(This is the second in a series of columns on potential GOP presidential contenders for 2012.)
Some Republicans and conservatives may have previously shied away from Minnesota’s Republican governor Tim Pawlenty as a potential presidential contender in 2012 because he seemed dull. But he recently has been speaking forcefully and thus he deserves a good look. Because he is not only willing to take on president Obama aggressively but is confronting his own party’s wavering liberal/centrist wing like Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John McCain and the rest who bungled the 2008 election.
Pawlenty recently said that Obama is “corrosive” to the underpinnings of our society. And that is bold language that makes Pawlenty appealing to conservatives. Because he is speaking the truth against a divisive president who considers himself above criticism.
Precisely Pawlenty said of Obama: “His solutions are federalization of policy, spending way beyond anything we’ve seen in terms of deficit or debt levels, spending the country into bankruptcy… And what’s behind it is a philosophy that government knows best, a nanny-state mentality on domestic issues that will ultimately be corrosive to the other pillars of our country — to markets, private enterprise, individual responsibility, freedom and liberty.”
On national security, Pawlenty said of Obama: “History proves that it is weakness, not strength, that tempts our enemies. And he (Obama) is projecting potential weakness, and enemies may see that and their respect may be reduced as a result of that, or worse.”
That is tough and intelligent language that Obama had better get used to because Republicans, and especially conservatives, are honing their long knives and are preparing to make sushi of the Democrats who have been saying recently that Republicans are a dying breed. And that may be backhandedly true. Because that is what some conservatives are saying as well. Because it is conservatives who are on the rise and who will save from oblivion a Republican party that is becoming more like the Democrats every day. And with Obama’s popularity falling daily, America needs a clear alternative.
And those Democrats had better study recent history because they are failing to recognize that Republicans – running often as doctrinaire conservatives like president Ronald Reagan – won a large percentage of significant elections for the 26 years between the 1980 election of Reagan and the 2006 takeover of the House and Senate by Democrats.
Because as much as the GOP has been ridiculed as lackluster after the McCain fiasco, its conservative principles have widespread appeal. A recent Gallup poll reported that 40% of Americans call themselves “conservative” and only 20% said “liberal”. Meanwhile many highly-motivated political figures like Pawlenty, commentators, and organizations on the conservative right like the Tea Party movement and Glenn Beck’s 912ers are warming up their engines, cinching their seat belts, sharpening their battle axes and waiting boldly in the wings for 2010 and 2012 when they know that the Democrats are going to lose, possibly big time.
Pawlenty recently injected himself into the news again by endorsing a conservative third-party candidate for US Congress in a special New York state election on November 3 in the 23rd district upstate. Rather than supporting the liberal Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava who is backed by Gingrich, who was picked by local Republican leaders and who favors many Obama programs including the stimulus, union card check legislation and gay marriage, Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Fred Thompson and other national Republicans backed Doug Hoffman who is on the conservative right and who opposes Obama in every way.
Hoffman lost by only 3.5 points, and now more absentee ballots are being re-counted and Hoffman could win. This would be a huge victory for conservatism. Already Hoffman’s surge is a big boost, as were the results of the November 3 election in New Jersey and Virginia, and in Maine on traditional marriage.
Simply put, conservatives are saying that enough is enough. Because these new Founding Conservatives including Pawlenty believe as Ronald Reagan did – and as Rush Limbaugh does – that if conservative principles are clearly stated, that it will draw to a winning ticket not only Republicans and independents but Democrats as well. These Democrats include working-class people who favor lower taxes and lower government spending, strong defenses, American pride, and conservative social values that the GOP increasingly is abandoning in its dash to the political left.
Pawlenty was interviewed October 27 on Neil Cavuto’s Fox cable show and he was unapologetic about his high-profile role as a Founding Conservative who wishes to re-state our American principles. Here are some excerpts of his comments about the New York state race:
“We have a very poor decision by the small group of party leaders… it wasn’t a grass-roots decision… it doesn’t even pass a minimum standard… I can’t even find an issue that she (Scozzafava) aligns with most Republicans on…. she is so far removed from even a minimum standard… this is about values and principles and ideas… ”
Here are some other statements from Pawlenty in earlier Cavuto interviews:
Pawlenty discussing the drift of the United States to the left: “…this is sadly reminiscent of the kinds of things we would expect from South America some decades ago. We’re seeing the nationalization of the auto industry… You are soon going to see the full or partial nationalization of the health care industry. You are soon going to see the nationalization, under the Obama administration, of the energy industry. And that, of course, puts the politicians and people making decisions that the market and private businesses should be making… And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You now have politicians chiding the auto industry over size of cars, what they should do, their business decisions, dealership decisions.
“…That is not the proper province for the United States Congress. That should be a private decision… This is going to be a very different country 12 or 24 months from now, and it’s headed in the wrong direction in terms of government micromanaging or intervening, and, worse yet, funding and subsidizing and taking over entire parts of our economy… This is not the United States of America that we know and love and remember. This looks like some sort of a republic from the — South America circa 1970s.”
Pawlenty on Obama’s health care plan: “His speech last night was essentially the public policy equivalent of leftover cold pizza. It was the same thing that the country’s already rejected with a few minor exceptions. So I don’t think he’s advancing the ball.… I think the American people are reacting to the notion of the federal government, first of all, busting the budget again with this proposal. I think they’re increasingly concerned about a White House and a Congress that has no boundaries when it comes to spending…
“They’re concerned about programs that they’re going to take over, not be able to afford, and then potentially ration care in the future, and things like that… Those are not irrational concerns. Even though his speech last night was soaring rhetoric, it’s going to come into collision with reality, and the reality of it is it’s a bad idea and the country can’t afford it.“
Governor Pawlenty is a good man who should be taken very seriously. He is bold. And he has no political baggage that we know of. He is a straight shooter and the type of leader who will appeal to a broad swath of Americans who will be seeking a new direction in 2012.
Pawlenty for president?
Perhaps. He is a genuine contender.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.