Joe Scarborough should moderate a 2012 debate, and ask every candidate this same question (note to producers: candidates should be cut off at the 10 minute mark).
SCARBOROUGH: Do you want Olympia Snowe in your Republican party?
PAWLENTY: There is a process in her state that is broad-based, that endorses her, that Republicans in that state say "We want her to be our candidate." I think the downfall in NY-23 was nine or so people who made the decision.....
SCARBOROUGH: Are you glad that Olympia Snowe is a Republican?
PAWLENTY: Well, the people of Maine....
SCARBOROUGH: [interrupting]... I'm asking about you, because we're talking about this litmus test. Are you like me -- and I'll say it. I'll let the conservative blogs kill me today -- are you glad that Olympia Snowe is a Republican in Maine instead of a Democrat in Maine.
PAWLENTY: I'd much rather have a Republican in Maine than a Democrat, that's for sure.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you glad that Olympia Snowe is in your party?
PAWLENTY: Well, I think Olympia Snowe is someone who's more liberal than most Republicans would like, but she is better than having a Democrat represent Maine.
MIKA: Was that a "yes", governor?
PAWLENTY: Well, look the people of Maine have an open process....
[and it goes on]
[Hat tip: Minnesota Public Radio]
UPDATE: Glenn Thrush's take:
Tim Pawlenty is fast setting himself up as the GOP's ideological bouncer, checking the credentials of candidates and elected officials before deeming them acceptable "mainstream" members of the party.
DOUBLE UPDATE: Olympia Snowe, once more, via Glenn Thrush:
"All I know is that I've been a life-long Republican, I [spent] 16 years toiling in the minority in the House of Representatives and [was part of] the effort to get us the majority in 1994 -- now were in the minority and I'm still here.... I don't expect the national party organization to be a substitute for the people in Maine."