Tag: Tim Pawlenty

One Up, One Down

Tim Pawlenty is dropping out after yesterday’s disappointing result in the Iowa straw poll, which was won by Bachmann. I’m surprised. Pawlenty wasn’t too far back in the non-crazy division of the GOP field. But it’s become clear that he’s not going to overtake Romney. I suspect there are structural problems within the campaign as well.

However, as the GOP field lost one governor, it gained another in Ricky Perry. Perry’s appeal is mostly due to the decent Texas economy and his embrace of the Religious Right. He was my governor for four years and my opinion was … mixed. Just as the blame for the bad national economy should be put on decades of accumulated bad decisions, the health of Texas’ economy should be credited to decades of good ones, most notably Texas’ sensible regulation of the housing market following the real estate bubble of the 1980’s. Texas housing prices didn’t go on the roller coaster ride other areas experienced, so the housing sector didn’t take the rest of the economy with it. Low taxes have helped, but it’s easier to keep taxes low when you’ve had a series of legislatures and governors committed to keep them that way. Perry didn’t save Texas’ economy; he continued policies that have kept it healthy. This is not a model for what needs to be done on a national level.

Perry has a bad history of crony capitalism, creating slush funds to finance business ventures by the politically powerful. He also has been very cavalier in asserting the most awesome power the government has: the power to execute people. On the other hand, Texas is one of the leaders in taking a more sensible approach to crime, having reduced its prison population even to the point of closing a prison, without seeing a spike in crime.

Mixed, as I said. We’ll have to see what comes out of the debates. But right now, assuming Pawlenty really is out, this is really going to come down to Perry and Romney. In my mind, the others break down as such:

Leader, Crazy Division: Bachmann
Been Nice Knowing You: Cain, Gingrich
Wish He’d Get More Attention, but Alas: Huntsman, Johnson, Paul
Who the Hell are You Again?: Karger, Martin, McCotter, McMillan, Roemer
And the Horse You Rode In On: Santorum

Palin isn’t in yet and I’m not sure that she ever will be. If she does jump in, it will be mostly to drum up some attention and donations. But she really doesn’t strike me as a serious contender. If she were, she’d be in by now. But Perry and Bachmann have stolen her spot.

So, who will be next off the island? I mean, of the big guys. I expect Santorum to drop out soon — his campaign isn’t drawing enough to even cover expenses. Then Gingrich and Cain once the real primaries roll up. Bachman, Paul and Johnson may linger around for a while, given the passion certain segments of the GOP have for them.

Right now, I’ll continue to support Johnson and Paul. But it’s really down to Romney and Perry. And between them … hmmm.

Debate Thoughts

I sort of watched tonight’s debate, joining in about half an hour in and catching up on my RSS feed while listening. Here are a few thoughts. First, the candidates:

  • Herman Cain seems to have peaked. He wasn’t nearly as persuasive as he was in the last debate and he had difficulty on the Muslim loyalty question. He really needed to stand out tonight and he didn’t.
  • Michelle Bachmann is a serious candidate — far more serious than Sarah Palin. She’s better on the issues, smarter and more confident in her knowledge. I don’t like her positions at all. But I think she could end up as a vice-presidential candidate. I was surprised by how well she carried herself.
  • Much as I like Ron Paul, he seems tired and not nearly as refreshing as he was in 2008. There are times when he’ll say something that makes me cheer and I hope he sticks around for a while. Think of him as the libertarian conscience of the GOP.
  • When it comes to Rick Santorum, I’m not objective. The guy just annoys the fuck out of me.
  • Tim Pawlenty seems like a nice guy and his candidacy reminds me a bit of Huckabee’s. But he seems to keep getting lost in the crowd. Every time he spoke, I was like, “Oh, yeah. T-Paw is there. Huh.”
  • Newt occasionally said something interesting to wistfully remind of his early days, when he seemed likely to transform our government. As as Presidential candidate, he’s toast.
  • Mitt Romney is clearly the front-runner even though his rivals don’t seem to realize it. He was poised and presidential. He made me cringe when he got into social issues. But I still think he will win the nomination if his organizational skills are anything. He and Pawlenty were the most sane and are therefore the most likely to win the nomination. Despite the rantings of the Left, the GOP does not nominate demagogues for President. McCain, Bush, Dole, Bush, Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Goldwater, Eisenhower … all of these guys were in the conservative mainstream.
  • The one guy who I most missed was Gary Johnson. Johnson really impressed me in the first debate and I think his voice would have been wonderful in this one. He’s a saner version of Ron Paul.

    As for the issues … well, there wasn’t a lot of time to get into substance and the moderator seemed uninterested. In that situation, the debate degenerated into talking points. The culture war issues distressed me, especially the support for the Federal Marriage Amendment — the GOP’s current attempt to replace the so-called Southern Strategy as their cultural albatross. They seemed to be all over the place on the economy. The only thing I heard clearly was that whatever Obama was doing was wrong. That’s not a policy. The only one who seemed to really have a grasp of the issues was Romney, but that probably has more to do with his polish as a candidate.

    Hopefully future debates will allow longer answers and get into substance. A better format with this big a field might be to have two four-way debates among the eight candidates. Toss an issue out and let them go at it for half an hour. Then we’ll see who knows his ass from his elbow.

    More Pardon Problems

    In the last election, Gov. Mike Huckabee, aside from being a fundie to the point of distraction, suffered mightily in the press over his complicitness in an infamous pardon gaft. It seems he reduced the sentence of one Maurice Clemmons to make him eligible for parole (somehow, sentencing a 17 year old kid to 108 years in prison seemed a bit harsh). He reduced it to 47 years ( a couple of hockey seasons, right?) which kicked in the parole process. The parole board then grabbed the ball, and unanimously moved to release him after 11 years served. Well, turns out that was not a great move as Clemmons was a very bad dude. He moves to the state of Washington and commences to go medevil on the populace, committing 8 more felonies (that he was charged with), is in and out of the system despite the parole board in Washington warning that he was “highly likely to re offend”, then goes and kills 4 cops .


    Huckabee took a lot of heat over this, which I thought at the time was pretty ridiculous. Clemmons fell through monstrous cracks in the judicial system, but Huck was an easy target.

    Well, our newest GOP hat thrower is now having similar problems


    Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty urged prosecutors Wednesday to open a perjury investigation against a pardoned sex offender now facing new molestation charges in a case that could pose problems for the Republican’s presidential ambitions.

    Pawlenty asked two county attorneys to investigate whether Jeremy Giefer, 36, of Vernon Center, lied on his application for a pardon, which requires the petitioner to swear he’s been law-abiding. Pawlenty’s administration also suspended the day care license of Giefer’s wife, effective Wednesday, saying, “the health, safety, and rights of children in your care are in imminent risk of harm.”

    Pawlenty chaired the three-person board that issued the pardon in 2008, more than a decade after Giefer pleaded guilty to having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend and getting her pregnant when he was 19.


    You can read about the unfolding events there, but to me, this is really small potatoes and if this is the best the MSM and the Dem dirt diggers can find, this won’t be bad for Pawlenty.


    A 19 year old having sex with a 14 year old, not real outlandish and happens all the time. Is there anyone in the civilized world (leaving out those nutty Sharia followers) that did not know someone in high school, a freshmen dating a senior? this kind of banging comes on all the time. Is it illegal? sure, along with a thousand other things that go on with regularity. But this was not just a case of some senior hosing some younger girl, they were in love, as evidenced by the nuptials that followed. Pawlenty, along with two other guys, thought he did sufficient time and all 3 unanimously voted to pardon.

    Now the pardon process is an old and cherished tradition recognized world wide as a means or forgiveness and to lesson a penalty.

    The pardon power of the President extends only to offenses cognizable under federal law. However, the governors of most of the 50 states have the power to grant pardons or reprieves for offenses under state criminal law.


    Parole boards always take heat for some of the decisions they make, but that is part of the process. Some inmates do deserve parole, and to think that every criminal should serve every day of their sentence is unrealistic, we got no more space in our prisons.

    If Pawlenty prevails and gets the nomination, the MSM will try to hang this doggie turd around his neck and over reach about bad judgment and so forth. I don’t buy it, keep digging.

    Pawlenty Goes There

    With Mitch Daniels out, the GOP nomination is quickly narrowing, at least in the non-crazy division. And I think Tim Pawlenty just scored some big points with a speech in Iowa:

    Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a potentially risky move during his campaign launch speech in Iowa: he called for a phaseout of ethanol subsidies.

    “The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs,” said Pawlenty. “The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it.”

    Presidential candidates have been extremely loathe to criticize ethanol since Iowa is the first stop on the way to the White House. Obama bailed on them as did Gingrich. So Pawlenty deserves some credit.

    However, let’s not get too excited just yet. Pawlenty has given no indication that I can find about whether he intends to end the biggest ethanol subsidy — the mandate that we have to include this polluting, engine-grinding filth in our gas. That’s the larger concern. Gingrich, for example, once said we would end direct subsidies by going for the indirect subsidy of ethanol mandates.

    In the end, it will come down to Congress to have the stones to stop ethanol subsidies — direct or indirect. And I see little hope there. Even with the biggest fiscal crisis in our history and a crashed debt ceiling, they haven’t taken any steps against ethanol. I see little hope that they will do so under Obama or Pawlenty. After all, Bush said he would reform Social Security and the GOP congress punted on that too.

    The Replacement Killers

    None of the supposed GOP “front runners” — if there is such a thing at E-18 months — participated in last night’s GOP debate. This is probably why it was actually interesting. Feel free post your thoughts. Not much is settled at this point — we don’t even know what the issues will be in 2012. But my brief impressions of the guys who are vying for fourth place:

    • Gary Johnson does not have a chance. It’s a pity because he’s smart, libertarian and could win moderates. But he’s a little too … invisible to win the GOP nomination, especially when he’s on the stage with firebrands like Paul, Cain and Santorum. I did like him quite a bit, though and have since his gubernatorial days. Plus, how cool would it be to have a President who has climbed Everest?
    • Ron Paul reminded me of why I like him so much. Four years older and he’s still energetic and passionate. His defense of drug legalization was one of the highlights of the night. I’m not sure he’d be a good candidate given his past associations with Lew Rockwell and his somewhat kooky fiscal ideas. But having a Goldwater-esque pyrrhic victory might be just what Dr. No ordered. I really hope he stays in the field for a long time to force the other candidates to be honest. His influence has only grown.
    • Tim Pawlenty made zero impression on me. He’s trying to straddle a lot of issues, Romney-style, including creationism and cap-and-trade. I just don’t see him gaining much traction with the rank-and-file GOP. He wouldn’t be bad President, I think. But his personal appeal isn’t strong.
    • Rick Santorum reminded me that he is still a steaming bag of santorum. His Culture War positions were old ten years ago and his style is grating and sanctimonious. I do think, however, that he has a shot at the vice-presidency if a more moderate Republican (Romney, T-Paw) takes the lead. Social conservatives tend to like him and I probably dislike and slag him a lot more than he deserves.
    • Herman Cain had the best night, despite the panel’s attempts to avoid talking to him. This is really the first time he’s been on a national stage and he was clear, cogent and passionate. I disagree with Cain on a number of issues and am unconvinced that he would make a good President. But, like Paul, I hope he sticks with his candidacy for a while. He will liven up future debates. And between the two of them, they’ll make Trump look like an idiot.

    Nothing is decided at this time. Pawlenty needed a good showing to make himself a legitimate candidate and I just didn’t see it. But I think Cain and Paul showed that they belong in the debates. Paul we knew about. But his was Herman Cain’s coming out party.

    Predicting an election 18 months out is a fool’s game. But looking over the current field — last night’s five plus Gingrich, Romney, Huckabee, Huntsman, Bolton, Palin, Bachmann (I’m assuming Trump will drop out at financial disclosure time), I’ll take a stab at prediction and preference. Right now, my preference is for Gary Johnson. My prediction is still that it will be Romney.

    Now if only they could have gotten “The Rent is Too Damn High” candidate out there. (Yes, he’s running for the GOP nomination. Seriously.) Wouldn’t it be awesome to see him go up against Trump?