taxpayer subsidies. For instance, FSR was a leading voice in pushing Congress to revive the expired Export-Import Bank last year. (Ex-Im provides taxpayer guarantees for the loans FSR's members such as JP Morgan make to foreign companies and foreign governments.)
Rubio will now become the candidate of the establishment, which includes K Street. He's built up a record of usually (not always) opposing corporate welfare. If he makes Pawlenty, Trent Lott, and Bob Dole a big part of his campaign, he's setting himself up for Jeb Bush's fate.
Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.