Minnesota Nice goes on ice …

posted at 2:25 pm on July 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I mulled over column topics for The Week, and I ended up dividing them into two piles: Debt Ceiling, and … Everything But the Debt Ceiling.  After doing two columns in a row about the debt-ceiling debate, I decided to look for a new topic, one that filled me with hope rather than dread. So I chose the Tim Pawlenty – Michele Bachmann feud instead, or Minnesota Nice Goes On Ice.

Is there hope to be taken from the increasingly bitter exchange? On the surface, not so much, as both sides opt for hyperbole and context trimming:

Pawlenty’s argument about Bachmann’s lack of accomplishment ignores some important context. As a member of the House minority in her first two terms, Bachmann had as much chance of getting a bill to a vote as her Democratic neighbor Rep. Keith Ellison has in this session. Bachmann has focused on developing grassroots support for the Republican Party, rising as a leader of the Tea Party movement. Given the enormous victory in the midterms that Tea Party enthusiasm helped deliver for the GOP, arguing that Bachmann’s accomplishments are “non-existent” is hardly fair. …

Pawlenty is certainly vulnerable on climate change, a position he acknowledges was a “clunker,” and which he repudiates repeatedly on the campaign trail. Pawlenty also entertained the notion of state-level individual mandates for health insurance, eventually discarding them for other approaches. However, the “era of small government” accusation is plainly false, a statement which the Minneapolis Star Tribune misattributed to Pawlenty when he was quoting a David Brooks column to refute the notion.

Was there really “very little difference” between Pawlenty’s tenure as governor and Obama’s as president? It depends on the scale. If a Minnesotan uses the spectrum of American politics over the last 40 years, then Pawlenty governed more in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, both in California and in Washington; he fought against tax increases, forced the legislature to curtail spending increases, and stared down public-employee unions in a 44-day transit strike. Only by using a spectrum that includes Joseph Stalin on one end and Atilla the Hun on the other could anyone in Minnesota say, “Yah, you betcha” to the notion that Pawlenty governed like Obama, in both direction and accomplishment.

As I conclude in the column, however, the fact that two of the Republicans have finally decided to debate one another on their records is a good sign for the primary campaign, and for Republican voters.  As much as people like to invoke Reagan’s 11th Commandment, the purpose of a primary is comparative shopping.  We’re looking not just for the candidate who can rip Barack Obama, but who can defend themselves and their own record under heavy fire from the opposing side(s).  That may not be as important as the policies they espouse and the experience they bring, but it’s a necessary skill set, and it needs to be put on display before Republicans start casting votes in primaries and caucuses a few months from now.

Ironically, the best salvos (in effectiveness if not accuracy) so far in this campaign have come from the land of Minnesota Nice.  Now that the gloves have come off between the Minnesotans, let’s see how everyone else does.

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These two bickering back and forth is giving me a migraine.

NotCoach on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I’ve been wanting to try this new Tarantula spinning reel.

Do I dare?

Bishop on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I wonder if either of them watched Barack Hussein Obowma lie his a%s off last night live on TV for fifteen minutes to the American people…

… Oh, well.

Seven Percent Solution on July 26, 2011 at 2:29 PM

As much as people like to invoke Reagan’s 11th Commandment

Unless, of course, it’s standing in the way of a good ol’ fashioned RINO hunt. Then, it’s out the window.

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Bishop on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

You sure you have large enough test?

NotCoach on July 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Pawlenty is a gnat.

faraway on July 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Pawlenty needs to go away…

OmahaConservative on July 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I’m not getting much from Pawlenty other than “Look, a week little girl!”

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 2:35 PM

*weak*

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Only by using a spectrum that includes Joseph Stalin on one end and Atilla the Hun on the other

Um, aren’t they on the same end? I’m not sure if that spectrum is as … broad as you wanted it to be.

novakyu on July 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM

However, the “era of small government” accusation is plainly false, a statement which the Minneapolis Star Tribune misattributed to Pawlenty when he was quoting a David Brooks column to refute the notion.

Part of the inaccurate quote’s longevity can be attributed to the fact that Pawlenty never challenged the accuracy of the remainder of the quote, which has also been cited on multiple occasions. (Bachmann partially quoted the remainder in her statement.) After saying “The era of small government is over,” Pawlenty is quoted in the Star Tribune as remarking, “I’m a market person, but there are certain circumstances where you’ve got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful. . . . Government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/272707/t-paw-s-notable-quote-katrina-trinko

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The one who’ll beat Teh One in 2012 has not entered the race yet.

Oh, T-Paw decided to be himself. Who did he want to be before?

Schadenfreude on July 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Move to Texas

Finding work may not be quite that simple, but it sure seems that way. While the nation’s job growth has limped along since the economic recovery began two years ago, the Lone Star State is enlarging

payrolls in Texas-size fashion.

From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas’ advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.

Schadenfreude on July 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I’ve been wanting to try this new Tarantula spinning reel.

Do I dare?

Bishop on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Go for it.

katy the mean old lady on July 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM

OT but On Topc too

Spread this around, far and wide – He lies, blatantly.

President Obama says he wonders if Republicans can say yes to anything. He’s a fine one to talk.

Americans need to understand precisely what has caused the current crisis: Barack “Don’t Call My Bluff” Obama’s refusal to accept a short-term hike in the debt ceiling, which Republicans support. The president is holding out for a “grand bargain” to solve the debt problem for a couple of years rather than just a few months.

That sounds statesmanlike — until you understand what lies beneath it. If Washington raises the debt ceiling only enough to last a few months, then it will have to revisit the issue next year, during a presidential election campaign. Questions about the country’s astronomical debt would draw attention to the president’s policies, which have increased federal spending 30 percent in the past three years.

Obama does not want anyone to think about the debt again until after the 2012 election. Washington could have reached a deal on a short-term debt-limit hike weeks ago — if the president were not so consumed with thoughts of himself.

Schadenfreude on July 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Another day, another piece shilling (and making excuses) for T-Paw in Hot Air.

Sorry, Ed. That hoss is ready for the glue factory.

MrScribbler on July 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM

If Atilla the Hun was born today, he would have looked around, seen who the best warriors were, and then he would have become a Marine.

PrettyD_Vicious on July 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Pawlenty reminds me of a junior high boy who makes a spectacle of himself by adopting absurd burly affectations believing they make him appear tough. He wussed the debate, so now he’s unsuccessfully trying to make up for it.

Though I’m still unsure about her, I suspect Bachmann is tougher than most realize.

flyfisher on July 26, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I’ve been wanting to try this new Tarantula spinning reel.

Do I dare?

Bishop on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

With a name like Tarantula, you’ve just got to spool it up with “Spiderwire” first.

Don L on July 26, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Can we get through one week, JUST ONE WEEK, where we are not discussing these two goofs and their idiotic bickerfest?

pilamaye on July 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

I’ve been wanting to try this new Tarantula spinning reel.

Do I dare?

Bishop on July 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

With a name like Tarantula, you’ve just got to spool it up with “Spiderwire” first.

Don L on July 26, 2011 at 2:57 PM

As punishment for even bringing this up, I present the following line:

“I see deadly BLACK TARANTULA!”

You will now spend the rest of the day with DAY-O!” playing in your heads!

pilamaye on July 26, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Move to Texas

Finding work may not be quite that simple, but it sure seems that way. While the nation’s job growth has limped along since the economic recovery began two years ago, the Lone Star State is enlarging

payrolls in Texas-size fashion.

From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even by a more conservative estimate that omits states with net job losses, Texas’ advances make up 30% of the 1 million additions in the 34 states with net growth.

Schadenfreude on July 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM

We did-thank you.
I’ve got 38 hours this week. Not bad for a PART-time position.
*HUGE grin*

annoyinglittletwerp on July 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Hey Bishop: Be nice to me or I’m going to sic a Bishop-gnawing prairie dog on you.
Spider-Schmider.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 26, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Ummmm, aren’t we supposed to be fighting Obama and big government?

Eyes on the prize, people.

Pablo Snooze on July 26, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Well, Tim Pawlenty is the one who starts these spats. It gets him media attention.

I also noticed that he’s only poked at the girls — Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

DaydreamBeliever on July 26, 2011 at 3:12 PM

I don’t care how either one of them does. Neither of them show a level of maturity that is DESPERATELY needed in the White House. D E S P E R A T E L Y!

scalleywag on July 26, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Another day, another piece shilling (and making excuses) for T-Paw in Hot Air.

Sorry, Ed. That hoss is ready for the glue factory.

MrScribbler on July 26, 2011 at 2:52 PM

If Timmy has his way, the glue factory will be heavily regulated by a “proactive, more aggressive” government and it’s equipment will run on government-subsidized ethanol.

whatcat on July 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Pawlenty is second only to Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney in unforced errors. Actually, I take that back, Mitt is still managing to raise money and hold on (barely) to the lead in a lot of the polls. Pawlenty, like Daniels, hasn’t even gotten out of the gate yet.

Y-not on July 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

They’re acting the the two kids who have to be separated at family gatherings. It’s very annoying and actually a pretty pathetic way to run a campaign if you have any hopes of looking relevant.

scalleywag on July 26, 2011 at 3:22 PM

If Timmy has his way, the glue factory will be heavily regulated by a “proactive, more aggressive” government and it’s equipment will run on government-subsidized ethanol.

whatcat on July 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

As long as the glue is fairly traded by blue-collar union workers.

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM

As long as the glue is fairly traded by blue-collar union workers.

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Or fairly sniffed by union workers.

whatcat on July 26, 2011 at 3:27 PM

If a tree falls in the forest… :)

OnlyOrange on July 26, 2011 at 3:41 PM

T-Paw’s bags are getting heavy he is looking for help carrying them.

IowaWoman on July 26, 2011 at 3:41 PM

I don’t care how either one of them does. Neither of them show a level of maturity that is DESPERATELY needed in the White House. D E S P E R A T E L Y!

scalleywag on July 26, 2011 at 3:13 PM

You’re right. We need someone who delivers policy via Facebook updates and appearances on “Hannity.”

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I’m not getting much from Pawlenty other than “Look, a week little girl!”

MeatHeadinCA on July 26, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Then you’re not paying attention.

MJBrutus on July 26, 2011 at 3:57 PM

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Another convert!!!

Gohawgs on July 26, 2011 at 4:12 PM

MJBrutus on July 26, 2011 at 3:57 PM

No one is, that’s (one of) T-Paw’s problem…

Gohawgs on July 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

You’re right. We need someone who delivers policyvia Facebook updates and appearances on “Hannity.”

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

FYI, scalleywag is not a Palinista. However, if your intention was simply to offer a non sequiter opinion regarding Palin, I guess his post is as good as any to piggyback.

Kataklysmic on July 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

No one is, that’s (one of) T-Paw’s problem…

Gohawgs on July 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

True dat. He’s put forward the best and most specific plans. However, as you say, he cannot get the word out and I’m feeling that he’s close to running out of time to make a splash. If he doesn’t do it soon I fail to see how he can do it later and become competitive.

MJBrutus on July 26, 2011 at 4:29 PM

I fnd it interesting that when given the opportunity to go after the biggeer dog in the fight, Romney, Pawlenty whimped out in the republican debate. Now he takes cheap digs at Bachmann; her migraines and experience etc. Is he playing the stalking horse here? And could he be looking at Vice President Pawlenty under Romney? Just thinking out loud.

Mr A on July 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

As much as people like to invoke Reagan’s 11th Commandment

Unless, of course, it’s standing in the way of a good ol’ fashioned RINO hunt. Then, it’s out the window.

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Or yet more poo-flinging at Palin supporters, as in:

You’re right. We need someone who delivers policy via Facebook updates and appearances on “Hannity.”

KingGold on July 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Love that whininess there about the RINO-hunting though. That’s…cute.

ddrintn on July 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I think Little Timmy is mad at Michele being in the race because she cannot pick him as VP. And he so wants to be VP.

meci on July 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

meci on July 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

He could well bring MN with him as a Veep, which would make him an excellent choice. There is no chance that MB could say that.

MJBrutus on July 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM

This is Tim being silly. There’s nothing good about it.

David Blue on July 26, 2011 at 7:48 PM

He could well bring MN with him as a Veep, which would make him an excellent choice. There is no chance that MB could say that.

MJBrutus on July 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM

I wouldn’t get overwhelmingly excited imagining the Gopher State’s whopping 10 electoral votes going to the GOP; the last time that happened was in 1972, Nixon v. McGovern.

Even favorite son and former VP Walter Mondale barely won it hanging by the slimmest of threads of 3,800 votes in 1984.

whatcat on July 26, 2011 at 9:52 PM

the fact that two of the Republicans have finally decided to debate one another on their records is a good sign for the primary campaign, and for Republican voters. As much as people like to invoke Reagan’s 11th Commandment, the purpose of a primary is comparative shopping. We’re looking not just for the candidate who can rip Barack Obama, but who can defend themselves and their own record under heavy fire from the opposing side(s). That may not be as important as the policies they espouse and the experience they bring, but it’s a necessary skill set, and it needs to be put on display before Republicans start casting votes in primaries and caucuses a few months from now.

THIS. Let the skirmishes begin so we can pick the strongest champion to challenge Obie and his LSM army.

AH_C on July 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM

Let the skirmishes begin so we can pick the strongest champion to challenge Obie and his LSM army.

AH_C on July 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM

Unfortunately, in Pawlenty’s case he refuses to take on the big boys (Romneycare) but he is obsessed with beating up on the girls on Mitt’s behalf, in hopes of being Romney’s VP pick.

whatcat on July 27, 2011 at 12:41 AM