In praise of Pawlenty

Settled by many Scandinavians and Germans who arrived with European, especially Bismarckian, notions of social democracy, Minnesota has furnished leaders of American liberalism — Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone. In the four decades before Pawlenty was elected governor in 2002, the average two-year increase in state spending was 21 percent. During his tenure, the average annual increase has been 2 percent. He says that the current two-year budget cycle will be the first in 150 years in which spending will be cut in real, constant dollars…

A libertarian think tank ardent for government both limited and frugal, Cato gives A grades for fiscal responsibility to only four governors — Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Pawlenty, the only one governing a blue state…

Because Minnesota was the one state that President Ronald Reagan did not carry in his 1984 contest with native son Walter Mondale, it is the only state that has voted Democratic in nine consecutive elections. So it might seem to be a strange base for a Republican candidacy. But the candidate who carries the states of the Mississippi Valley — basically, the Midwest — usually wins the White House. Two other Republican practitioners of Midwestern conservatism are considering presidential runs — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and South Dakota Sen. John Thune.