Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Judging Tim

Hi All!

On the occasion of the rollout of first Pawlenty campaign ad, I may as well get this over with. I really need to tell everyone in general and no one in particular what I think about our Governor, for what little it is worth.

This might get me in trouble with some people but has that ever stopped me?

Let me begin with this disclaimer: I have no way of knowing what Tim goes through on a daily basis, and don't pretend to be able to get inside his head. For all I know, my criticism might be totally off-base and unfair and unwarranted.

But here goes, anyway.

I was blessed/cursed with very strong political passion from the age of 4, when I swear to God I remember sitting on Dad's shoulders somewhere along University Avenue and candidate JFK looked and waved right at me as he drove by sitting on the back of a black Lincoln convertible. I suppose I could research whether that parade ever happened in 1960, but that's the vision that is etched in my mind. Besides, I don't want to find out that it is just imagined!

I shall expand on this in a future post in order to get to the point, but what I mean to impart is that I deeply care about political leadership and tend to get very cynical and disappointed to see one hero after another sell out.

I'm not saying that Tim Pawlenty has sold out, but he is definitely not the young, personable, self-effacing, witty, intelligent, principled bedrock conservative that I perceived him to be as the House Republican leader.

He needs to be re-elected, of course, and I doubt that he will have any trouble being so, considering the competition.

Pragmatically, I guess I prefer a RINO to a conniving, venal, vindictive, egomaniacal and just plain nasty booby Hatch. I've probably said this before, but when I first met him around 1980 he made my skin crawl. At the time, he had just become DFL Chair and was looking to get a computer on the cheap. I was honest in my assessment that they needed much more hardware than Wang was pushing, and of course got in trouble with Wang when Hatch told them that their independent software consultant was contradicting the ex-shoe salesman representing Wang.

Sue Jeffers is simply not ready for prime time and has no chance as a GOP primary challenger even if she were. I like her positions and I will certainly vote for her, but she ain't gonna happen this time.

So why am I so down on Tim as are so many other of my political/philosophical soulmates?

Where shall I begin? Here's a good place: He tied his hands by signing an ill-considered "no new taxes" pledge (sorry, Strommy). So encumbered, he vetoed a sorely needed gas tax increase that somehow got sweated out of the GOP-controlled House at great risk to many incumbents who subsequently lost their seats in the next election, not necessarily for that reason, but it was a bone-headed veto that has given rise to a really bad, vague, potentially ruinious constitutional amendment proposal that surely must go down to defeat this November.

Wanna drive on good roads? Pay for it and be assured that your "user fee" as Tim Pawlenty might have called the tax increase will go into road construction. Not transit (ok, maybe a bit for that) and certainly not for the general fund.

You just don't legislate by mucking with the Constitution.

Next, within mere days, he puts a "Health Impact Fee" on cigarettes. Wha??? Who did he think he was fooling?

Just made the gas tax veto look more hypocritical.

When Tim got in the race I was a solid Brian Sullivan guy. Frankly, the last really great governor Minnesota has had was Elmer Andersen, who was also the last businessman to serve (and also lost his post in a manner of counting votes that libs rue about Bush, although much more fishy). But that was in the bad old days when politics were REALLY nasty.

Brian was perfect for what Minnesota needed. Pragmatic, tough fiscal policy supported by bedrock conservative principals.

I ran into Tim at Mancini's on my birthday in May of '2002. He was dining with Steve Swiggum and other legislators during a break in a house session.

It was my birthday but at the time I really didn't need an excuse to get besotted. Sadly, I was, and after exchanging pleasantries I blurted out to Tim that it wasn't his time, and that he should get out of the race and support Brian. I still can't believe I said that to his face, but I do recall the shocked and icy expressions of Tim and Steve. Gosh what an ass I was and still can be. I just can't blame my foot-in-mouth disease on booze anymore.

But I really did believe what I told him and I feel somewhat vindicated, thinking about how much Tim has screwed up and bent over and vacillated and compromised and started obviously looking higher than his lowly station as the governor of a small state.

Could Sullivan have done worse? I think he would have done far better. I hope he runs again.

I could cite many other examples of how power has corrupted the likeable mullet-head from South Saint Paul but suffice it to say that it depresses me ever so much that strong, honest, principled civic-minded people who are devoid of political ambition except to serve and make the world a better place are discouraged from running, and facing long odds it they do and don't last long if they happen to "get in."

Although I always get people jumping down my throat when I say this, I still maintain that Steve Swiggum is about the best politician in Minnesota. He is the real deal and has had to herd cats in his caucus and bend a little (or a lot, perhaps) on some issues, but his intentions are pure and his ambition is under control.

Believe it or not, I might even count Lieberman as a real deal, but I really don't know that much about him other than being proud of him for doing the right thing, even though it meant that he would get chewed up and spit out by his wacked-out single issue political party -- and he is gonna kick ass this November. Good for him.

You see, it matters what a politician stands for. It matters to me very much. However, if one is diametrically opposed to my philosophies, I still respect that person more than the "typical" politician.

Tim Pawlenty has become a typical politician. How sad.


Anonymous Lady Liberty said...

Sue Jeffers is Tim's Primary challenger.

GOP primary is Sept. 12.

I'm voting for Sue. You said yourself that the last great governor we had was the last business owner we had in that office. It's time to put another one in there at this time of econimical disparity created by Tim Pawlenty's administration.

I'm voting for Sue, and there are a LOT of others who are too.

12:26 PM  
Blogger PK said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:03 PM  
Blogger PK said...

Thanks Lady!

I seven screwed up my first response!

Not sure where I got the notion that Sue was running as an IP candidate. That would be Hutch, of course.

Doesn't change my jist, but I have corrected the brain fart error.

And I will definitely give Sue my vote (of confidence) in the primary. The best she can do is garner enough votes to send a message to Tim and to me that would be a great victory.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"Sue Jeffers is simply not ready for prime time and has no chance as a GOP primary challenger even if she were. I like her positions and I will certainly vote for her, but she ain't gonna happen this time."

I've been working the Sue Jeffers booth at the State Fair, and pardon the cliche, but if I had a dime for everytime I heard this exact sentiment, I'd be a wealthy man. Everyone says they are going to vote for her, and everyone thinks she won't win. Something doesn't add up there. Wait and see.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said that "the last really great governor Minnesota has had was Elmer Anderson." FYI, Elmer was an Andersen - Elmer L. Andersen. Earlier, there was a Gov. C. Elmer Anderson. I do not think that C. Elmer is considered to be a "great governor."

6:26 AM  
Blogger PK said...

Good call, Anonymous!

I certainly know the difference between our ex-guvs C. Elmer and plain Elmer. But I missed the spelling difference in the last name. It has been fixed and I appreciate your catching that.

11:56 AM  

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