The era of small government is over . . . government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.
~ Tim Pawlenty, 2006
By Gary P Jackson
On Monday liberal “Republican” Tim Pawlenty will officially announce his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Pawlenty and his supporters will tell you that he’s a good Conservative leader and ramble on and on how this milquetoast is “the only one who can beat Obama.” Don’t fall for it.
Oh, I think Obama is incredibly beatable, and maybe a liberal like Pawlenty can pull it off, but so what? If someone like Pawlenty wins, what exactly have the American people won?
The above 2006 Pawlenty quote comes from the Wall Street Journal and an article by James Lewis entitled, Pawlenty’s Record: [emphasis mine]
“The era of small government is over . . . government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.”
— Tim Pawlenty, 2006.
Minnesota’s 47-year-old governor is now one of a handful of names being bandied about as a possible running mate for John McCain. But if the Arizona senator wants to unite conservative Republicans behind him, there are better choices.
First elected in 2002, Mr. Pawlenty got off to a good start by holding the line on taxes in the face of a $4.5 billion state deficit. That shortfall equaled 15% of the state’s $28 billion biennial budget, and the pressure on the governor to break his no-new-taxes pledge was unrelenting. Nonetheless, he showed resolve in dealing with Minnesota’s recalcitrant liberal elite.
But in 2005, signs of his “progressive” instincts emerged. In a quest for new revenue, Mr. Pawlenty supported a 75 cents per-pack cigarette tax. He called it a “health impact” fee. No one was fooled. User fees are generally charged to ensure that those who use a government service pay for the cost of providing that service. In this case, however, it was obvious that smokers were just being tapped to fund health-care entitlement programs.
Following the tax hike, the governor pushed through a state-wide smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars. Aggressive, Nanny-state government seems to be big with Republican governors these days — although policies such as smoking bans do little to stem the costly tide of state-run health care.
In 2006, liberal Democrats (there is no other kind here) proposed a universal health-care behemoth to cover all residents. Mr. Pawlenty responded with a more limited proposal to expand the state’s child health-care program, Minnesota Care, to cover all children. More recently, the governor’s Health Care Transformation Task Force recommended imposing a mandate — à la Massachusetts — on residents to buy health insurance.
On prescription drugs, Mr. Pawlenty set up the state’s RX Connect Program to import price-controlled Canadian drugs. The South St. Paul populist also advocated a temporary ban on ads paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Not exactly the stuff of which markets are made.
Not everything has been bleak for the right during Mr. Pawlenty’s tenure. Last session he vetoed several major spending bills pushed by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party; they were so profligate that his vetoes elicited barely a whimper from Minnesota’s reliably liberal media. Nevertheless, Mr. Pawlenty has presided over back-to-back biennial budget increases of 12.4% and 9.8% respectively. Last year the governor’s proposed budget survived essentially intact but still spent the state’s $2 billion surplus, with half the general fund increase going to education. Minnesota, with five million people, now has a biennial budget of nearly $35 billion.
Mr. Pawlenty’s proactive government stance extends to support for mass transit and sport stadium subsidies, as well as for hiking the state’s minimum wage, which is now $6.15 an hour for large employers (the federal minimum wage is $5.85). But it is education and the environment where Mr. Pawlenty hopes to establish his progressive bona fides.
He calls for accountability in education, but does little to buck the most powerful lobby in state politics, Education Minnesota. Indeed, Mr. Pawlenty has courted the unions, telling the Minnesota Business Partnership that “I can’t have the Republican governor talk about changing the school system without having the support and help of the teachers’ union and my friends on the other side of the aisle. It just won’t work.”
On the environment, Mr. Pawlenty imposed some of the most aggressive renewable energy mandates in the country. Other states will be requiring, in coming years, that energy producers get 20% of their electricity from “renewable” sources such as wind, solar or animal manure. In Mr. Pawlenty’s Minnesota, the state’s largest utility will be required to generate 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Mr. Pawlenty is using his influence through the National Governor’s Association to export his ideas across state lines. The NGA meets in Washington, D.C. next week. Look for Mr. Pawlenty to be on hand and stumping for renewable mandates.
In April, Mr. Pawlenty delivered the remarks that probably best reveal his views on the environment. “It looks like we should have listened to President Carter,” he told the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group. “He called us to action, and we should have listened. . . . Climate change is real. Human behavior is partly and may be a lot responsible. Those who don’t think so are simply not right. We should not spend time on voices that say it’s not real.”
At times it seems that Mr. Pawlenty’s first political instinct is to placate liberal critics, as he did following the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis last August. When Rep. James Oberstar, a Democrat, tried to exploit the tragedy that killed 13 people and injured 100 others — by blaming it on a lack of federal gas tax revenue — Mr. Pawlenty responded by calling for a state gas tax increase. Thankfully, the governor started backpedaling on that idea almost immediately after proposing it. He now promises to veto any tax increase to come out of the legislature this year (handing down one such veto yesterday).
Yes, I know that Pawlenty was “apologized” for his idiotic romance with the global warming loons, but these days that’s nothing more than Kabuki Theater. A ritualized apology that is for show only. Politicians do it all the time when normal people call B.S. on their wrongheaded ideas.
When it was rumored Pawlenty was on John McCain’s short list for VP, Michael D. Tanner at the CATO institute wrote: [emphasis mine]
The Washington rumor mill has Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as the leading candidate to be John McCain’s running mate. If so, that would be a clear slap in the face to small-government conservatives.
Tanner goes on to list some of Pawlenty’s liberal Big Government ways:
Supported government subsidized health care for all children as the first step toward universal health insurance, and opposed President Bush’s veto of a Democratic bill that would have expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP) to families earning as much as $83,000 per year.
Supports Massachusetts-style health care reform, including a “health care exchange” and an individual mandate.
Has called for banning all prescription drug advertising, and seeks government imposed price controls for drugs offered through Medicare.
Proposed a $4000 per child preschool program for low-income children.
Pushed a statewide smoking ban smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars;Increased the state’s minimum wage.
Imposed some of the most aggressive and expensive renewable energy mandates in the country.
Was an ardent supporter of the farm bill.
Received only a “C” ranking on Cato’s 2006 Governor’s Report Card, finishing below such Democrats as Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and tied with Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
Read more here.
It would appear that Pawlenty’s first instinct is always to look at a Big Government liberal way to do things. Every single time.
Oh, but Pawlenty’s supporters will protest and proclaim :”He’s changed!” Thing is, a leopard can’t change it’s spots, neither can a Big Government liberal. In April St Louis Today had this little nugget on ethanol:
During Pawlenty’s speech, he criticized Wall Street and corporate welfare, what he termed “special deals for some.”
But when asked after the speech about ethanol subsidies—which have come under fired from some fiscal conservatives, but are considered crucial in Iowa, where Pawlenty’s campaign could live or die—he hedged.
“We can’t just pull the rug out from under the industry,” he said. “There are going to have to be some changes, but we have to be fair-minded about it.”
Typical, politics over principle.
Never mind ethanol is a junk fuel, is only viable if YOUR tax dollars keep it alive, And who cares if the use of FOOD for FUEL is immoral!
The price of everything made from corn has skyrocketed because of this insane plan. People in third world countries face starvation because of it. Worse yet, it’s a very inefficient fuel. It takes more volume of ethanol to do the work of gasoline. In other words, if it takes one unit of gasoline to do a set amount of work, it will take approximately 1.5 units to do the same amount of work with a gasoline-ethanol blend.
Don’t take my word for that though. Go down to your local new car dealer. Walk over to where they have their “flex fuel” vehicles parked. Look at the federally mandated window sticker. You’ll notice these vehicles get fewer miles per gallon when ethanol is in the tank vs straight gasoline.
Katrina Trinko at National Review has even more about this: [emphasis mine]
What kind of Republican supports high tariffs on imports, dubious green tax credits, and consumption mandates to prop up unprofitable environmental darlings? The ethanol-loving midwestern kind, especially the ones running for president.
Currently, imported ethanol is slapped with a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff, while oil companies receive a 45-cent tax credit per gallon of ethanol blended into their gasoline. Both the tariff and the tax credit have just been extended for another year, thanks to a bipartisan push from Cornbelt politicians. In case these provisions aren’t enough to help the industry hobble its way to satisfying profits, lawmakers also decided to mandate that U.S. consumption of renewable fuels (which will certainly be almost entirely corn-based and cellulosic ethanol) reach 36 billion gallons by 2022. And that’s just the assistance provided on the federal level.
There are four potential midwestern 2012 Republican presidential nominees: Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, South Dakota senator John Thune, and Indiana congressman Mike Pence. When it comes to doling out favors to the ethanol industry, none of them can credibly claim his attitude was “just say no.”
Does it matter? Absolutely: As this year’s tariff and tax-credit extensions showed, even a Tea Party–driven small-government surge can’t stop politicians from kowtowing to the ethanol lobby. Further, a Republican president who is willing to carve out exemptions for ethanol interests will lack credibility when he battles spending or tax breaks benefiting other special interests. And finally, while some claim that ethanol will allow our nation to achieve energy independence, the fact that the highest approved corn-gas blend is only 15 percent ethanol (and is approved only for certain automobile models from 2007 or later) suggests that an America running on corn is unlikely in the extreme.
Let’s examine some midwestern GOP politicians’ records on ethanol.
[ …. ]
In 2008, Alaska governor Sarah Palin got the vice presidential nod, much to the disappointment of one group: the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). The group had been hoping that John McCain would pick Pawlenty, according to the trade magazine Ethanol Producer. Pawlenty, the MCGA said, had “more moderate views towards ethanol” than most Republicans. It was a telling endorsement, particularly when compared with the tongue-lashing the MCGA gave the GOP platform that year, which it considered anti-ethanol to the point of being “devastating” to the industry.
The endorsement was well deserved. Throughout his time as governor, Pawlenty has been a friend to ethanol. In 2004, Pawlenty created the JOBZ program, an innovative way to subsidize ethanol. While Minnesota was no longer approving producer payments (13 cents per gallon of ethanol) for new ethanol plants, the JOBZ program offered “a new incentive, one that many investors find nearly as alluring,” gushed Ethanol Producer. JOBZ, the magazine continued, “provides relief from corporate franchise tax, income tax for operators or investors, sales tax on business purchases and capital gains tax, and property taxes. It also provides an employment tax credit for high paying jobs.”
A year later, Pawlenty signed legislation mandating that all gas sold in Minnesota contain 20 percent ethanol by 2013, up from 10 percent. (Since the EPA has not yet approved the 20 percent blend, the mandate will most likely not go into effect in 2013.) In 2005, Pawlenty also urged other states, at a meeting of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition (which had 31 member states at the time), to mandate that all gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol by 2010.
The “E85 Everywhere” program, which promoted the 85 percent–ethanol fuel, was launched in 2006. Pawlenty wanted there to be plenty of stations where consumers could purchase E85. He requested $12 million in subsidies for gas-station owners to encourage them to offer it. State legislators balked at the sum; instead, the state began offering $1.75 million in subsidies starting in 2007. But even with the subsidies, Minnesota did not achieve Pawlenty’s goal of 1,800 E85 stations by 2010. As of 2009, the state had 351 gas stations that sold E85.
You can read about more ethanol cost and failure here.
Though not mentioned in the article, it should be noted that Newt Gingrich is said to have received as much as $300,000 for his efforts on behalf of the ethanol lobby.
If you think that’s all there is, well, think again. Remember when Sarah Palin slammed Michelle Obama’s “childhood obesity” program for bringing even more government intervention in people’s personal lives at the expense of personal Liberty and Freedom? Well, it seems that rather than side with Sarah Palin and personal responsibility, much like Big Government Statist Mike Huckabee, Pawlenty praised Michelle Obama’s overreaching Nanny State insanity.
How about instead of government trying to run every minute detail of everyone’s lives, we allow parents to do THEIR job. Oh, and bringing back physical fitness programs to all schools wouldn’t be a bad idea either!
As I look at Tim Pawlenty I see yet another Big Government liberal pretending to be a Conservative. Pawlenty and more like him are exactly the reason why the United States is in the incredible mess it’s in now.
2012 is the most important election in our nation’s history. It will decide whether the Republic survives, or becomes little more than a failed agricultural experiment.
The problem isn’t just beating Obama. With all of the anti-American things he’s doing, plus his seemingly purposeful destruction of our economy, I think you could almost grab someone randomly off the streets and give Obama a run for his money come 2012.
Thing is, we not only have to beat Obama [and his sycophantic media] but the GOP establishment liberals as well. Guys like Pawlenty are part of the problem, not the solution.
For what it’s worth, here’s Pawlenty’s less than inspiring new campaign video: