Pawlenty: The post-shooting politicization reminds me of 2007 bridge tragedy

posted at 3:35 pm on January 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Funny, because I wanted to make that same point earlier.  In August 2007, the St. Anthony Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, killing 13 people and touching off a firestorm of controversy before the victims had all been pulled from the river.  Local politicians rushed onto the news, both local and national, to proclaim the collapse a failure caused by budget cuts (even though the bridge was actually getting a facelift at the time of its collapse) and by Tim Pawlenty’s commitment to fight tax increases.  One local crank blamed the deaths on David Strom, at the time the president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, just six hours after the collapse.

In the end, though, it turned out that the bridge collapsed because of a design flaw from the time of its construction and the lack of redundancy in the architecture, and aggravated by the work done on its deck that summer, not negligence or a lack of maintenance.  Pawlenty recalls the incident in this interview with WMAL’s Grandy Group:

“This is precisely one of the things outlined in the book is when you have a tragedy, it’s really important to get all the facts out on the table before people make judgments. One of the examples I use is when the bridge fell in Minneapolis, it was a terrible tragedy but while we were still rescuing people in the water, there was still an active rescue operation underway — we had people saying, one legislator called one of my staff people and say ‘we’re going to use this to carve the governor up politically.’ As it turns out a year later, the NTSB determined the bridge feel because of an original design flaw dating back to the 1960s, not because of some current event.”

Well, they certainly tried.   I wrote about it extensively at the time, and the first posts are probably the most germane to this point.  Former and current legislators at the state and national level, like Elwyn Tinklenburg, Amy Klobuchar, and Jim Oberstar, each took their turn at exploiting the tragedy to flog their political agendas.  However, it backfired almost immediately; a poll on hiking the gas tax eight day later showed a majority opposed to it.

What we saw then was a model for what we’ve seen over the last 48 hours.  Hopefully, it will lead to the same kind of backfire for those who indulge in the exploitation.

Note: Governor Pawlenty’s book Courage to Stand gets released tomorrow.


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Let’s hope that the meme being put forth by the left has the same traction as the claims made by them after the bridge collapse.

Somehow I doubt that will happen, though. There’s too much vitriol in ink from the left.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2011 at 3:38 PM

What we saw then was a model for what we’ve seen over the last 48 hours. Hopefully, it will lead to the same kind of backfire for those who indulge in the exploitation.

Any points scored on the backs of conservatives are worth it, no matter the cost.
/The Left, Inc.

ted c on January 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Oberstar was one of the demorat dimwits who went ballistic after the bridge collapse. Of course he’s now puttering around the garden in his underwear, muttering to himself about bike paths and resenting his recent unemployment.

I hope the backlash here is of the Wellstone-funeral variety, a wholesale voter refudiatation of the the demorat party.

Bishop on January 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Note: Governor Pawlenty’s book Courage to Stand gets released tomorrow.

Barnes and Noble better be prepared for the mob!!!!

Pawlenty, you are a good governor but will never be President. Too stale, not enough charisma. Run for Senate in 2012 instead!

picklesgap on January 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Note: Governor Pawlenty’s book Courage to Stand gets released tomorrow.

Oh my, this is the title of his autobio?

What has he done that he is free to allude to his own bravery?

Did he liberate Grenada single-handedly?

Collar Sadaam Hussein?

Kill a lion and a bear with his sling?

Serve as governor of MN?

Akzed on January 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

The incorrect accusations always seem to lean in one direction (hint:not forward!).

MayBee on January 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Oh, well ok then.

Akzed on January 10, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Note: Governor Pawlenty’s book Courage to Stand gets released tomorrow.

Oh my, this is the title of his autobio?

What has he done that he is free to allude to his own bravery?

Akzed on January 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Excellent point.

steebo77 on January 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

OT………
Tom Delay sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Knucklehead on January 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

The bridge fell because the guy who designed it in the 1960s apparently skipped a few engineering classes in the 1950s.

RBMN on January 10, 2011 at 3:51 PM

There are still a lot of liberals convinced that the bridge fell because of ‘our crumbling infrastructure’ and lack of funding and too-low taxes, etc, etc.

slickwillie2001 on January 10, 2011 at 3:51 PM

When you have no shame, scruples, or morals (re: liberals, leftists and their media enablers) you can, will, and always do exploit a tragedy. They did this in Dallas when Kennedy was killed and they have never stopped. Just like their phony support of our troops they will do anything to promote themselves and their socialist agenda. They are about power and they do not care what they do to obtain it.

skanter on January 10, 2011 at 3:53 PM

When you have no shame, scruples, or morals (re: liberals, leftists and their media enablers)

people what writes this sorta stuff ain’t like to got no brains besidenot havin shame, scruples, or morals.

that’s a big bit o’ frightened and stupid what you wrote, skanter. I woulda thunk yer mama and papa shoulda learn ya better than to make up gen’rilizations that ain’t provable or true.

audiculous on January 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Former and current legislators at the state and national level, like Elwyn Tinklenburg, Amy Klobuchar, and Jim Oberstar, each took their turn at exploiting the tragedy to flog their political agendas.

That’s why I never put it past democrats staging a tragedy or crisis.

darwin on January 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM

If any of what’s in this link is true, that sheriff is going to be looking up from the bottom of a deep well named karma.

http://thechollajumps.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/jared-loughner-is-a-product-of-sheriff-dupniks-office/

Geochelone on January 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM

happyfeet is off her meds again…

Inanemergencydial on January 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Reminded me of the Murrah Bombing when Clinton blamed conservative talk radio. It seems to have become the mantra of the left to follow Clinton’s lead to jump out in front without facts.

Personally I would love to see the vitrol leave campaigns and focus on facts but am sure that is wishful thinking. I just cannot believe how angry some people can become and be so nasty. Been on the end of some of the crap as a County Party office holder and there is not enough money to make me go through that again. Some people shouldn’t be around politics IMHO if they cannot control their temper.

We shut down our blog during the McCain campaign because of some threats from the left but then the last threat against the site came from someone from the far right. Both fringes need to CHILL!

But then I believe a member of Congress should be able to hold a Town Hall without people shouting him or her down to the point they won’t continue. Whatever happened to civility. If someone is that worked up, maybe they should stay home. Who is going to listen to someone shouting?

The idea that the people from both fringes like Code Pink and some on the right would deny the other side the right to speak is frightening.

How did it get this far and why?

PhiKapMom on January 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

I woulda thunk yer mama and papa shoulda learn ya better than to make up gen’rilizations that ain’t provable or true.

audiculous on January 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

On the contrary; liberals/leftists/et al do quite a bit to prove these generalizations true most every day.

Midas on January 10, 2011 at 4:12 PM

happyfeet is off her meds again…

Inanemergencydial on January 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Oh, that makes sense. Gracias for the reveal.

alwaysfiredup on January 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM

As it turns out a year later, the NTSB determined the bridge feel because of an original design flaw dating back to the 1960s, not because of some current event.”

So who was Governor of Minnesota during the 1960′s? Is he still around to answer for his negligence?

Steve Z on January 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM

“One of the examples I use is when the bridge fell in Minneapolis, it was a terrible tragedy but while we were still rescuing people in the water… one legislator called one of my staff people and say [sic] ‘we’re going to use this to carve the governor up politically.’”

This is completely unbelievable. Who? Who did this? Why not name him? A legislator called and divulged what opportunistic ghoulish strategy he was about to employ, and you’re protecting his identity? Right.

As it turns out a year later, the NTSB determined the bridge feel [sic] because of an original design flaw dating back to the 1960s, not because of some current event.”

“The blame game over the shooting in AZ reminds me of a time when I was completely exculpated, and so I would like to take this opportunity to remind voters nationwide of my exoneration. Remember that? I got off completely. It was not my fault at all.”

Tragedies bring out the worst in some people.

Akzed on January 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Wait, so Pawlenty wasn’t out there the night before loosening bolts and cutting wires?

Abby Adams on January 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM

PhiKapMom on January 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

After the Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton blamed talk radio and ‘the atmosphere of hate’ and all that nonsense. Clinton’s ratings spiked upward after the bombing. Liberals now believe that his ratings spiked because of his attack on Rush Limbaugh. A more rational explanation is simply a rallying around the leader, as has been experienced by any President after a disaster. Still, the theory persists that it’s the attack on Rush that did it.

Democratics now want to recreate that spike in ratings for the Bamster.

slickwillie2001 on January 10, 2011 at 4:24 PM

http://thechollajumps.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/jared-loughner-is-a-product-of-sheriff-dupniks-office/

Geochelone on January 10, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Oh, my-my-my-my-my-my…!

…. This needs a thread of it’s own.

Seven Percent Solution on January 10, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Seven Percent Solution on January 10, 2011 at 4:24 PM

That’s making the rounds. Me thinks there might be some misfeasance charges and lawsuits come outa this.

Akzed on January 10, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Tim is now seeking face time in the aftermath of this tragedy? See, I had a similar number of people killed on my watch, too, and I handled it just fine. When are people going to remember that 6 people died, including a child, and stop with the politicizing.

Kissmygrits on January 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

It makes no difference to these folks with no conscience. Matt Lauer, CNN commentators, Krugman, NYT editors all the mainstream pundants, maintain that smug look because they know they have each others backs and still control what goes out over ‘state run media.’

wepeople on January 10, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Yes I recall seeing “Tinkleandturd” on the local news station that night railing against Pawlenty and his Lt. Governor who was also headed the state transportation dept. It may have back fired eventually but not before they got her scalp.

chickasaw42 on January 10, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Just FYI, i guess, but….

Pawlenty is a weak kneed, approval seeking, moderate. Never confuse him with a leader or a guy with true conservative values.

Whenever i hear his name brought up as a contender in 2012, or ever, i get the icks. He is a pretender and a possibly a full fledged RINO angling for conservative street cred in case he decides he wants to try for the Presidency. The day he realizes that is not in the cards, mark my words, he will become another sell out who seeks love from the media and Washington elite crowd.

Sell your Pawlenty stock now, before its too late. The guy is bad news.

alecj on January 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM