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Pawlenty to act as guest speaker at National Review cruise

While his former rivals for the Republican presidential nomination will still be slugging it out in early primary states, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be wined and dined as a guest speaker on the annual cruise of the conservative National Review.

The cruise will host guest speakers like former United States representative to the United Nations John Bolton, Star Tribune columnist James Lileks and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed.

The cruise website heralds Pawlenty’s accomplishments as Minnesota governor: “[Pawlenty] supported requiring visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing the state’s conceal-carry gun law and changing the state’s education requirements.”

The ship will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and swing past Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas during the Nov. 12-19 cruise. Cabins range from $2,399 to $6,999. Tourists will enjoy “plenty of chances to meet, schmooze and enjoy personal interaction with our special guest speakers,” according to the cruise website.

The National Review cruise gained some negative attention in 2007 when the Independent newspaper of the U.K., sent reporter Johann Hari to cover the event. Hari described a “ship of fools,” where jokes about violence against Muslims, immigrants and liberals were common and old ladies went from “sweet to suicide-bomb in six seconds.” (Hari was later embroiled in a ethics scandal about correct attribution of quotes in high-profile interviews).

Still, this trip promises to be more placid than the recently contentious Republican nomination struggle Pawlenty dropped out of last month: “The cruise will include cocktail receptions, evening cigar and cognac smokers, dinners together, group excursions, and seminar sessions.”

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