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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Tell Me About Tim Pawlenty

One of my theories is that the best chance to defeat Obama in 2012 is to make the election about Obama, not about the Republican candidate.  The Obama record is so abysmal, and the Obama aura so shattered, that 2012 could be a repeat of 2010. 

Each of the current top 4 Republican contenders (Palin, Romney, Newt, Huckabee) has issues of public perception which would make the race, to varying degrees, about the Republican. 

Nominating Palin would be like sticking a red hot branding iron in the face of the mainstream media and Washington establishment (which from an emotional point of view may be reason enough, and she would generate the most enthusiasm).  Palin v. Obama would be like WWIII.  Maybe that's a battle which needs to be fought, but I don't think anyone can say it keeps the focus on Obama.

Romney will have to deal with Romneycare which can be distinguished intellectually from Obamacare, but perhaps not in 15 second soundbites; and Romney will be attacked for the restructuring of companies during his investment banking days.  Newt has issued so many policy prescriptions that he is subject to misleading attacks, and his public persona is somewhat stuck in 1994.  And Democrats will try to turn Huckabee into a caricature of an evangelical.

Any of these top 4 contenders would be okay with me, but I'm looking at it now purely from a tactical point of view.

I've seen Tim Pawlenty on television quite a lot lately, as he obviously is trying to raise his profile.  Based on how he presents himself, he would seem to fit the bill of a conservative who, if nominated, would keep the focus on Obama.

But, I don't know a lot about Pawlenty.  What's to know?

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  1. I agree that our best chance to win the WH in 2012 is to keep the focus on Obama. That does indeed mean selecting someone who doesn't come with a lot of real or invented baggage. Don't know much about Tim Pawlenty, either, though, so will check back in to see what others think.

    We definitely have to win in 2012; I can't bare to think of the consequences if we lose (not the least of which is that ObamaCare will kick in come 2014, and it will become too entwined to ever get rid of it, just like every other big government entitlement and bureaucracy--or really web of bureaucracies).

  2. Living in South Dakota, I here quite a bit about Tim. Here is what George Will wrote.

    " In the four decades before Pawlenty was elected governor in 2002, the average two-year increase in state spending was 21 percent. During his tenure, the average annual increase has been 2 percent. He says that the current two-year budget cycle will be the first in 150 years in which spending will be cut in real, constant dollars. ...

    Pawlenty has benefited from an affliction -- Minnesota's Legislature. Currently, Republicans are outnumbered 47 to 87 in the House and 21 to 46 in the Senate. As a result, he has had, and has seized, ample opportunities to veto things, including increases in taxes on incomes, gasoline, beer and wine. He holds the Minnesota record for most vetoes cast in a single legislative session. The Cato Institute murmurs, "Be still my heart!""

    I would love to see Tim run.

  3. Ok, so what's wrong with Jim DeMint?

    Pawlenty doesn't have the name recognition that DeMint does and DeMint has gotten the attention of Everyone, both on the left and the right.

  4. I don't know enough first hand about his positions to comment intelligently, but alSeen's comments on Pawlenty make it sound like he'd be a good candidate. Even if Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal have expressed a lack of interest in a 2012 presidential run, perhaps they could be drafted into the primary. Paul Ryan too.

    Any provocatively polarizing figures need to stay he hell out. I like the professor's observation that "[n]ominating Palin would be like sticking a red hot branding iron in the face of the mainstream media"; it's a very apt analogy. That could be extended to include not just Palin, Romney, Huckabee, and Gingrich as the professor observed, but also Ron and Rand Paul. The elder has some bad soundbytes that could be used against him, and the as much as I like and respect the younger, quite a bit of polarization was artifically created around him and I am a realist about it.

    A Pawlenty / Christie / Jindal / Ryan primary would definitely lead to a STRONG candidate for the general election. On the other extreme, we also can't have another socialist-who-happens-to-wear-the-letter-R-for-RINO this time around.

  5. Whoever runs will have to have some things going for him/her: they will have to be "perceived" as young (as Obama is); they will have to have a solid track record of conservatism, including fighting back ever expanding taxation; they will have to be quietly Christian (and yes, that includes Mormonism); and above all, they will have to be teck savvy and use modern technology to their advantage.

    Obama built his army by having Axelrod, the man most responsible for the use of astroturf, use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other internet resources. Obama also tapped into the youth (18-25) vote, much as John Kennedy did. Also, Axelrod, the creator of the brain child, Organizing for Obama, knew that you needed to build giant groups that were willing to get out the vote for Obama.

    There are some young conservative guns out there that should not be ignored: Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling (although Hensarling is maybe too quite in demeanor to do well).

    But all we have to do is sit back and watch which of the 2012 possibilities the lamestream media goes after. That will be the first clue that they think any particular conservative is a threat to Obama.

    Also remember this; the main reason that Clinton won in 1996 was the fact that a Republican Congress was beginning to turn things around, taking the country to the right. That worked to Clinton's favor, and it will also work to Obama's favor as any improvements in the economy and unemployment will be viewed by the media as a sign of Obama's great leadership.

  6. Allowing the media to decide your candidate once again. When will conservatives ever learn?

  7. Yes, absolutely professor. We need to make 2012 as close as possible to "Obama vs. generic Republican." From what I've seen of Pawlenty, he fits the bill. He's a competent, effective, conservative, successful Governor of a blueish state. He also comes across as likable and not a stiff Romney-like character. He's a fairly popular governor and, so far, has not been unfairly branded. I think most of the electorate is feeling the same way. As of now I'm liking his chances... I say two years out...

  8. boohoo, Palin, Romney, Huackabee, Newt has too much baggage because the media spent several years tearing them apart, so lets pick someone who we don't know about, who has as little paper trail as possible to hide what he really think. Thats what we need! More cowardice

  9. As a SD resident, I would have to throw John Thune into the mix as well.

    Same age as Obama with more leadership experience. An ACU rating of 100%. He looks the part (which is important politically). He defeated Daschle which everyone in the country should be thankful for.

    He even went to my church when he lived in Pierre. As an amusing aside, our pastor's wife is Al Gore's cousin.

  10. I had the impression that Pawlenty was a Rino but I guess I was wrong. I read somewhere that Thune was going to run too.

  11. @4rc, because bold and in your face has worked so well for the democrats . . .

  12. No way would I ever vote for Pawlenty, b/c he's chosen for his pastor a leader in the interfaith movement, which is both the enemy of Israel and key in advancing the humanist globalist agenda. But since most voters are not Bible-believing Christians or pro-Israel, sure, from a tactical point of view, he's electable.

  13. I had the impression that Pawlenty was a Rino but I guess I was wrong.

    Nah, you're not entirely wrong. T-Paw has been a force for fiscal conservatism generally, but kind of a wus' otherwise. It does have something to do with coming from state like MN.

    MN conservatives are often at best "meh" about T-Paw, but I don't think they give him credit for focusing on fiscal sanity in a blue state. I don't believe taxes were ever raised in MN during his tenure, although for the perfectionists, I think were some fees raised (a tax by any other name...).

    Because of his long stint as a legislator prior to being governor, he understands both sides of that aisle.

    Because of the resurgence of Conservatism, I think he's trying to present himself more openly as a conservative. My take is is that he is, but his "true" position is probably close enough to the center that Real Conservatives can continue to loathe him.

    I dunno. As a conservative, I guess I'm supposed to loathe him too, but I rather like the guy as a presidential candidate.

  14. The big problem is that the high-profile quartet of Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, and Romney represent a pretty flawed group of candidates.

    Palin's heart is in the right place and she is clearly an important voice in national affairs, but it's way too much to expect her to overcome, in just two years, the negative image she has among a vast segment of the voting public. (And I don't think her doing reality TV in the meantime is going to do much to assist in that process.)

    Unfortunately, while Gingrich has at least as much baggage as Palin, he isn't half as nice to look at. Please, Newt, enough!

    As for Huckabee and Romney, neither one is going to be satisfactory to true conservatives, for legitimate reasons relating to their records as governors. Romney in particular seems electable, but I can't see the party really uniting around Mitt.

    Unfortunately, all of the other potential contenders are of such lower national profiles that they each would seem to need a lot of exposure just to get heard above the din. The problem this presents is that there are a whole slew of these dark horses, so they are not only competing with Palin, et al, for exposure, but with one another as well.

    This is a shame, frankly, because this second-tier class of contenders contains an immense amount of talent, IMO. I would be thrilled to have any of these people succeed Obama in the WH: Thune, Jindal, Daniels, Pawlenty, Pence, Ryan . . . and others.

    I really hope that one of these guys can catch fire and break into the top tier before the primaries start, so that they don't ALL get wiped out when they draw only 5% support in Iowa and NH.

    I also wish that NRO and other outlets would set a drop-dead date for everyone to discontinue their public displays of affection for out-of-left-field "fantasy" candidates who have zero chance of ever winning, such as John Bolton. Sure, we'd all love to live in an America where a badass like John Bolton could be president. But we don't, so let's move on to some more serious alternatives.

    GWB was only elected in large part because he was able to consolidate a tremendous amount of support (and fundraising) very early in the process. At the time, he was relatively unknown as a national figure, without prior experience as a candidate or a lengthy resume as an elected official. Nevertheless, Republicans were able to quickly recognize his strength as a candidate and rally behind him. It would be nice if someone -- anyone -- could do the same this time around. I don't think we need a bunch of marginal, flawed candidates, struggling to keep a campaign going with little money and only 1-2% poll support, just in the hopes that they might eventually catch lightning in a bottle.

  15. One disconcerting thing about Pawlenty is that he's unlikely to win his own state. The battle over unallotments (repossessing unspent funds that had been allocated in the state budget) and the floods of 2009 left a negative taste in Minnesotans' mouths. The unallotment fight was a good one for him as a governor and a future Republican candidate, but it probably wouldn't sit well with moderates.

    When the Red and Minnesota Rivers flooded last year, he was campaigning in Florida or somewhere outside of the state. Hoeven, ND's former governor/now senator, was sand bagging in Fargo. (I disagree, but...) It left the impression that Pawlenty was more interested in raising his national profile than running his state.

  16. I would LOVE to see a Pence/Pawlenty ticket!! I would love Palin as well but I think she can do more good doing what she's doing or maybe taking over the RNC!!!

  17. Disclaimer: I've lived in MN for all the Pawlenty years, and I count myself a fan, so take what I write below with a grain of salt.

    Pawlenty has two main strengths that could serve him very well if he can get past the primaries. First off, he's very solid in every way. He knows what he believes in, he stands up for it (politely but very firmly) and he does not budge from his stands very often. While he's not particularly charismatic, these traits make him very electable next to Mr. Obama - he tends to come across, to anyone who listens to him for more than a sound bite, as, first and foremost, competent.

    Second, while is is both a fiscal and social conservative, he has a knack for not seeming like either, in an honest and earnest way. Sure, he's not the most conservative candidate in the field, but is solidly conservative on almost every issue conservatives care about, and is able to express those views in a non threatening way. I think this gives him an ability to speak to the middle as a moderate, but govern as a conservative, and not seem to have compromised either way.

    His achievements will undoubtably be well documented by others, but among them, he's been to Iraq 5 times and Afghanistan 3 times visiting MNG troops, and is reasonably fluent on foreign policy. He's made small moves to save money, like having his LG also serve as the transportation secretary and draw only one salary. When the state legislature adjourned without a budget agreement last year, he "unallotted" several billion dollars (though that's still being fought out in the courts as to the legality of it.) And all that was done with a very, very Democratic leaning legislature for almost all of his two terms, and while still keeping his approval ratings above water (and near 60% for part of his terms) in a state that's probably still a D+9 or so state overall.

    His greatest weakness is what many see as the "wimp" factor. He's not a firebrand on the campaign trail; he doesn't ignite the room with his rhetoric, nor does he compel you to listen with his charm and wit. Because of this, his greatest challenge will be getting noticed and getting through the primary. While I think he'd be a shoo in for the presidency against Obama, I don't know how he gets past the primaries without some high profile help - a fan who can get him noticed but isn't running, for example.

    Hope that's helpful...


  18. Gary Johnson may surprise some people in the primaries.

    According to a website that advocates his candidacy (http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/), he...

    •Never raised taxes during his 8 years as governor of New Mexico

    •Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone

    •Cut taxes 14 times

    •Vetoed over 750 bills

    •Was the biggest advocate in the country for school vouchers

    •Started his own small business and became a multi-millionaire

    I might add he is an outspoken and knowledgeable critic of drug prohibition, probably the most insidious evil this country faces.

  19. I would like to see Allen West. the govs of VA and LA seem good also.

  20. Haley Barbour did an amazing job after Katrina. He has done well fiscally in a very poor state. His baggage becomes that he was once a lobbyist. In this current climate, a big no no.

    I would like to see Mike Pence run. I am not sure he could win though, but he would be a bold strong voice against Obama.

    Mitch Daniels is the anti-Obama. But, that makes it hard for people to get to know him, which will hurt him.

  21. Pawlenty is all about global warming. That's all I need to know about him.

  22. Pawlenty is warm oatmeal. Not too hot, not too cold, not just right either. He's oatmeal. We need another great communicator, and TPaw isn't it.

    That said, he would keep the focus on Obama and he would be a very competent chief executive.

    Hey compared to what we have, he would be Awesome!

    Tim from MN

  23. Pawlenty is - uh, I mean was - my governor, and I've always been a solid fan, and still am.

    Principled guy, with a strong fiscal-conservative bent, and the backbone to have been able to pull it off for his entire two terms (impressively low tax increases in a hardcore socialist state.)

    He's fun to watch with Representatives and Senators who have big plans for all the extra money that will flow through their hands once he agrees not to veto their tax bills. He politely starts out with "no", and then gradually moves on to "sorry, no."

    i hope he runs and wins, but I see one handicap in his way.

    The Minnesota DFL - the old Democratic Farmers and Laborors Party - our Democrats - I think have all been astounded and personally insulted by the fact that a Republican keeps winning the hearts and minds here, especially when we have so dang many of those Dem voters. There's a pretty big contingent within them that is outright nasty and fanatical and vengeful - remember, they almost elected Franken - and I'm afraid they're going to jump into the national fray and do anything and everything to mess with the object of their frustrations and hatred for so long.

  24. "Pawlenty is all about global warming."
    - - - -

    "Gadfly", you're well-named. Pawlenty is NOT in the warminists' camp. He opposes Cap 'n Tax, calls out the greenies for their data manipulation and dishonesty, and says there's no foundation to what they proffer as "evidence."

    He's a recent convert - I think the Climategate e-mails and program notes were what finallt swayed him.

  25. One thing that we might also consider is what America is going to look like by 2012. Napolitano is promising to roll out porn scanners and TSA gropers to train, bus, and metro stations. Armed and powerful government thugs who are essentially answerable to no one and above both law and the Constitution, according to Pistole, will be stationed all across this country. This is not good, people, and we can hope that the people in this nation who are still slumbering will be awakened when they can't get on a bus or subway without being photographed naked and given a good dose of radiation or being sexually molested on their way to work (government-approved, of course, so what recourse?). Also, the costs of such a roll out are going to be mind-blowing. The police state (for isn't that what they're putting in place?) will hopefully make anyone who might vote for BO think again. We have to ensure that the TSA is tied directly to BO, that he, personally, be held accountable for the unreasonable searches of random citizens' crotches. He chose Pistole, he's approving and backing up these fascist tactics, and he needs to be the face of this outrageous attempt to treat every American citizen like a terrorist.

  26. I am coming to this conversation a bit late but here it goes. I like Pawlenty. He has been able to foster a conservative agenda in a very liberal state. The biggest criticism I've heard about him is that he is boring. I would remind people that Obama was elected purely because of his perceived "star power". How's that working out? I'll skip the pizazz in favor of a proven record of accomplishment any day.

  27. At this point all I ask is this. Please, no more legislators!

  28. I absolutely agree, Hal Duston. We need someone with a solid track record as an executive. I love CC's videos, but I think we need to take him at his word. I think Sarah was royally and unfairly screwed and tattooed by the MSM but what looked like a strong executive record was truncated. Romneycare is a fatal flaw. Newt's flirtation with San Fran Nan on the bench was fatal--as is his "personal life." Huck is too much into government solutions. I'm looking at Daniels, Pawlenty--and, surprise, Barbour. And Barbour might be the strongest of the lot.

  29. Have you ever actually watched/listened to Mitt Romney speak? He has all the eloquence of Barack Obama with none of the teleprompters. He has policy ideas to far outweigh Newt Gingrich with none of the personality flaws (unless you consider drinking milk without vodka a flaw). He has executive experience without being a career politician (his one term as governor is the only public office he's held). His restructuring of all those businesses kept them from failing miserably and gave us household names such as Staples, Brookstone, Sports Authority, and Domino's Pizza. He has two years to differentiate Romneycare from Obamacare, and as long as all the conservative pundits remember why they chose him over Huckabee in the first place (Laura Ingraham introduced him at CPAC '08 as a "conservative's conservative"), he'll have plenty of time to rebuild his "street cred". He certainly has enough allies after this year's rout, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, both of whom he endorsed before Sarah Palin had even heard of them, and neither of whom Mike Huckabee supported at all. And, unless I'm mistaken, didn't Senator DeMint endorse him in the last election? Mitt Romney SHOULD be president, and that's all that matters. Don't go looking for someone who's "electable"; that sort of thinking is what got John McCain nominated.

  30. The problem with Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Thaddeus McCotter, is not a single one of them are inspirational or motivational.

    I can see the argument for someone "safe" and "bland" and small-c "conservative", but that's not going to help the R's beat the vote fraud and the ACORN-SEIU model of chicanery.

    When you look at how close so many elections were this time, it came down to turnout.

    You're not going to get the turnout you need unless you excite the base with someone who has charisma, and inspires people that a corner has been turned, and America is back on the right path.

    So much of the work involved with turning the ship of state around is in managing perceptions.

    Neither of those three Amigos can drag the R party across the finish line.

  31. Romney is worthless to me until he admits his grievous error in Massachusetts' Health Care debacle. I used to like him until I saw what he had done there. Differentiate Romneycare from Obamacare? Good luck, give me Pawlenty - a "Sam's Club" Republican in his own words.

  32. Personality-wise, it's hard to say how Pawlenty would play on the national stage. He has an "aw-shucks" kind of demeanor that can at times work wonders (I've seen the harshest of liberal critics, like Rachel Maddow, seem to genuinely warm to him in interviews- not an easy task), but can come off as uninspiring sometimes, and even boring occasionally. He has a good sense of humor- something I think has been sorely lacking in GOP presidential candidates since The Gipper.

    Political-wise, he managed to govern as a fairly Conservative executive in a pretty blue state, which is saying something. He made a gutsy decision (praised by Conservatives) to try to use unallotment to balance the state budget, but unfortunately, the MN SC ruled against him. The negatives: he has been known on occasion to effectively raise taxes through various "fees" (tuition, cigarettes, etc.)- it's not totally his fault perhaps, as he often used the veto pen, and he had a spend-happy Democrat-controlled state legislature to work with. Probably the biggest thing that irked Conservatives was when he increased the ethanol mandate; it may have helped some state farmers, but it probably hurt more consumers and small-businesses.

  33. I've listened to Pawlenty on Dennis Miller's show several times and he tends to come across as the anti-politician. That is, his responses come across as conversational and uncanned, unlike most politicos who tend to regurgitate memorized talking points that make them sound like robots. He also comes from a humble background (working class from the meat packing industry I believe). I like the guy.

  34. It is worth stating over and over again that the instant conservatives cede the battle to their enemies in terms of choosing whom to run, the war is lost. I feel like taking a megaphone and yelling into the ears of all cowards this simple truth: never, never, never let fear drive your decisions. Every single person who doesn't understand the galvanizing effect of truth, proclaimed boldly, has no place in politics. In fact, the instant that someone says that person A or B "can't win" due to the effects of the media, it is safe to say that we can ignore everything they say from that point onwards. So Pawlenty? No.

  35. I've lived in MN for 15 years. Two events during the T-Paw years stand out. First, there is a law on the books that says counties cannot raise sales tax rates without the consent of the electorate. The idea was to raise the sales tax to pay for a new outdoor stadium for the Twins. The county (Hennepin)residents were firmly against it. Not a chance of it passing. So the state legislature (controlled by the Dem's) voted for an exclusion and T-Paw signed it. Screw the will of the people. Now it's OK though because it's such a nice stadium. The second event was a two billion dollar state budget surplus four years ago. What did T-Paw do? He argued with the Dem's about HOW TO SPEND IT!! Never a thought about giving it back to the people who's money it was in the first place. No rainy day fund. Just 'how should we spend this two billion?' These are not the actions of a fiscal conservative. I think the earlier post has it right: Oatmeal, or more accurately, Spineless Oatmeal.

  36. Agree with:

    1. Once the media/left is allowed to take conservatiuves out of the running, we;ll never get a real one in again.

    2. We're not going to win with a RINO. (I'm looking at you, Pawlenty and Romney.) Barbour is old, old news. People have been watching him on tv since he chaired the RNC.

    3. We need new, we need fresh, we need tough.
    West is who we need; can we get him nominated? How 'bout West/Palin? It'd kill Oama and get everybody excited and out to vote. Neither is boring, and both are tough.

  37. So where is he on illegal immigration, domestic drilling and ObamaCare?

    illegal immigration - Against it

    domestic drilling - For IT

    ObamaCare - Against it http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/11/tim_pawlenty_vo.php

    He has one huge mark against him, he was for CAP & TRADE at one point: http://www.americantradition.org/?p=1680

    He needs to be questioned about this to either say he was mistaken and changed his position for reasons to be stated OR he believes in AGW.