In today's Daily Caller, I have a piece on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's recent budget victory in Minnesota and its implications for his probable 2012 presidential campaign. Pawlenty governs in the only state Reagan didn't capture during his 1984 reelection campaign, yet has kept his Pledge not to raise taxes and brought spending in line with economic reality.

Most recently, he went toe-to-toe with a Democrat-controlled legislature hell bent on raising taxes to close a $3 billion budget hole. They blinked first; after Pawlenty vetoed a $400 million tax increase they agreed to a number of the governor's proposed budget cuts, bringing the budget into balance without a tax increase.

An excerpt from the op-ed:

Looking forward to 2012, few potential candidates in the Republican field will have been as battle-tested as Pawlenty. Rather than apologize for principled spending cuts brought on by virtue of economic necessity, he continues to push for structural budgetary reforms such as a constitutional cap on government spending and a 20 percent cut in Minnesota’s sky-high corporate income tax rate.

Pawlenty recently won his showdown with the state legislature on the tax-and-spend issue by securing passage of a budget deal that ratifies most of last year’s unallotments and balances the budget with no tax increases. He has officially solidified his fiscally conservative credentials leading up to a probable 2012 candidacy. And with a president in the White House who has repeatedly violated his “firm pledge” not to raise taxes on families making under $250,000, Pawlenty presents a clear and welcome contrast. He’s promised not to raise taxes and followed through time after time.

Read the whole thing here.