Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, former two-term Republican governor of one of the bluest of the blue states and presidential explorer for the better part of a year, has a clear message for his candidacy, made official today: The country is in trouble, he knows how to fix it, he pulled his state out of a financial hole as governor and can do it for the country as President.
Pawlenty, who has a reputation and persona as a wholesome, straight-shooting Midwesterner, paints President Obama as a flimflam man who would rather tell voters what they want to her than face up to the tough realities of the country’s finances. In an op-ed published in USA Today last night, he calls Obama’s ‘hope and change’ slogan from the 2008 campaign “hopeless hype,” writing, “As a candidate for president, it would be easy for me to just tell the American people we can solve our debt crisis and fix our economy without making any tough choices. But we have now seen where that type of leadership gets us.”
So what are Pawlenty’s solutions? In the aforementioned op-ed he promises to tackle some of the toughest issues out there:
“Government money isn’t ‘free.’ Either you and I pay for it in taxes, or our children pay for it in debt. The reforms we need are not in the billions, but in the trillions of dollars. And the cuts we must make cannot just be in other people’s favorite programs.
That’s why later this week I’m going to New York City to tell Wall Street that if I’m elected, the era of bailouts and handouts for big banks is over. I’m going to Florida to tell both young people and seniors that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path and have to be changed. And, today, I’m in Iowa to speak truthfully about farm subsidies.”
He’s also playing it straight about his perceived weaknesses. “I’m not running for entertainer in chief,” the man known more for his mild-mannered, likable personality than for his dynamic speeches told NBC’s “Today” show this morning.
Pawlenty hammers the point in his op-ed, writing, “Leadership isn’t about fancy speeches and empty promises. It’s not about telling people just what they want to hear. It’s about telling the truth. Like too many Washington politicians, President Obama governs with an eye toward the next election, at the expense of the next generation. He would rather pretend there is no crisis and attack those who are willing to stand up and try to solve it rather than risk doing anything about it himself.”
Pawlenty previewed his announcement via a web video released by his campaign last night, and will spend his first day as an official candidate stumping in Iowa today. Many analysts have named Pawlenty as one of the chief beneficiaries of Mike Huckabee’s decision not to run, so his choice of location seems to indicate that he will be making a strong play for an Iowa win.
Check out Pawlenty’s ‘A Time for Truth’ video below: