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Daily Glean: Pawlenty on Obama: He’s ‘scamming’ us

Tim Pawlenty took aim at President Obama’s health care plan Thursday, saying the plan “is really quite a joke on a number of levels.” Ben Smith of Politico gives us the quote, which Pawlenty uttered on Fox: “I think he is scamming the American people. Even if you believe that it is only going to tax people over $1 million, what is known to happen is that is only going to cover about 25 percent of the total cost. The rest will be paid for by saving waste, fraud, and abuse. If you believe that, then I’ve got some January tee time in northern Minnesota.” He’s not the only local politician to be taking potshots at Obama, either: A Washington Post story on Obama’s push for more charter schools and performance pay for teachers includes this quote from John Kline: “We just took a big old checkbook with a $5 billion total behind it and handed it to the secretary and said, ‘Write a whole bunch of checks’ … I’m uncomfortable that we’re doing that.”

Bachmann in danger? Paul Schmelzer notes in the Minnesota Independent that Rep. Michele Bachmann has found herself on the RNC’s list of most vulnerable incumbents for 2010, as represented by the “Patriot Program,” which identifies and fundraises for at-risk candidates. Schmelzer quotes Swing State’s report on the Patriot Program, in which the site describes Bachmann as being “in real danger.”

Here’s one of those tales that starts out seeming like it might be hilarious and just grows progressively sadder: 26-year-old Donteh Lamont Smith is accused of having bungled a bank-robbery in St. Paul, and Mara H. Gottfried of the Pioneer Press inventories some of the mistakes he allegedly made, including wrapping his demand note around his college ID and taking money with a dye packet in it, which left him wandering around near I-94 with dye stains on him. The big details make is sound like one of those “America’s Dumbest Criminals” story, but it’s the little details that break the heart, such as the fact that he reportedly apologized the entire time, flagged down the cops himself, and wrote on his demand note : “I’m am (sic) sorry for doing this. Give me all the money in your drawer my kids need food I have no money.” The Star Tribune’s telling, by Paul Walsh, includes a small additional detail about Smith, who was, it seems, unfailingly polite. After taking the money from the teller, Walsh informs us, “Smith said thank you, put the money in his pockets and walked out.”

It’s a bit harder to have sympathy for Michael Gura, who, according to the AP, authorities believe to have stolen in the area of $100,000 worth of merchandise from Cabela’s through a scheme in which he printed his own UPC labels, swapped them out for the real ones. Gura is supposed to have resold his ill-got goods on online sites such as eBay, but his scheme unraveled in Rogers, Minn., when he tried to buy a $2,395 pair of binoculars for $109.99; Gura has since been sentenced to one year in a Minnesota workhouse. Reports do not indicate whether Gura was apologetic during the purchase, or if he thanked the clerk.

These two stories point out two of the main motivations for criminal mischief: need and greed. But a tale out of Eagan finds another motivation: pure spite. The Pioneer Press’s Frederick Melo tells of Emmett Salberg Jr., who ran the Website, which, prior to this morning, was mostly a bland listing of local businesses, occasionally interrupted by vitriolic and unexplained attacts on another Eagan man who is reported to have had an affair with Salberg’s wife. Melo gives us a sample: “This King Douche cheated on his wife for 2.5 years while he made her work two jobs to make up for his low paying job he has at (his employer). … While (victim) said he was working, he was really cheating on his wife and giving away marijuana from his garage.” Salberg is now the subject of a criminal complaint. What’s more, the city of Eagan, which has been trying to wrestle the site name away from Salberg for quite some time, has seized control of the site, which now redirects to the city’s official page.

In sports: “When Crain comes in the game, turn it off. It’s over,” says a commenter on the Strib’s story about the Twins loss to the Angels Thursday; Jesse Crain threw the pitch that Mike Napoli doubled into the Angel’s winning run. The Strib also reports that Brett Favre is anguished; scribes Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad sound a little anguished themselves, asking: “Did anyone really think the saga would end today?”

Something seems to be going on with, the Star Tribune’s community site. Editor James Lileks isn’t being specific, but his last note, from Wednesday, has an ominous ring to it: “I’ll just say this: if you have anything on this site you want to save, save it now. More tomorrow — and you can probably guess what that means.” Commenters point out that Lileks now has a blog at the Strib site, and from the looks of things, he’s been posting regularly to that since Wednesday, whereas has had no new updates. Still, the site itself remains, and users have been taking advantage of its continued presence online to post dozens of cartoons featuring Lance Lawson, a tepid mystery comic that Lileks has championed.

Paul Merrill, who is responsible for the fascinating Stuff About Minneapolis Blog, recently posted an MP3 of a polka by Dick Rogers called “The Minneapolis Polka,” which is exactly what you’d expect: a lot of infectious oompa-oompa-ing. It’s enjoyable but not especially distinctive, but we Minneapolitans have to claim whatever music we can, which may be why City Pages, for the umpeenth time, has decided to remind us that the garage rock stable “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen originated locally.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by B Ftenberg on 07/24/2009 - 09:52 am.

    “I think he is scamming the American people.”

    You should know, TPaw. You’re the master scammer of Minnesota. Five years from now the budget mess you left us is going to be awesome.

    What’s that expression, something about a stick in the eye?

  2. Submitted by dan buechler on 07/24/2009 - 10:21 am.

    Gosh next thing you know our governor will be counseling us on foreign policy in Brazil a rapidly growing economy.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/24/2009 - 10:31 am.

    Pawlenty certainly knows a thing or two about scams, he’s been running one on the people of MN his entire political career.

  4. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 07/24/2009 - 12:05 pm.

    Before anyone criticizes the Governor without supporting their criticisms, #1,#2,#3. Has anyone reviewed the 1000+ page bill?

  5. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 07/24/2009 - 12:16 pm.

    It’s easy for TPaw to call the President names and decry Obama’s proposals for health care reform. He just cut thousands off from health care and lowered the quality of care for every nursing home patient in the state.

    Where are his proposals to deal with the health care mess as a hot-to run-for-President candidate? Until he can come up with a coherent, affordable proposal THAT WILL COVER EVERYONE, all TPaw is, is hot air!

  6. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 07/24/2009 - 12:33 pm.

    Definition of “scam”: To defraud; swindle.

    Let’s see, we have a governor who puts all of his attention on getting the Republican nomination to some higher office; has made the state suffer so that he can get the nomination; and has actually worked against the best interests of the people of Minnesota in an effort to reach higher office. During this time, his approval level has remained at or near 50 percent.

    Hmmm. Maybe we better listen to him. He seems and expert at scamming people.

  7. Submitted by Rod Loper on 07/24/2009 - 01:48 pm.

    Ah yes. Obama is being attacked by the repugs
    because he is proposing reforms for health care and education with real money to pay for them.
    The real scammer on these topics is the joker on “Good Morning Minnesota”.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/24/2009 - 03:25 pm.

    “Until he can come up with a coherent, affordable proposal THAT WILL COVER EVERYONE..”

    If he can do that, he’d be the Grand Exalted Alchemist of health care.

    Unicorns, Faeries, Leprechauns and coherent, affordable health care plans THAT WILL COVER EVERYONE….Yup, they’re out there somewhere.

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 07/24/2009 - 03:53 pm.

    “Unicorns, Faeries, Leprechauns and coherent, affordable health care plans THAT WILL COVER EVERYONE….Yup, they’re out there somewhere.”

    They’re all over the world. We’re the only country in the developed world that doesn’t have universal coverage, and we spend more than anybody else. Surely you’re not suggesting that we can’t figure out how to do something that the Canadians, Brits, French, etc have.

  10. Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/24/2009 - 06:25 pm.

    Governor Pawlenty’s remarks put him in the partisanship-over-solutions camp of the Republican party when it comes to needed health care reform.

    How sad for the country. I thought Mr. Pawlenty would be more thoughtful and constructive.

  11. Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/24/2009 - 06:27 pm.

    If Mrs. Bachmann is NOT in political trouble, there is something deeply wrong with the judgments of the voters in the Mn 6th. I believe that even her conservative base would prefer to have someone more effective, more reality-based, and more focused on things that will help constituents and country. There are plenty of thoughtful conservatives that could do the job … Mrs. Bachmann is not one of them unfortunately

  12. Submitted by dan buechler on 07/24/2009 - 09:56 pm.

    Gee whiz what is John Kline smoking? Obama takes a centrist stand against the wishes of one of his strongest supporters and Kline is dissin this president? I think patriotism is dead.

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/25/2009 - 07:06 am.

    The governor has to make a few headlines in order to try and get his political message out to the public. Pawlenty is simply marketing himself as the anti-Obama, with few specifics and fewer ideas.

    The governor has nothing to lose by doing so. He can appeal to the conservative base as well as to the over 40% that did not vote for Obama.

    The upside is that American voter becomes a bit more familiar with Pawlenty’s brand as well as his face. Pawlenty needs to improve his numbers in order to get the nomination or to perhaps receive an offer join the ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

    No one should fault him for wanting to aspire to a higher office. He is simply getting in line for what will be a barrage of anti-Obama rhetoric from the president’s opposition party.

    Unless Obama has a spectacular flame out. One statistic that should weigh heavily on all of the future Republican candidates. Only once on the past 75 years has a incumbent Democratic President lost a presidential campaign for re-election. That man was Carter.

    Until the economy recovers decisively, as in consistent employment growth. I think Obama’s approval rating will drift down by about 1% a month. Reagan’s did and he bottomed out 40% in winter of 1982-83. Reagan came back, and Obama will too.

  14. Submitted by William Pappas on 07/25/2009 - 09:13 am.

    The real scam is the idea that paying for health care through private health insurance companies is not an ethically challenging structure. The basic conflict of interest that occurs between health insurance companies and the people they insure is part of the scam that republicans like Pawlenty ignore. As democrats are actually trying to figure out how to pay for government for the people (such as health care insurance options) Pawlenty is scamming the state budget process with accounting shifts, cuts and false accusations of inaction by the DFL so he can unallot and keep the faith with his “no new taxes pledge”. We all know that pledge is a scam as state taxes have been shifted to property taxation, a more regressive tax. That brings me to Q-comp, the scam to improve education quality in Minnesota. That underperforming program is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the authority of unions to control teacher salaries.
    Pawlenty is a scam artist. He is scamming Minnesotans on the idea that his cuts won’t endager all of us with less fire and police coverage and that ultimately we won’t be paying more in health costs as more citizens show up in emergency rooms with preventable crisis. Trying to approach health care realistically is incomprehensively difficult but I give the democrats credit for trying. Pawlenty has joined the stated Republican strategy of demonizing that effort as a way to stop it which also helps the scam of protecting powerful insurance and pharmacy interests that will bankroll his presidential bid. Scam artist Tim has marginalized himself once again through more demagoguery and dishonesty.

  15. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/25/2009 - 11:54 am.

    “Surely you’re not suggesting that we can’t figure out how to do something that the Canadians, Brits, French, etc have.”

    Oh, *snap* Right.

    Unicorns, Faeries, Leprechauns, coherent, affordable health care plans THAT WILL COVER EVERYONE….and pink elephants.

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