What to Read on Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Stands Against Clean Air — Raj Salhotra & Stephen Lacey

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty doesn’t seem to like any sort of regulation: “We need less EPA monitoring of our economy. And more monitoring of EPA’s affects on our freedom. I will require sunsetting of all federal regulations. Unless specifically sustained by a vote of Congress.”
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According to a 2010 EPA progress report: “An analysis estimates annual public health benefits of the program in 2010 alone at more than $120 billion, about 40 times the estimated cost. Power plants have decreased emissions of SO2, a precursor to acid rain, to 5.7 million tons in 2009, a 67 percent decrease from 1980 levels and a 64 percent decrease from 1990 levels.”

A Contender to Reshape GOP’s 2012 Image — Dan Balz

He argued strongly for a stay-the-course policy in Afghanistan. He opposed President Obama’s July 2011 deadline for the start of a drawdown of forces and said more troops might even be necessary to assure eventual success.

On fiscal issues, he said the administration has spent too much for too little on the economy and that, if…the president’s debt and deficit commission then offers recommendations that include any new taxes, “it’s going to be a non-starter.”

He called the new health-care law misguided and said he and most Republicans still want to repeal it and replace it with something else. He said Arizona’s new immigration law has been “wildly and irresponsibly and recklessly mischaracterized” by government officials including the president.

Is He Too Nice for His Own Good? — Michael Crowley

Ventura had left behind a $4.5 billion deficit, which Pawlenty closed not by raising taxes (which he would slash by $800 million over the course of his term) but by dramatically slowing spending. He vetoed dozens of Democratic tax-hike bills, and in 2005 he allowed a nine-day state-government shutdown rather than give in to the Democrats’ budget demands.

In 2005, Pawlenty set out to cut the generous pension benefits of the state’s mass-transit workers’ union, triggering a 44-day strike before the union cried uncle. […] On social issues, Pawlenty approved tough new abortion restrictions and gave local school boards the freedom to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

Critics say Pawlenty used accounting shortcuts, like postponing spending and accelerating revenue collection, to balance budgets. Today, Minnesota is struggling with a projected budget deficit of $5 billion, which some blame on Pawlenty. “I don’t think any governor has left behind a worse financial mess than he has,” says Arne Carlson, a Republican who was Minnesota’s governor from 1991 to 1999.

But he tends not to mention the help he got from nonconservative sources — including more than $2 billion from an Obama stimulus bill that he has trashed as “largely wasted” and a 75 cents cigarette-tax hike he swallowed to end that 2005 budget shutdown.

Pawlenty will also have to explain to conservatives his stint of activism on global warming, which in 2007 he called “one of the most important [issues] of our time.” He signed bills promoting clean energy and a cap-and-trade system of carbon limits similar to the model envisioned by Obama. He toured the state with the Minnesota-based Arctic explorer Will Steger to “convince the skeptics,” as he put it, and even considered visiting the Arctic. He made a 2008 radio ad urging Congress to “cap greenhouse-gas pollution now!” But he now takes it all back, saying the human impact on climate change is unproven. “It was a mistake, and I’m sorry,” Pawlenty said…

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