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.