There once was a Governor from Eagan...
There once was a Governor from Eagan
Ambitious, pernicious, yet deceiving.
He vetoed a State Poet
While claiming to know that
Poetry’s taxing not fee-ing.
Learn The Truth About Tim Pawlenty
There once was a Governor from Eagan
Ambitious, pernicious, yet deceiving.
He vetoed a State Poet
While claiming to know that
Poetry’s taxing not fee-ing.
Nick Coleman’s on to it. Mark Brunswick, too. Tim Pawlenty’s got the Presidential bug and he’s got it bad.
This morning, in one of those joyous harmonic convergence moments, Coleman’s Strib column and Brunswick’s Gov/Sviggy/Dean-o negotiations story both revealed Pawlenty’s increasingly naked Presidential ambition. Coleman examines Pawlenty’s right-wing blogger love fest. Brunswick, though, nails it.
“[State Senate Majority Leader Dean] Johnson joked to a stone-faced Pawlenty that he should smile, but Pawlenty barely cracked a smirk.”
Oh, yes. This Governor smirks. He smirks quite a bit. I’ll bet he’s smirking right now. The President of the United States, George W. Bush, is also a notorious smirker. Smirking is key.
Tim hasn’t missed the point. Want to be president? You need a presidential smirk. No garden variety, smart-assed South St Paul High School, jock-sniffing, Vin Weber-worshipping smirk will do. I mean, come on, what respectable Republican president can’t derisively smirk at the most inopportune moment?
This month’s PE book club selection is Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, ’72. Thompson didn’t much care for Hubert Humphrey, reserving a special contempt for Humphrey’s naked ambition. Thompson was quick to spot vanity, arrogance and greed masquerading as noble aspiration. Coleman’s final paragraph captures a similar sentiment.
“The [Governor’s] mansion plays tricks on big egos. Once you glimpse yourself in a gilded mirror, you start to believe your own stuff.”
The smirk reveals all.
Today, the Star Tribune published excerpts from an interview with Harry Flynn, the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. While we at PE do not agree with all of the Archbishop’s analysis (“I think the governor has a real good heart”) we do overwhelmingly support his overall message that Tim’s allegiance to the (to good to be) Taxpayer’s League is diametrically opposed to the core of mainstream religious teaching. Archbishop Flynn challenged Tim to do what he has done -- talk to children whose only daily meal is the one they get during the day at the child care facilities that Tim wants to cut funding from. Flynn said that, “any heart should be able to be changed by that." Unfortunately, Flynn’s confidence in Tim’s heart is likely misplaced. Tim seems to care more about promises to interest groups and being president or vice president than he does about religious teaching.
Admittedly, we here at PE link you to the Star Trib more than the Pioneer Press. However, here is a link not only to the press but to there (conservative) Editorial Board’s piece asking Tim to sign the House Transportation Bill into law despite his written promise to his blood brothers over at the Tax Payers League (special interest group).
This is just one of an array of articles, editorials, and opinions published in the last week asking for the following: “TIM, SET YOUR POLITICAL AMBITIONS ASIDE FOR JUST A SECOND AND, FOR ONCE, TAKE CARE OF OUR STATE!!”
In a shocking announcement, the Star Tribune (LINK) reported yesterday that Tim’s statements about Minnesota’s business climate aren’t exactly what you or I would call consistent. It turns out that Minnesota is either the best place to do business in the country, or the worst -- it all depending on Tim’s political ambitions that particular day. Hmmm, this sounds strangely familiar to Tim’s stances on expanding gambling and publicly funded stadiums. Two might be a coincidence, but three is a pattern. Can you say, “flip-flop?”
Tim’s plan to turn Minnesota into Las Vegas in order to cover core state services is dead (see any newspaper today May 18th). The problem is, Tim had already factored this income into the state’s budget. Seems to me that the adage, “don’t count your eggs before they hatch,” would have been useful here. So, what do we do now, Tim? Should we just kick a few more thousand working Minnesotans off of their healthcare insurance? You didn’t seem to care too much about the first forty thousand, what’s a few thousands more? As long as it keeps David Strom and Karl Rove happy, it’s probably a good idea for you. Or maybe we could raise the nursing home fees, or pass on the cuts to our middle schools and high schools, or just charge the students at the University of Minnesota a few more thousand dollars a year in tuition? These all seem like viable options; surely they are better ideas than having all of us chip in our fair share to keep our standard of living highest in the nation, like we used to do. That, my fellow Minnesotans, would be profoundly stupid.
We here at PE usually strive to be a little more original then this, but when I read this piece in the City Pages...I just had to share
Tim Pawlenty's false populism
Comforting the Comfortable
by Britt Robson - May 18, 2005
Was it really only four months ago that Gov. Tim Pawlenty was lecturing legislators in his 2005 State of the State speech? "When it comes to spending the people's money, we shouldn't be afraid of the people," he declared on January 18. "Today, I'm proposing what I call, 'Turbocharged--Truth in Taxation.'"
A scheme to starve the beast of government, "Turbocharged" would include three postcards along with every Truth in Taxation Form that is currently mailed to Minnesotans as a means of explaining how much of their money goes to taxes. The postcards--"one each for the county, city or township, and school district," Pawlenty explained--would enable taxpayers to mail in a "no" vote if they think a levy increase goes beyond a reasonable level.
"If significant dissatisfaction is registered, a levy referendum on the amount of increase above a certain level will be triggered," Pawlenty continued. "We've got to trust the people. So once again I ask the Legislature to pass a carefully drawn and limited form of Initiative and Referendum. We need to allow the people the chance to directly speak on the major issues of the day."
By late April, of course, the major issue of the day was a proposal to increase the Hennepin County sales tax so that $353 million of the people's money could be spent on a new stadium for the Twins. But state law currently stipulates that such a move be put to a referendum--exactly the mechanism Pawlenty championed in January, and supposedly wants to expand, as a means of holding politicians accountable for their spending decisions. Ah, but this windfall of tax dollars would flow not to school district classrooms, or county hospitals, or city-or-township police forces--but to billionaire Carl Pohlad, the richest man in the state. And with surveys once again showing overwhelming public resentment of this unique form of corporate welfare, Tim Pawlenty suddenly didn't much care about "trusting the people" anymore. Sure, he'd prefer that the issue be put to the people, Pawlenty told reporters. But, he cavalierly added, the portion of the stadium proposal that expressly overturned the requirement for a referendum "is not a deal breaker."
Pawlenty's paper-thin populism was again on display last week, when he worked himself into a lather over the Senate DFL's proposal to raise taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans. Never mind that the governor's own bean counters in the revenue department have determined that the richest 5 percent of the state population will endure a much lower tax burden than the blue-collar folk that Pawlenty pretends he wants to protect, or that the added revenue would go primarily toward education and health care for the middle class and working poor. Pawlenty memorably labeled the proposal "profoundly stupid" and claimed it would be a "job killer" for the state.
Not surprisingly, the governor cited no economic data to support his "job killer" charge. In fact, numerous studies have indicated that, if anything, states with high tax rates also enjoy robust economies. Certainly that has been the case in Minnesota, which emerged as a regional economic powerhouse during the last half of the 20th century at precisely the same time it was garnering a reputation for high taxes and liberal spending on education.
Now that Pawlenty and his "no new taxes" crew have held sway for the past few years at the Capitol, the state's record of job creation is not so stellar. According to the latest figures on the website operated by Pawlenty's Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota Labor Market Index has grown by 2.8 percent over the past year. The U.S. Labor Market Index is up 3.1 percent over the same period.
Put simply, Governor Pawlenty is less adamant about providing a check-and-balance on tax dollars for Pohlad than he is on tax dollars for schools. And he isn't afraid to use hyperbolic and factually inaccurate language to oppose proposals to make Pohlad and peers bear the same tax burden as the rest of us. On the other hand--as recent polls have shown Pawlenty's approval rating holding at 56 percent while his no-new-taxes policy is unpopular with Minnesotans--he really is a nice guy, isn't he?
It’s not just us. Tim’s little ATV embarrassment is getting ink and air all over the state. Now, mainstream (not just bloggers) editorials are weighing in. Check out the Duluth Tribune’s piece.
This pat weekend, Tim Pawlenty was tear-assing around Grand Rapids on an ATV when he ran into a tree stump. The ATV, a 2005 model belonging to Polaris Corporation, sustained $2,500 in damages, roughly a third of its cost.
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung quickly leaped to Tim’s defense. "The governor just happened to clip (the stump) with the corner of the ATV and that was enough to take it out.”
Pawlenty was not cited, but Department of Natural Resources supervisor Ken Soring said the governor was likely going too fast for the difficult terrain.
I suppose we should all breath a sigh of relief that Tim wasn’t attending a gun show.
Think about what McClung says. “The Governor just happened to clip it…” Just happened. Like he was driving along like any responsible ATV operator, completely in control of his machine, when he just happened to hit a stump. Note the passive language, deflecting responsibility. Tim didn’t hit the stump so much as the ATV kinda, sorta hit the stump.
This is right out of a Jerry Springer episode. “Jerry, I didn’t mean to sleep with my wife’s mom, it just happened. All seventeen times.”
Wouldn’t it be neat if we had a Governor who owned up to his mistakes? Who said, “Folks, I don’t ride ATVs that much and I was going a lot faster than was safe. I hit a stump that I should’ve seen. I wrecked an ATV that doesn’t belong to me but I’m paying for the damage I caused. It’s embarrassing to learn this lesson at my age and stage in life but I hope other people learn from my mistake.”
But, no, Tim didn’t say that. Instead, his toady said that Pawlenty’s accident just happened. Sort of like the way Tim governs our state. All those failing roads? They just happened. Our overcrowded, under funded schools? They just happened. Skyrocketing local property taxes? They just happened.
I guess Tim’s ATV accident isn’t so surprising.
Minnesota Democrats Exposed, our host site blogmate and the Minnesota Republican Party’s plausibly-deniable blog monkey boy, is shocked, SHOCKED, that PE explores the logical extension of Tim Pawlenty’s half-baked rhetorical assertions.
Let’s revisit the situation. At a recent ethanol bill signing pageant, Tim Pawlenty crowed that Minnesota (and perhaps he was overreaching here) is the Saudi Arabia of renewable fuels. We, in turn, asserted that if Tim’s claim is true, then Tim is the new Osama bin Laden.
Explaining a joke always kills the humor but since MDE has lost his usual wit in this case (side note to MDE: we loved the Steve Kelley civility standard pieces), we’ll explain.
Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East. It is not a democracy. The ruling Saud family embraces Wahhabi fundamentalism, a puritanical Islamic sect. The Saud family is tight with the Bush family. Saudi Arabia produces a lot of oil. Osama bin Laden’s father became wealthy building stuff for the Saud family. Osama bin Laden, biting the hand that fed him, is determined to overthrow the Saud family. Saudi Arabia stripped bin Laden of his citizenship and kicked him out of the country. Things went downhill from there.
So -and follow me here- Saudi Arabia produces a lot of oil but it also produced Osama bin Laden. Tim Pawlenty wants Minnesota to produce renewable fuels to the same degree that Saudi Arabia produces oil. Just as Minnesota produces more than ethanol, Saudi Arabia produces more than oil. Tim is a product of Minnesota’s strong public schools but he’s turned against the very policies that facilitated his rise, just as Osama bin Laden rejected Saudi society. Both men are pursuing a dark, destructive vision. It’s not the same kind of destruction, of course, but that’s where satire comes in.
Mostly, however, I think Tim’s “Saudi Arabia” declaration is just plain dumb; that it merits skewering. So if Tim broadly claims one comparison, I think it’s funny to assert a parallel one.
I hope this clarification, MDE, makes the joke funnier.
I was reading the newspaper this morning and came across this beauty in the Star Tribune. “Pawlenty involved in ATV crash”
Now is it just me, or does this remind you of the very first episode of “The West Wing”?
In it, the President falls off a bicycle, and the SOS goes out to staff, “POTUS fell off bicycle.” I can just see it now…beepers all over the capitol went off with “the Governor fell off an ATV.”
After all, Two-Faced Tim is so focused on being President; maybe that is what he was thinking about while he was speeding on his ATV.
And if Timmy and his staff fancy themselves after the staff of The West Wing, does that mean Dan McElroy is the closet alcoholic (Leo) or did he accidentally sleep with a call girl last night (Sam).
Either way, sure will make some good TV.
If Minnesota is on its way to becoming the Saudi Arabia of renewable fuels, then Tim Pawlenty is the new Osama bin Laden.
“The Saudi Arabia of renewable fuels.” He really said that. What’s next? Minnesota: the Kuwait of Ethanol. The United Arab Emirates of Biomass. The Syria of Sugar Beets. The Lebanon of Learning. The Iran of Schools.
Rhetorically, Tim’s on to something here.
Parked in front of St Paul’s Grand Avenue Super America gas station, surrounded by black shirts, enabled by portly State Representative Greg Davids, Tim signed the new ethanol bill into law.
Ethanol, if you haven’t heard, is the newest farm subsidy. This bill, requiring all gas sold in Minnesota to eventually contain twenty percent ethanol, enjoyed wide-ranging support. It’s the feel-good hit of the legislative session and who can blame Tim for wanting to crash one more party? Anyway, implementation requires a federal government waiver. The feds won’t sign. The ethanol requirement lives to be flogged to death another time.
I hope stays with the comparative perspective. Minnesota could become the Russia of hospitals. The Burma of dentistry. The Uganda of roads. The Kansas of Science.
So many empty platitudes; so little time.
Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, reacting to the State Senate Majority Caucus’ tax proposal, uttered the phrase, “profoundly stupid.” Just when we thought that Jesse’s head scratching declarations couldn’t be surpassed; Tim establishes a new low in political rhetoric.
Tim believes that wealthy folks shouldn’t pay their fair share; that, as Scottie Fitzgerald wrote, the rich are different from you and me. Although Minnesota generally and St Paul specifically fall all over themselves embracing Fitzgerald, you don’t have to dig too deeply to strike Fitzgerald’s vein of loathing, resentment, and ambivalence about his birth place. Tim and Scottie share that special reverie that some reserve for wealth. Fitzgerald lionized the well-heeled in literature. Tim Pawlenty uses the state tax code.
But “profoundly stupid”? That’s it? That’s the best he can do to preserve privilege?
Let’s think this through.
First, is “profoundly stupid” redundant? Gradations of stupidity, previously used to describe developmental disorders, assigned cognitive capacity. “Imbecile” or “moron” once referred to a specific mental condition. Now discredited, the language remains but applies broadly as an insult rather than narrowly as a diagnosis. So, yes, “profoundly stupid” is redundant. Even back in the day.
Secondly, Tim’s dismissive declaration is an ad hominem attack on those proposing the change. Rather than simply refute the Senate Majority’s proposal as poor policy or note damaging potential results, Tim attacks the messenger. The proposal is bad, in other words, not because it’s a bad idea but because the writers are bad people of low character. Granted, Tim’s cagier than that but fundamentally Tim’s attacking Senator Dean Johnson and not Johnson’s ideas.
I guess Tim must be worried about something, lowering himself to this level. He’s not profoundly stupid, after all; he’s just stupid.
Two days ago, Arizona’s Minutemen Anti-Immigrant Vigilante squad declared victory, packed their radios, binoculars and thirty aught-sixes, and trooped home. Apart from wasting Border Patrol time and resources, the Minute Man Project didn’t accomplish much. Illegal workers -the folks washing your dishes, mowing your lawn, and picking your produce- kept pouring across the Mexican/US border, hustling to get to work.
Citizen driven enforcement improvement isn’t the point, though. It’s all about attention. The Minute Man Project provided a stellar opportunity for rightwing posturing.
What’s this have to do with Tim Pawlenty? I’m glad you asked.
Minnesota’s Canadian border is radically more porous than Arizona’s Mexican border. Tim is a master of the policy proposal that he has absolutely no intention of implementing yet reaps extraordinary media benefit. Put these two things together. What do you get?
Minute Man North, brought to you by Governor Tim Pawlenty. As I see it, Tim covers several bases. First, Tim’s not going to nail down a GOP presidential endorsement by being soft on illegal immigrants. Second, as we all know, illegal Canadian immigration is the greatest threat to America since the Mexicans, Soviets, and Nicaraguans. It’s bigger than Osama Bin Laden.
Third, he stirs up national press. Fourth, he screws with environmental activists by allowing volunteer enforcement agents to use outboard motors in the BWCA while establishing a skirmish line. Fifth, and my personal favorite, Tim gets to practice the Wendy Anderson with a walleye “good life” shot for Time magazine.
There’s just no down side here, at least for a ruthless, unprincipled political sleaze. Some of you may find this naked posturing unconscionable but Tim’s not that kind of guy.
Tim may not have thought of Minute Man North, what with all his Presidential travel. But, I’m telling you, Tim, there’s rightwing gold in that thar snow.
Tim will grasp this immediately. But, he needs to get moving before Canadians shift to canoes, rather than walking across frozen lakes. If one of this staff toadies redrafts my post as a memo, I won’t complain. In fact, I’ll consider it as my contribution to Tim’s weasel greatness.