Politico Now Just Running Pawlenty Campaign Ads

With such hard hitting stories as “Is Obama TOO faithful to his wife?,” and “Is Obama TOO respectful to foreign leaders, by pronouncing their names correctly?,” Politico is justly regarded as the bottom of the barrel in journalistic integrity. Now the long-term goal of this “blame Obama for success” plan is coming into focus: Pawlenty in ’12!!

Their latest puff piece reads like a press release from the governor’s office: he’s “carved out a space uniquely tailored to his political persona,” offered “tough criticism of Obama” without engaging in “overheated” dialogue like Palin, supports identified fancy-sounding positions, is a “quieter sort who’s more about policy” and “never throws verbal bombs,” etc., ad nauseam. Not to mention, he’s balanced the state budget, three times, without raising taxes! (Wait — what? Why do you have to do that three times in two terms?)

If this tough-but-fair model of journalistic integrity sounds overly rosy, it’s because it is: Pawlenty’s little heard of on the national scene, and in his own state, where his name recognition is presumably higher, his popularity indicates that he’s a polarizing figure. In fact, he polls below Obama in a theoretical head-to-head in his own state. This is not the record of a bipartisan budget hawk: in fact, it seems his ability to balance budgets derives from his willingness to slash state refund programs while hiking state university tuition and “fees,” the latter because it’s easier to hide the real impact on students. Beating up on students has a way of hurting one’s popularity.

This is not to say Pawlenty’s not a threat. He is. Particularly if sites like Politico continue to run articles ghost-written by his future exploratory committee.


  1. Pawlenty didn’t even really balance the state budget three times, he re-accounted the state budget. Balancing would have been making the state’s income equal to the state’s expenses through spending cuts, tax increases, or other such changes to the real amount of money coming in and going out. What Pawlenty did didn’t adjust cash flows, it just changed the bookkeeping: this hundred million counted as 2009 revenue instead of 2010, that hundred million counted as 2010 spending instead of 2009, this hundred million swapped from one account to another counts as revenue now, etc. Standard political cooked-book accounting, but not “balancing the budget” the honest way.

  2. His “method” of balancing the budget was to refuse to negotiate with the legislature and then to use what is intended to be an “emergency” provision to slash the budget by unallotting funds, by delaying payments to the school district and the borrowing from the future.

    He has one legislative session to finish before he leaves office at the end of next year, and in the 2010 portion of the session he will be negotiating a bonding bill to pay for projects the state needs to maintain infrastructure projects.

    One of the problems I see is that the governor’s ability to tweak the budget after the legislative session has ended. He avoided the override, or the legislature’s authority to approve the budget he passed. In the waning days of the session he was not even interested in coming to a compromise. He had drawn his unreasonable line in the sand. They refused to cross it because they knew that he was playing a game with Minnesota’s future with an eye to the White House.

    He “balanced the budget” by cutting, shiftng and borrowing. And the new governor will hae a 6 billion (with a “B”) dollar deficit. He will leave behind a state budget that will force us to make the sorts of choices that California is having to face.

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