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The tragedy and farce that is Tim Pawlenty

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty answered questions about his campaign Friday at Hovies Grill in Eagan.

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

— Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

But when the same person reappears twice, neither G.W.F. Hegel nor Marx saw that he would represent both tragedy and farce at the same time. So it will be with the candidacy of Tim Pawlenty running for a third term as governor of Minnesota.

Pawlenty’s candidacy is both a tragedy and a farce, but it is also a long shot where the prospects for success are low. But his candidacy speaks to many failures in state and national politics, especially with Republicans who are torn between embracing President Donald Trump and being repelled by him.

Consider first the tragedy: Pawlenty’s governorship was largely a failure unless one defines a single-minded cut taxes über alles to be the hallmark of success. His candidacy was launched in 2002 in the waning days of the Jesse Ventura administration, when the state and national economy were collapsing after 9/11 and the busting of the dot com era. As it was clear that the state was going into the red, Ventura proposed tax increases and budget cuts to balance the budget, yet Pawlenty and Roger Moe, as respective leaders of the House and Senate, nixed that idea, choosing to kick the fiscal problems down the road past the election.

Fiscal gimmicks defined the Pawlenty administration; they included illegal use of unallotments, stealing from the tobacco settlement, trying to force contractors to pay for construction projects up front, and calling taxes user fees. One also saw a failure to raise state matching funds to qualify for federal transportation matching funding, and borrowing from schools and other funds. When Pawlenty left office, he strapped the state with an illusionary balanced budget for the current biennium and a projected $6 billion deficit for Dayton. So much for fiscal conservatism.

Tragedy – in terms of a fallen bridge – is a lasting image of his governorship, and was also how Pawlenty got elected twice and what defined his governorship. In 2002 he was in second place behind Tim Penny in the race for governor when Paul Wellstone’s plane crashed and the senator died. That event, plus then the Wellstone memorial service, transformed state politics, resulting in Pawlenty winning the governorship with 44.4 percent of the vote.

schultz portrait
David Schultz

Four years later, with only days before the election, he was behind Mike Hatch — only to see the latter make several statements that cost him the election. In addition, when one examines the election returns, it was the strong turnout for Michele Bachmann in the Sixth Congressional District that pushed Pawlenty across the finish line with 46.7 percent of the vote. Pawlenty never won a majority of the popular vote, and were it not for tragedies or missteps by others – or the help of others – he would not have been governor. Couple these events with his miserable run for president and one can really ask how good or formidable a candidate he was.

Given the tragedy of his governorship, it is a farce for him to run again. Watching his video declaring the run, one wonders what is his narrative or rationale for running? In addition, Pawlenty is a person trapped by history. He both wants to embrace and reject Trump; he wants to appeal to a party that once supported him but which no longer exists. He needs a GOP base to win, but he is alienated from it  — while at the same time embracing it will alienate him from the swing voters he needs to win.

Moreover, Pawlenty has historical baggage that will define him among voters who remember him, but he was governor so long ago he lacks the name recognition that many think is his real strength. Pawlenty will be attacked and defined by both Jeff Johnson and other Republicans as out of step and as a failed governor, damaging him if in fact he does manage to go to a primary and win (which I am not sure he will). At the same time the eventual DFL gubernatorial candidate will benefit from these attacks, making it hard for Pawlenty to win come November.

David Schultz is a Hamline University professor of political science. His latest book is “Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter.”  He blogs at Schultz’s Take.   


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Comments (62)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/10/2018 - 09:43 am.

    same old spin….

    I would expect something more intellectual from Mr. Schultz, however what we received in this article is nothing more than a rehash of the typical – void of context – DFL ruling class arguments.

    At least now Mr. Schultz has been exposed – especially when he plays himself has an “unbiased. expert – commentator” in the media. Of course – the media has not been “unbiased” for generations. Maybe Mr. Schultz is “colluding” with the media to pass himself off as and unbiased expert and just giving “spin.”

    It would be even more entertaining for Mr. Schultz to give an assessment of the Dayton HUGE increase in ruling class government spending, tax increases, advocacy for greater tax increases, and internet and web failures.

    Only a political scientist and lawyer could provide such spin and Mr. Schultz would be an expert.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/10/2018 - 10:12 am.


      You allege spin and bias, but don’t cite any actual inaccuracies with the story. Are there any particular points you dispute? I’m not really a fan of Schultz, but this seems pretty accurate to me. Pawlenty was a terrible governor, and Schultz documents the lowlights of his governorship.

    • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 04/10/2018 - 04:15 pm.

      What Spin?

      Dr. Schultz wrote a MinnPost commentary piece, not a scholarly, peer reviewed evaluation for an academic audience so the contention that this commentary must be “more intellectual” seems misplaced. And, he is writing specifically about former governor Pawlenty and his prospects for election, not about Gov. Dayton and his administration so that accusation seems similarly out of place. While one may disagree with his conclusions, it seems grossly unfair to denigrate the author and his widely acknowledged expertise because of those conclusions.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/10/2018 - 05:03 pm.

        The “name calling” standard…

        “tragedy” and “farce” – repeat slowly. I cannot wait for Mr. Shultz to give his commentary on the main stream media and be treated as an observer with insights and not as a political hack.

        He has degenerated to a DFL talking point machine- maybe that was his agenda all along? (he did not fool me!)

        Of course – he could be advocating for a regular gig on minnpost since he obviously meets the “name calling” standard.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 04/11/2018 - 11:47 am.

      This is known as an “ad hominem” attack

      Attack your opponent’s character rather than their argument

    • Submitted by edward sheehy on 04/11/2018 - 11:09 pm.

      Just voicing his opinion…

      Dr. Shultz is voicing his opinion, same as you, not reporting the news. Your comment is also “spin” on Shultz’s commentary and not to be taken as unbiased. Perhaps you have been “exposed” as well.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/10/2018 - 10:28 am.

    Short attention span

    It’s true that many voters have very short attention spans – or very short memories, or both, but I arrived at the tail end of the Pawlenty second term, and remember his robbing of Peter to pay Paul-style of fiscal “conservatism” well, along with the 35W bridge collapse. I thought he handled the bridge collapse about as well as any Governor likely would, or could, but his fiscal shell game shouldn’t have fooled anyone.

    In general, I’m inclined to agree with Mr. Schultz and disagree with Mr. Gotzman. Pawlenty wants to appeal to the Trumpian base as well as swing voters, and I don’t see how he’ll be able to win both groups. It doesn’t help his credentials, at least in this household, that he effectively sold out by going to work for a Washington lobbying firm advocating on behalf of big banks, which hardly need the extra help to get what they want from a compliant Republican Congress.

    I thought – and still think – Mark Dayton was not off-base in asking the state’s highest earners to pay something more for the infrastructure and educated workforce the state needs to be competitive, and that helps them be the state’s highest earners. I’m also amused by Mr. Gotzman’s characterization of Dayton as somehow representing the interests of a “ruling class” while not mentioning that Mr. Pawlenty represents exactly the same thing, except that, like many a modern Republican, Pawlenty (and presumably, Gotzman as well) still believes in the supply-side delusion of a “free lunch,” wherein we’re all wealthy enough to provide our own infrastructure and government services, which – in that tortured worldview – can be provided at no cost to anyone but ourselves. If Dayton represents a “ruling class,” he at least demonstrates a sense of noblesse oblige that is totally lacking in Pawlenty. Whether Mr. Gotzman has it, I couldn’t say.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/10/2018 - 12:46 pm.

      “asking the state’s highest earners to pay something more”

      Short attention span? Mr. Dayton and his DFL advocates have been campaigning for years on raising taxes on the poor and middle class! This would be used to grow the trickle down DFL government at an even greater rates. Remember?

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/10/2018 - 03:38 pm.


        I’m not sure how you can remember something that is completely false. Dayton didn’t raise taxes on the poor and middle class. Just the state’s highest earners.

      • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 04/10/2018 - 04:20 pm.


        To clarify, DFL’ers have campaigned for years to NOT raise taxes on the poor and middle class. It is many Republicans who campaign on substantial lowering taxes on the highest earners while insisting that lower income folks should “pay something” even as they cut tax rates for the high earners.

        • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/10/2018 - 05:38 pm.

          Fake news – not true my friend…

          The DFL have constantly advocated the raising of the gas tax for years. this is a tax that especially hurts the poor and middle class.

          Mr. Dayton budget director campaigned for that in my local community with 3 DFL representatives advocating such a plan.

          • Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 04/11/2018 - 04:15 pm.

            Disingenuous, my friend

            Also deflecting the issue. The gas tax is not based on income.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/12/2018 - 10:14 pm.

              A Point

              Ron is correct that Democrats have been supportive of gas, sales and sin taxes. All are very regressive in nature.

              Paying for more things out of the income tax pool would be using progressive taxes, since low income folks pay little or none of these.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/11/2018 - 04:26 pm.

            Just curious

            What is the suggestion for transportation infrastructure if not making those that use it pay? Tax the wealthy? If it comes out of the general fund, trade roads for schools etc? Perhaps buying a more efficient vehicle would be helpful? Public transportation, walk, bicycle, etc? Folks do have some options.

    • Submitted by Arthur Swenson on 04/17/2018 - 04:50 pm.

      35W bridge

      The fact that the 35W bridge was replaced in such a short time was due to the efforts of Jim Oberstar, who was the US Congressman from Minnesota’s 8th district, and Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.. That T-Paw tries to take credit for it is not surprising, but it was NOT his doing.

  3. Submitted by dan buechler on 04/10/2018 - 10:45 am.

    Thanks for the numbers!

    The election results were important to review and please comment on the role of MN 3rd parties and their possible collapse.

  4. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/10/2018 - 11:05 am.


    The Dayton deficit to surplus budget journey is not a simple matter of increased taxes. It is primarily the effect of a rebounding and growing economy. You know, like the one Wisconsin would like to have.

    The TPAW / Trump waffling is very reminiscent of the the TPAW / Romneycare waffle: he blasted Romney on his MA healthcare plan everywhere he went except for the one time when he was face to face with him in a debate and for some reason never brought it up.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/10/2018 - 02:37 pm.

      Say what??

      Wisconsin doesnt have a growing and rebounding economy? You might want to look in to that again as your left wing talking point is outdated, Wisconsin has a great economy and has a surplus even after rounds of tax Cuts. Minnesotas rate of job growth right now is less than half the national average.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/10/2018 - 03:33 pm.


        Actually, Wisconsin has a big deficit again. Walker has attempted to mask his budget failures with accounting tricks – much like Pawlenty did – but the reality is Wisconsin is in the red again. I realize that fiscally irresponsible Republicans don’t like to use honest math, but that is how Dayton has acheived actually surpluses. And now Walker has given away billions to a Chinese company to create jobs for Illinois residents.

        The job growth numbers you claim are both wrong and misleading in that Minnesota was already close to full employment and couldn’t grow as much.

        You need to get yourself up to speed on the Wisconsin economy. You should probably start by listening to Edward.

        • Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/11/2018 - 08:57 am.

          why listen

          to alt left political snark? honestly, both points on budget/surplus are technically true. I noticed you ignored the fact that the Wisconsin economy is very strong by all measures. Then you use loose untrue points about giveaways to chinese? they don’t get a nickel if the jobs arent there and there is zero verification all of those jobs will go to Illinois residents. My speed is great, you may want to move to the right lane or exit all together.

      • Submitted by jody rooney on 04/10/2018 - 03:54 pm.

        Perhaps it’s because we didn’t fall so far after 2008

        You will have to show me a legitimate data source for that one. Based on BLS Decemner unemployment rates data Wisconsin unemployment exceeded Minnesota’s from 2009 until 2015. Are they creating new jobs or just finally recovering old ones?

        • Submitted by Tim Smith on 04/11/2018 - 10:49 am.


          obviously, the two State’s economies are very very different and thus recovered from the great recession at different paces. Dayton and democrats had zero to do with the timing difference. By the way, it is 2018 now so my statement is correct. Not hard to find current growth and unemployement data, just look.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/12/2018 - 03:10 pm.

        The actual, up-to-date, facts:

        In 2017, Minnesota had a per capita personal
        income (PCPI) of $53,043. This PCPI ranked 14th
        in the United States and was 105 percent of the
        national average, $50,392. The 2017 PCPI
        reflected an increase of 2.0 percent from 2016.
        The 2016-2017 national change was 2.4 percent.
        In 2007, the PCPI of Minnesota was $41,258 and
        ranked 15th in the United States. The 2007-2017
        compound annual growth rate of PCPI was 2.5
        percent. The compound annual growth rate for the
        nation was 2.4 percent.

        In 2017, Wisconsin had a per capita personal
        income (PCPI) of $47,850. This PCPI ranked 23rd
        in the United States and was 95 percent of the
        national average, $50,392. The 2017 PCPI
        reflected an increase of 2.2 percent from 2016.
        The 2016-2017 national change was 2.4 percent.
        In 2007, the PCPI of Wisconsin was $37,573 and
        ranked 25th in the United States. The 2007-2017
        compound annual growth rate of PCPI was 2.4
        percent. The compound annual growth rate for the
        nation was 2.4 percent.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/12/2018 - 10:18 pm.

      Pension Funding

      Here is an interesting piece showing one area where SD and WI are doing much better.

  5. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 04/10/2018 - 11:57 am.

    Spending was the Culprit

    TPaw had a DFL legislature that was clamoring for constant double digit spending growth every year when median income was dropping. If he had let the DFL had their way, the budget deficit would have been much more. Just look at what Dayton has done since he started – the state’s budget has ballooned more than 50% more than when he started and presided over record tax increases because the ‘state needs it more.’ This is the type of government that cannot sustain itself nor is moral nor serving the citizens.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/10/2018 - 12:36 pm.

      That doesn’t even make sense

      Spending that didn’t happen was the culprit?

      This is the “spin” that another commenter was referring to. Try to twist the facts all you want, but the bottom line is that Minnesota suffered under Pawlenty and has boomed under Dayton. What was unsustainable was the budget gimmicks and deficits under Pawlenty. I’m not sure what was particularly moral or “serving the citizens” about Pawlenty’s irresponsible, job-killing leadership.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/10/2018 - 12:52 pm.

      Got data?

      I daresay a budget that produces surpluses, as Dayton’s have, is more sustainable than perpetual budgets in deficit; i.e. Pawlenty’s. Or am I missing something?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/10/2018 - 01:36 pm.


      State spending “ballooned” by 50%? What are the actual numbers. You know, the last T-Paw budget to the most recent Dayton budget.

      And please use inflation adjusted numbers. Nominal figures are meaningless.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/10/2018 - 05:38 pm.


        Biennial spending has increased by 8% each biennium over the past 8 years.
        At least one biennium during the Pawlenty years saw an actual decrease in State spending, I believe during the recession.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/10/2018 - 07:06 pm.

      Found Some Numbers

      In 2011, total MN state spending was $28 billion, or BILLION if you prefer. The estimated 2017 budget was $32B. These are not inflation adjusted dollars, only nominal dollars. But to me, that looks like an increase of 14.3%. Factoring in inflation, we’re not even close to 50%.

      So where did the number come from?

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/11/2018 - 10:08 pm.

        Please look again

        The biennial total general fund spending 2010-2011 was about $30 billion and the biennial total for 2016-2017 is about $44 billion. $44 billion minus $30 billion is $14 billion divided by $30 billion times 100 is about 46% which is closer to 50% than it is to 14%.

        • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 04/12/2018 - 11:53 am.

          It should be pointed out

          That the 2010-2011 general fund spending is artificially low because the state applied ~$2B of stimulus dollars to normal budget items.

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/13/2018 - 07:22 pm.

            Did the State know

            That stimulus dollars were coming before the budget was signed? Is the State increase in spending percentage still closer to 50% than the other erroneous figure?

  6. Submitted by dan buechler on 04/10/2018 - 12:28 pm.

    I may or may not agree with you, So what would you have us invest in? Real estate in Minnetonka? Transport is stymied, rural education is stymied. The Minnesota miracle if there was one was bringing things up to level (i.e. rural education, and urban transport) If old universal Catholic or Lutheran values prevailed and we had less greed ; we could get things done. As it is we have 2 main special interests fighting each other. Very little rural/urban coalitions. We are wasting our time fighting.

  7. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 04/11/2018 - 05:59 pm.

    Pawlenty: A big disappointment all around!

    If I remember correctly, Tim Pawlenty started out as one of the promising (seemingly progressive) batch of young Republican politicians with a solid working class background. Ambitious and hardworking, he was of the same mold as Norm Coleman. Before he started running for Governor the first time, he was actually preparing to run for U.S. Senate, and Coleman was in the ring for governorship. However, Darth Vader (i.e. Dick Cheney) intervened and got involved in Minnesota’s state politics. He and the National Republican Party deemed that Pawlenty should move aside for Coleman to go for the U.S. Senate position. Poor Tim was told (ordered, maybe the right word) to run for Governor. Thus ended the promising future of an “independent” republican. He was transformed into another spineless politician with no serious, thoughtful, or socially beneficial agenda.

    I believe Tim Pawlenty is making yet another big mistake abandoning his profitable private sector venture for a return to public service. His time is long gone, and thus he is indeed now nothing but a “tragic, farcical personage.”

  8. Submitted by Carl Voss on 04/10/2018 - 02:40 pm.

    “he was governor so long ago”?

    He was governor until 2011. Truly ancient history!

  9. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 04/10/2018 - 04:03 pm.

    Remember the climate

    Pawlenty was concerned about climate change until the Republican winds blew toward denying our earth was endangered and so he quickly changed direction. We can anticipate he will similarly check his convictions at the weather vane.

    Concerning the I-94 bridge collapse’ It happened due to a construction mistake that occurred when it was built decades earlier. It is irresponsible to tie him to the disaster

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/10/2018 - 04:36 pm.


      Here is a good summary of why Tim Pawlenty – perhaps more than anyone else – is responsible for the (I-35) bridge collapse.

      Eventually, there will be consequences for failing to fund infrastructure. The bridge collapse was just such a consequence.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/13/2018 - 07:35 pm.

        It might be possible that

        The engineer that selected the gusset plates, or the manufacturer of the gusset plates, or the installer of the gusset plates, or the inspectors of the gusset plates might have been responsible to a tiny degree, and in spite of the federal government’s own investigation that didn’t implicate the Governor (or the President at the time), it does seem obvious that Governor Pawlenty was a t fault.

        As we note the continued legislation toward transportation funding, that is underfunded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars according to most, we can safely assume that this is the fault of Governor Dayton who has, in almost 8 years, fixed how many bridges?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/10/2018 - 06:57 pm.


      Well he did put a dairy farmer in charge of the Department of Transportation.

  10. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/11/2018 - 07:17 am.

    The Carpetbagger Returns

    Pawlenty is going to run for MN Governor again. He talks like he is a Minnesotan, but he isn’t, he has been out of the state for 6 years, a lot has changed in the interim. I believe the term that fits Pawlenty is carpetbagger. I bet the GOP will LOVE him and his 6 billion dollars deficit spending past. Remember GOPers are no longer deficit hawks, that is only when a Democrat is the Governor. Pawlenty has been a bank lobbyist for the last 6 years. I can’t figure out how that gave him what he needs to run the state again. As Governor Pawlenty was a divider because he only wanted to serve the special few and himself. As governor he was full of all kinds of cute GOP tricks to make it look like he was presidential material. Taxes he imposed weren’t taxes, they were fees. He borrowed from the education budget to make the budget looked balanced. He couldn’t get past the first rung of the presidential ladder, those ruthless Iowa Republican voters showed him the exit door. In his failed attempt to become President Pawlenty even got beat by Michelle Bachman, how humiliating. Now he is back hoping we have forgotten the mess he made of Minnesota. This is yet another story of a Republican in office who makes a huge mess and a Democrat comes in and cleans up the mess. Now he wants to “Put those in the middle first”, which is tacit proof he only served the wealthy and himself when he was Governor. The Republicans always have trouble serving everyone they were elected to serve. For me I have had Paw-lenty of Pawlenty. Governor Dayton has proven Republican shenanigans are not required to run the state. Thank you, Governor Dayton, for your sound steady governance of our fine state! Carpetbaggers are not welcome here.

  11. Submitted by jim hughes on 04/11/2018 - 10:17 am.

    it’s not complicated

    He wants to run for President again, in 2020.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/11/2018 - 12:16 pm.


      That would make Pawlenty the Harold Stassen of the 21st century. Of course, Stassen had a much more illustrious record of public service, and had some real achievements as Governor, but apart from that . . .

  12. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/11/2018 - 12:52 pm.

    Me thinks the leftist commentator doth protest *too* much!

  13. Submitted by Wendell Bell on 04/12/2018 - 08:40 am.

    I am a little surprised

    …that Professor Schultz does not seem to take into account that Gov. Pawlenty will likely be the most lushly funded of all the R candidates. He’s already held Florida fundraisers. He is, by now, a bankster, with access to all the funds that flow to the head of the organization that was formerly the Bankers Roundtable (until that name became poison). His victory is essential to the Republicans attaining unitary government in Minnesota, and thereby controlling (read YUGE gerrymandering of) reapportionment, which will then assure Republican control of the MN legislature and congressional delegation throughout the 2020’s. With that much at stake, he won’t want for resources. Moreover, he is the R’s best apparent chance for a major office pickup in MN this cycle, and so PAC resources will flow accordingly.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/12/2018 - 09:05 am.

    Minnpost and Pawlenty

    Back in the olden days when Minnpost was just starting, one of the first comments I ever wrote chastized the Minnpost author for characterizing Pawlenty as a “likable” guy.

    Say what you want now but the media narrative for most of Pawlenty’s terms was that despite his toxic policies and leadership he was just so darn “likable”. Part of this “likable” narrative sprung from journalists who were seeking their normal comfort levels after 4 years of the combative and weird relationship with Ventura. The media was relieved to have a governor that didn’t attack them on a regular basis, so that made Pawlenty appear likable on a superficial level.

    My rebuke to Minnpost was based on the fact that this man’s toxic policies that in some cases literally stomped on children in wheel chairs (I knew several disabled children at the time who’s parents had to shoulder a variety of increasing financial burdens because of Republican cuts to social and educational programs). His stunt of putting his farmer lieutenant Governor in charge of MNDOT actually got people killed. At the time Republican President Bush’s DOT glossed over the negligence leading to the 35W bridge collapse but several subsequent investigations have revealed that engineers had been warning MNDOT about those gussets for at least a decade, and the primary reason for ignoring those warnings had been budget constraints imposed by belt tightening T-Paw. His negligence didn’t just cost us money.

    Just because a guy smiles when he breaks your knee caps doesn’t make him: “likable”. The media practice of surrounding Pawlenty in a aura likability obscured the toxic nature and effects of his policies. It was also impossible for a media that constantly described the man as likable to honestly confront his dishonesty. The man lied on a regular basis about everything from tax cuts to budgets, yet at the time, those lies were largely glossed over as legitimate differences of opinion. His imaginary budget surplus that magically became the biggest deficit in State history is the best example.

    I’m not saying it was my doing but I don’t think I ever saw anyone at Minnpost describe Pawlenty as “likable” again after my comment, good on them for whatever reason. It’s important to see honest and straight forward critiques like the one Mr. Shultz is providing here despite the predictable complaints regarding bias. I would just remind everyone that there were many of us who saw Pawlenty for the tragedy and farce that he was at the time.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/12/2018 - 09:18 am.

    Milk toast centrist Democrats

    Although Shultz only refers to it obliquely the weakness of Democratic opposition played a huge role on getting Pawlenty elected twice. Both Penny and Hatch were centrist Democrats with little if any distinctive policy initiatives beyond milder forms of Republican policies. This was an era where Democrats were losing to guys like Pawlenty all over the country precisely because they were unable to distinguish themselves as liberal alternatives. THAT’s what made them so vulnerable to last minute fiasco’s, the assumption they would win with tepid support for Republican-Light leadership. This isn’t ancient history, Clinton just reaffirmed that observation.

    Pawlenty’s run isn’t just about history, it’s about soul of the Democratic Party. Pawlenty’s only shot at winning is if Democrats once again snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory by putting another milk toast centrist on the ballot. If Pawlenty gets on the ballot Democrats won’t beat him by running against him, that didn’t work against Trump, it won’t work against Pawlenty. Democrats will have to offer voters something to reach for, something vote FOR, not just against. Popular liberal initiatives would seem to be the most obvious campaign.

  16. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/12/2018 - 07:53 pm.

    The fact that this guy…

    ran off to work for bankers with a big salary should be enough for another ouster. I lived through both him and Jesse and the latter might have been the better of the two which isn’t saying much. “Likeable” is never a word I would choose to describe this Tpaw fellow. But there is some but very tiny bit of logic to a more pleasant then Jesse thing kind of like Pence to Trump. But I would not want either of those two to handle the budget either. However what I want or think may make little difference. We could be ripe for a Walker type fest here wether it is logical or not. The fact that what happened next door did happen is not to be ignored. And Foxconn in terms of expense may not be that much different then sulfide slug mining as far as state expense. The people in the 8th seem to using reality blinders. And the outstate deeming of the other generally speaking as the threat still has legs. And right here in green Edina the twisters have their free speech bend-o-rama walked into the state legislature. We the DFL does not get on board with liberal initiatives kleptocratic oligarch will make it here easily. The press does not seem to be putting up much factual resistance. Liars need to be called liars. Gangsters need to be called gangsters. Or the well you know the motto by now that Ruth and darkness thing.

  17. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/12/2018 - 10:29 pm.


    I am not sure what other good options the MN GOP has… Jeff Johnson does not have much for charisma… And I actually liked Pawlenty and the GOPs attempt to avoid raising taxes in a recession.

    I would rather that tax payers had the MN rainy day fund in their savings account rather than in the State’s savings account. But maybe many here are happy that the State is holding your money?

    I keep thinking that government should use “gimmicks”, borrowing, etc when a recession occurs. Anything that keeps the people’s money in the people’s pockets. Besides as we have seen with Dayton, if he has money he will propose a new way to create long term financial obligation. (ie all day kindergarten, free preschool, etc)

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/16/2018 - 08:36 pm.


      John, you have always been outspoken on the need for individual self sufficiency and personal responsibility. I assume this does not extend to 4 year-olds. And if we are to guide 4 year-olds who are in home situations that have a likelihood of producing adults who will not be self sufficient what better investment can we make than pre-school and all day kindergartens that may get these kids off to a better start. It is our best option for teaching them how to fish. Thank you Governor Dayton for common sense spending.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 10:56 am.

        Please remember that I am big fan of early childhood and parent education. I am not a big fan of spending public dollars to pay for the pre-school and daycare bills of those who can afford them. If one truly wants to close a gap, one does not focus on more for all. One needs to focus intensely on the people with lowest scores / highest risk.

        If I had my way high risk households would be mandated to under go a lot of training, with some serious consequences if they failed to perform. My Liberal and Conservative readers were just calling ideas extreme… I have never seen them so aligned.

        But remember that I put child rights ahead of parent or public employee rights. From those comments… “I have one goal… “Children have the right to a stable home and qualified, non-stressed out, mature, supported, dedicated, etc parent(s).”

        By the way, did you know that the feds subsidize breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, etc for every student and daycare child? Not just the poor children… How does that make any sense?

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/17/2018 - 01:23 pm.

          Tounge in cheek

          You do know that we just subsidized Billionaires and billion $ corporations with Billion $ tax cuts! “How does that make any sense?”

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 04:02 pm.


            Please remember that I was against most of that tax cut bill. Though I did like the part where citizens in high tax liberal states are forced to pay their full share of the federal expenses they lobby so hard for. Too bad they left the up to $10,000 State tax write off amount….

            And technically we are not “subsidizing” them with government expenditures. We are actually just letting them keep some more of their money. And they are still paying far more than we are. Or have you decided that all wealth in America is “Society’s” to spend?

            Who needs those pesky property rights anyway? 🙂

        • Submitted by ian wade on 04/17/2018 - 02:08 pm.

          I’m good with it.

          I’d rather have my money filling the bellies of little kids than building nearly instantly obsolete weapons systems that the military doesn’t even want, simply because some GOP congresscritter has a factory in his/her state.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/17/2018 - 04:07 pm.


            I also was against increasing the military’s budget.

            Now what does that have to do with why my school received federal dollars to feed my children when I can easily afford to?

            Again, I want to help unlucky kids by making sure resources flow towards them. And by ensuring the adults in their life preform their responsibilities well… (be they Parents, Social Services, Education personnel, etc)

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/17/2018 - 09:53 pm.

          Both of us….

          Likely ate a school lunch back in the day. I know I did: The best .35 cent lunch in town. It worked in the 60s and still does today. We don’t need to means test every kid in the lunch line…

  18. Submitted by Julie Stroeve on 04/13/2018 - 03:43 pm.

    only my guess…

    …is that the Establishment Republican Party of Minnesota would rather see anyone but Johnson on the ballot. It’s the best of 2 bad choices they’re facing. Not a good year to be a R.

  19. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/13/2018 - 07:38 pm.

    So I hear the ….

    man on MPR interviewed this AM. He claims his experience will help with divisions in today’s political discourse. This was said more then once. The other point he focus on was his more recent experience working with the bankers gave in greater incite into the business that plays an increasing greater role in Minnesota. Okay then lad my questions for you are 1. As Governor how did you help to heal the political divisions ? Or I fact did you contribute to the devisivness ? 2. What role did you play in the still ongoing outrageousness of the Wells Fargo consumer ripoffs. And Equifax also ? That should do it.

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