Wednesday, September 30, 2009
LACKLUSTER 2012 SUPPORT FOR A LACKLUSTER GOVERNOR
"Any level of government will work better than 'enterprise.' All we have to do is get Republicans out of it."
- Old Scout of Scouts' Honor -
I warned you about this guy some months back. He is Tim Pawlenty, current Minnesota Governor, who mistakenly believes he has what it takes to be President. Media pundits are hinting at a run by him for the GOP nomination, and they are also incorrectly touting him as a moderate Republican. Consider this your second warning about him. He is now galavanting all across the country making speeches and appearing in support of conservative Republican candidates everywhere in a Nixonesque attempt to build party support for his own 2012 presidential candidacy. In the process, he has abandoned his responsibilites as Chief Executive of his own state in the best Sarah Palin tradition, the only difference being he has not officially resigned his post.
The man is not to be trusted. He is a conservative Republican wolf in moderate Republican sheep's clothing.
No, he doesn't use inflammatory rhetoric, refer to President Obama as a socialist, or brandish posters with swastikas. His tone and demeanor are far more sedate and civil than that. But he is a bedrock social conservative in the best Bush/Cheney/Palin tradition. He is one of your typical "tax-cuts-for-the-rich-and-big-business-will-solve-everything" Republicans who opposes social spending and who doesn't care at all about ur ubderstand the struggles of the poor, working, and middle classes in this country. His supply-side brand of economics was rejected nationally by voters in 2008 and should be rejected again three years from now.
But who is Tim Pawlenty, what is his vision, and what has he done to deserve the presidency? There is nothing remarkable, original, or inspiring about him. He is, lock, stock, and barrel, your typical Republican. Son of a milk truck driver, Pawlenty grew up in suburban St. Paul. He earned a law degree and entered public office first as an appointee to a city planning commission and later as a city council member and state representative. He, like all his GOP cohorts, despises taxes and pledged no new income taxes during his terms as Governor. But just like most modern Republicans, he then engaged in doublespeak, as when he raised the tax on cigarettes but called it a "health impact fee." Other "fees" he raised (or caused to raise) were property taxes and state college tuitions. He has relied heavily on budget-cutting over the years. Columnist Robert Novak once correctly pegged him as Minnesota's most conservative Governor since the 1920s. His budget cuts to higher education have resulted in double digit increases in tuition paid by individual students for several years running. Other non-education "fees" rose well over $300 million during his tenure. Hos major budget cutting occurred in the areas of transportation, social services, and welfare. He used or threatened vetoes in 2005, 2007, and 2008 on highway expansion, maintenance, and infrastructure repair, good little belt-tightening Republican boy he was. After the collapse of the I-35 Mississippi River bridge on August 1, 2008 due to inadequate inspection, he ihdicated he might rethink his position on an increase in the gas tax to fund more road and bridge repair. But what did he do? Why, he vetoed that, too! The state's Department of Management and Budget estimates that, due to declining revenues caused by high unemployment (and his failure to have had enough tax revenue due to steady refusal to raise such revenue), his successor will have to deal with a massive $4.4 BILLION shortfall in the state budget beginning July, 2011. Rather than levy a temporary tax or staying at home to help devise an alternate funding mechanism, Pawlenty has decided instead to call it quits to run for President. Now THAT'S responsible leadership you can believe in!
Tim Pawlenty is not the great red hope the GOP might think may help them turn blue Minnesota red in 2012. He eked out narrow election victories in his races for Governor. Both times he was in three-candidate races, and both times his vote total was below 50% (at 44.4% and 46.7% respectively). A just-released Minneapolis Star Tribune "Minnesota Poll" has indicated very soft support for his presidential run. When asked "Would you like to see Tim Pawlenty run for President in 2012, or not?", only 30% of state respondents said yes. 55% said no. Among Independents, the total was only 34% yes and 51% no. (Of course, among Republicans, the figure was 75% yes, but let's face it: they are so blindly faithful, a huge majority of them would vote for Daffy Duck if he were the designated Republican candidate). When asked if Pawlenty did indeed get the GOP nomination, only 25% of state respondents said there was a "good chance" they would vote for him, with only 25% saying "some chance." A sizable 43% said there was "no chance" Pawlenty would get their vote. His job approval rating currently stands at 49%, with his disapproval rating at 38%. These are hardly rousing numbers of support. They are as lackluster as he is and as mediocre as his performance has been.
So don't be fooled by Tim Pawlenty's "new face" or seemingly moderate tone, national Republicans and Independents. We Minnesotans have had paw-lenty of Mr. Pawlenty, and with good reason. This guy is a total dud, with nothing new or of substance to offer this country. He is Mr. "Same old, same old", and a waste of our time. His is not fresh new leadership but warmed-over Reaganomics. Look elsewhere if you must have an alternative to President Obama.