Monday morning on the aptly named “Fox and Friends,” Tim Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney.

There’s a peculiar art to endorsing someone you once opposed. It’s impossible not to sound a little awkward.

“Mitt Romney is 100 percent dedicated and committed to repealing Obamacare,” Pawlenty noted.

Surely it was his commitment to repealing Obamacare that drew you to him initially! That was why you angrily threatened to — do his yardwork. Or something.

But the endorsement was characteristic Pawlenty — in a word, nice and probably irrelevant to the outcome of the race.

This characterized him from the start. “Obamneycare” was never an effective slur, mainly because it sounded like the sort of thing Tom Bombadil might say. Aside from being one of the least tripping-off-the-tongue memorable catchphrases in recent political memory, except for Bachmann Overturner Drive, which is how I am trying to urge people to refer to President Michele Bachmann’s planned opposition to Obamacare, it was just too — nice.

That was the trouble with Pawlenty. Even Mean Pawlenty was nice. He told Mitt Romney he’d only mow up to an acre of his lawn. And he meant it to sting! “Stop, because you’re killing us!” he told Michele Bachmann at his last debate, but he prefaced it with “please.”

Mean Pawlenty threatened to Come To Your House And Cook You A Dinner. “Don’t force me to do this,” he added. It was like being threatened with a massage or faced down by a tired kitten.

Mean Perry, who replaced him, is several evolutionary steps to the left when it comes to the art of mean. When he’s mean, you can tell, because he has threatened to do something Mean and Texan to you for your treason, and you have to decide whether to fight or flee. He blows sardonic kisses. He never apologizes.

With Pawlenty gone and spoken for, this marks the End of Minnesota Nice.

But now he can continue to make his presence felt.

All the ardent Pawlenty voters who made the snow cones disappear from his tent back at the Ames straw poll are going to — I’m sorry, why are you coughing? I said, the ardent and loyal Pawlenty supporters who found him an enthusing and galvanizing —

What do you mean, “Are you confusing him with Ron Paul?” No, I’m not confusing him with Ron Paul.

Okay, fine, fine, the two old men who wanted to vote for a Minnesotan and were frightened by Michele Bachmann’s ability to foster children, er, those guys are going to throw their support behind Romney now.

Sure, people care.

Maybe he’ll be back. They say one should speak softly and carry a big stick. He’s got half of that down already.