Thursday, May 14, 2009

Governor Pawlenty Steps Up and Leads. (Again)

No tax cuts, no overly bloated budgets, no special session.

Governor Pawlenty made it very clear this afternoon that the political games and posturing in Minnesota have to stop. The legislature has had since January to prepare a real balanced budget that is worthy of a gubernatorial signature, and now that we are mere days from the constitutional deadline, it is clear there is no way the legislature will get that done.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he will use line-item vetoes and his authority to pull back spending to balance the state budget.

He said there will be no special session or government shutdown.

The Republican governor said he would prefer to work out a budget deal with Democrats who control the Legislature, but he says they are spending more than the state has. (Article Excerpt, click here for entire article)

The legislature put up a tax bill recently that they knew the governor was going to veto. Because of this, they cannot possibly (or constitutionally) fund all of the spending they are putting into the budget bills.

Practically, all of this could have been resolved by the legislature putting together a responsible budget months ago. But now that we are 3 days before the end of session, the only real way to come to a legislative conclusion would be to force a special session. That has its own, wasteful costs. The governor surprised the legislature today and is going to take the spending they give him and utilize the tools the constitution gives him to line-item what he can and unallot what he must.

So at the end of the day, Minnesota will have its constitutionally mandated balanced budget, and the tax burden will stay onerous (the Constitution doesn't allow him to cut taxes on his own), but at least not increase.

Thanks Gov!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Will Biden Choice Push McCain Further Towards Pawlenty?

I got the text message this morning. Yes, Barack Obama sent me a text to tell me that he had chosen Joe Biden to run as his Vice Presidential Candidate.

So Obama/Biden will likely pick up Delaware. (Relax, Delaware, I'm just playing)

There is going to be a lot of armchair analysis over the next 24 hours about what this does for the race and what this does for McCain and his Vice Presidential choice. So I'll provide mine as well.

I think the choice of Biden makes it considerably more likely that Governor Pawlenty will be Senator McCain's choice.

I'm going to set aside for a moment that Biden has said Obama isn't ready, and the Biden HAS said the country would be better off with McCain. (Those two items being reasons why Obama might not have made a smart move here since both of those two statements will be repeated ad naseum). Everyone knows that Governor Pawlenty has been a steadfast, loyal McCain supporter, and that makes it much easier for him to campaign aggressively (because he believes in the campaign and Biden simply doesn't).

The choice of Biden makes Pawlenty the obvious choice because the contrast between the two at this point in history gives Governor Pawlenty every advantage in the world.

I'm sure Democrats will say Biden has more foreign policy experience than the Governor. Who cares? Seriously. I'm going to take this inept argument off the table right now. Governor Pawlenty, if chosen, will be running with Senator John McCain. Senator John McCain will obviously lead the team on all things foreign policy, and even with Biden's level of experience, Senator McCain has more credibility and knowledge on foreign policy issues than Biden and Obama combined.

This election is going to be about Jobs and Energy, and there are few in the country as prepared to talk about hope, the future, and better yet actual results on these issues as Governor Pawlenty.

I've written it before, but Governors across the country are watching to see what Governor Pawlenty does on Energy, and are following his lead. Governor Pawlenty recognizing a balanced approach of domestic exploration, Americanization of energy, along with Conservation and renewables is the only path towards the kind of energy policy that is critical right now.

And Governor Pawlenty, with his veto pen, has been THE leader fighting pork and wasteful spending. His veto pen compliments McCain's crusade over the years against earmarks and pork. This would be an amazing team on the issue of jobs and the economy. Governor Pawlenty ensures the GOP ticket will be able to walk all over this Obama/Biden ticket on issues of jobs and the economy.

Lastly, for those of you who don't know Governor Pawlenty, he is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth, normal people you could ever know. He grew up in a family with deep, deep blue collar roots and became governor of the state of Minnesota the old fashion way, he worked for it.
Biden is commonly known to be one of the more elitist and most arrogant members of the Senate.

When the two of them stand together in a Vice Presidential Debate, the contrast will not be more stark.

What a great opportunity for McCain.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Does VP T-Paw Put McCain Over the Top? (2.0)

By all accounts, this presidential race appears to be heading towards a razer thin margin of victory, with the victor being totally up in the air.

Today, Barak Obama announced that he has made his decision on who he will choose as his Vice Presidential Runningmate.

So with Senator McCain making this race a virtual tie, how does he capitalize on this clear momentum and put himself over the top come November?

One clear way is to choose a runningmate of his own who will bring him a swing state (and better yet the swing region of Minnewisowa)

New polls and non-partisan analysis once again show that choosing Governor Pawlenty could put Senator McCain over the top in Minnesota, a state that hasn't voted Republican for President since 1972.

A Republican presidential candidate hasn't won in Minnesota since 1972. But Jacobs said the poll found McCain might be able to reverse that trend, if he selects Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his vice presidential running mate. One in four of the undecided voters and initial-Obama supporters said they'd back a McCain-Pawlenty ticket.

"We were quite impressed by the impact that Gov. Pawlenty has on McCain's chances," he said. "Our analysis suggests that the McCain ticket jumps by 13 points by adding Gov. Pawlenty to the ticket. That is quite an impact." (emphasis ours), excerpted from article, click here to read the article in its entirety.

Thirteen points is a dramatic jump.

Perhaps McCain gets 13 points because Governor Pawlenty delivers on all of the issues that rise to the top of well publicized public opinion polls.

Jobs -- Governor Pawlenty is the quintessential "Sam's Club Republican." He knows Republican ideas and republican values work because they defined his life and his deep blue collar roots.

Energy -- Governors from both parties look to Governor Pawlenty for guidance and leadership on the development of a balanced, domestic energy plan. The left has an approach, the right has an approach, and the country is crying out for a balanced approach; Governor Pawlenty's approach.

Taxes -- Governor Pawlenty solved the largest per capita deficit in the country without raising taxes. In Washington, as in Minnesota, Government doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Republicans and Democrats alike in Washington have an appetite for pork that has grown exponentially over the past few years. During those same years, Governor Pawlenty set records in Minnesota for vetoes (setting aside entirely the wasteful spending that didn't even make it close to his office out of fear of a veto).

The bottom line is that the issues of the day are the issues of Pawlenty.

To marry that with a critical geographic advantage for Senator McCain with Governor Pawlenty at his side makes it more and more likely that we will see Governor Pawlenty in Ohio for Senator McCain's Birthday.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pawlenty Rocks National Press Club

Governor Pawlenty spoke earlier today at the National Press Club, and clearly displayed for the nation why he is the future (and in many ways the here and now) of the Republican Party.

Pawlenty, seen by many as one of the top contenders to be Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential running mate, said the Sam’s Club Republican represents a present-day analogue to the Reagan Democrat.

“Sam’s Club Republicans feel like they’ve been disenfranchised,” he said.

When asked what the Bush administration had done wrong, Pawlenty stressed that the party had gotten away from a focus on ideas, like the Contract with America.

“ 'Compassionate conservatism’ has to be about more than a label,” he said. “The idea factory has been less robust than it should have been.”

Specifically, Pawlenty emphasized a new approach to education. He said it is a “near-scandal” that higher education isn’t properly preparing students to be teachers, and he advocated online courses as the cost- and time-efficient education of the future. (Excerpt from article)

The biggest criticism of Governor Pawlenty's speech has been that Governor Pawlenty was complimentary about Obama's optimistic tone.

Which goes to the very point of this whole discussion about Governor Pawlenty, his vision, demeanor and leadership style, and exactly why the Grand Old Party has morphed so dramatically into the Party of Pawlenty.

Governor Pawlenty frequently talks about the "Sam's Club Republicans;" those disaffected blue collar, working class voters who share the values of the Republican Party (faith, family, freedom and the like) but have seen a GOP painted as the "Country Club Party."

I won't dwell on the glaringly obvious (that the Liberal Elite who make up the brunt of the Democratic Party are exactly who one would expect to see at the stereotypical Country Club, and exactly the type who wouldn't dare show themselves at a Sam's Club).

In a high-energy performance before the National Press Club in Washington today (Aug. 6), Gov. Tim Pawlenty humorously ducked The Question — his vice presidential ambitions — but otherwise spoke on Sam’s Club Republicans, a perceived thinness in Barack Obama, and numerous national issues.


Republicans needed to do better in appealing to the young voters— the party needs a message and messengers, he said.

He spoke of a belated party focus on the environment, conservation and energy but one that’s emerging.

Republican leaders also need to show interest in international compassion — another focus of the young, Pawlenty opined.

But Pawlenty warned that the evangelical vote is one that Republicans should continue to seek. “It’s not a vote to be taken for granted,” he said.

Although the Associated Press in a story indicted that Pawlenty had offered positive comments about Obama — that people gravitate toward positive leaders — before the press club Pawlenty said he had mentioned McCain in the same sentence.

Pawlenty contrasted McCain and Obama by saying the former had a real life story while the latter had oratory.

“Not even a close call in my book,” Pawlenty said of the perceived difference. (Excerpted from article, click here to read article in its entirety)

If this was an audition, a call back is inevitable.

I think this was more likely the show, and we'll see encore after encore after encore from Governor Pawlenty.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Huckabee for Pawlenty

Former Governor of Arkansas and recent Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee declared on Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes last night that if he had to pick Senator McCain's running make, "I'd go Pawlenty"

For someone who himself has consistently been rumored to be on the short list to say he thinks McCain should pick Governor Pawlenty is pretty incredible.

Monday, July 28, 2008

National Review: McCain to Pick Pawlenty

"A source tells me that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is John McCain's choice, and that the announcement is coming very soon. But I checked with the American Legislative Exchange Council, who Pawlenty is scheduled to address Wednesday at 11:30. As far as they know, his speech is still on." Source: National Review Online, July 28, 2008

Click here for the complete post.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Quinnipiac Poll, Enhancing Pawlenty VP Buzz?

Is a new Quinnipiac Poll an indication of all of the Pawlenty VP Buzz?

If you live in Minnesota, you can't pick up a paper or turn on the radio and not hear about Governor Pawlenty being at the top of the top of Senator McCain's short list for VP.

A few weeks back we posted on some polling showing that Governor Pawlenty was best positioned to help McCain pick up Minnesota, a feat that hasn't been accomplished by a GOP Presidential Candidate since 1972.

Indulge me for a moment.

Let's set aside the following as givens:

  • Governor Pawlenty is a young, vibrant new voice for the GOP
  • Governor Pawlenty will excite and energize the Christian Conservative base.
  • Governor Pawlenty has reshaped Minnesota with fiscal restraint and the most taxpayer friendly administration in the history of Minnesota.
  • Governor Pawlenty with his "Sam's Club Republican" vision and his deep blue collar roots has an uncanny ability to talk to disaffected voters.
  • Governor Pawlenty has been a loyal McCain supporter during the most difficult times of the campaign.
  • Governor Pawlenty is an Outside-the-Beltway Reform minded Governor who would compliment Sen. McCain's "stand strong against the beltway, reform minded" senate Record.
  • Mary Pawlenty is awesome!

Let's set those aside as given, because they are.

With all of the growing buzz surrounding Governor Pawlenty, let's take a look at raw numbers.

Today, a Quinnipiac Poll was released that shows a dramatic closing of the gap between Obama and McCain. In fact, McCain is only down two points in Minnesota, and the polling continues to move in the right direction here and in surrounding states.

Everyone knows that Governor Pawlenty will be able to walk into states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio and look voters in the eye to talk about economics, jobs, health care and all of the pocket book issues that the GOP needs to win back in order to be successful this election.

Adding that to the increasing evidence that Senator McCain will have a legitimate shot at Minnesota (probably more likely than not now) with Pawlenty on the ticket, and it is no wonder Governor Pawlenty is the likely choice.

If Governor Pawlenty can bring to McCain more electoral votes, and a more personal story to disaffected blue collar voters and Christian Conservatives, the fact that he has been a loyal McCain supporter throughout will just be icing on the cake.