Minnesota Runs for President.
Relative to: The state of Minnesota’s presidential candidates.
A long absence has passed since our last post, after some family issues followed up by the loss of the tip of a middle finger, but TRC is back, and 9-finger typing like a champion. Much has happened since we laughed at President Gentle–the middle east for example has turned completely upside down–but I’ll leave all that to experts and pundits.
Today I’m sticking a little closer to home.
Running for president is tasteless business, unfortunately, and I think that Minnesota is going to demonstrate that fact all too clearly during the 2012 cycle. With former Gov. Tim Pawlenty already campaigning, and taking his game up a step, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann looking to make her own run for the office, the state of MN will be trying to find its way to the White House for the first time. I have a feeling it will not be pretty.
The second first. Michelle Bachmann, despite being an excellent politician, is bats. There’s nothing really to say about that. She will not be elected president.
Moving on. There was a time when Tim Pawlenty was a respectable conservative: one who could be disagreed with but understood. In his first term in MN he pushed for light-rail and a reduction of CO2 emissions in the Midwest–he was considered a national leader in the GOP on climate related issues, helping get the Midwest Energy Infrastructure Accord and other regional initiatives on their feet (there is much on Pawlenty’s objective in the archives of the STrib, which I can’t access at the moment). He did a lot in the state that I could never agree with, especially regarding women’s health issues and education, but I never thought he was a villain.
But then, one day, he just stopped. His interest in the environment and climate seemed to simply disappear. He helped get the MEIA started, but by the time it was ready to roll, Pawlenty was just an empty signature. Before long, Pawlenty was backing the first ever sulfide mining project in Minnesota, run by a company with a reputation for wreaking havoc on the environment and leaving the state to pay for the cleanup. Today, one could never recognize the Former MN Governor as a politician concerned about the environment, let alone a leader on climate change.
Since then, he has been national. Even before Nominee McCain considered Pawlenty as a potential VP-candidate, Gov. Pawlenty had largely checked out of the state’s affairs, taking no responsibility (seriously, none) for the state’s current budget deficit-which may not all fall on Pawlenty’s doorstep, but a whole lot of it does. All this to say, Pawlenty was a good politician, and a guy to be disagreed with. What’s he up to now? Running for president. And since he’s not polling all that well, he’s also wandering the country, embarrassing our state.
I used to worry that Tim Pawlenty was a good enough politician, and smart, and sensible, and appealing enough as a presidential candidate that he would be worth worrying about. Sure, winning the Republican primary would be tough with those characteristics, but in the general election Pawlenty could have a real chance. At least I don’t have to worry about that anymore. As a former Reagan aide put it: Pawlenty’s just “showing he’s not ready for prime time.”