Tim Pawlenty: Would he pass a conservative ‘purity test’?

Twelfth-century Rabbi Maimonides once composed a set of principles — 13 specifically — that he felt you had to agree with to be Jewish, and Jews, being Jews, proceeded to criticize his principles of faith, or ignore them, or accept them, or turn them into folk songs, two Jews in a room making three opinions and all that. It will be curious to see how the Republican set of principles, currently being circulated, fares. Minnesota Independent’s Paul Schmelzer reprints the list, coupling it with a comment by Tim Pawlenty that seems supportive of the idea: “There’s a range of behavior and issue positions you can take.

But while Maimonides mostly concerned himself with God, the Republicans seems to be concerning themselves initially with Obama, who is explicitly named in the first two of the 10 principles, which oppose his stimulus bill and health care plan. There are also two statements of principles that don’t have a conservative consensus: an explicitly anti-abortion plank and a demand for support of the Defense of Marriage Act. We can probably expect Pawlenty to sign off on these principles; after all, he has a long history of opposition to abortion and gay marriage, and he has a healthy appetite for anything that criticized Obama. Why, just last night, on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox, Pawlenty declared of the president, “I’d give him a bad grade.”

In another piece on Pawlenty, Schmelzer points to this story on the Daily Beast by Reihan Salam, which posits that Pawlenty might “win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 simply by being the least offensive candidate.” It’s an interesting theory, but, between Republicans generating their own purity tests and Michele Bachmann receiving a standing ovation by what Polinaut calls a “who’s who of conservative activists and conservative leaders” this past weekend, it’s not clear that what the Republicans are looking for is someone who is broadly appealing and relatively inoffensive.

Additionally, one of the advantages Pawlenty has at the moment is that he is relatively unknown and offers an audience friendly economic viewpoint that favors lower taxes. But were he to become a clear contender for a presidential candidacy, there would be a lot more scrutiny on how his economic philosophies have actually played out, and the truth is that Pawlenty is leaving as governor with Minnesota’s economy … well, why don’t we let the Pioneer Press’ Bill Salisbury say it: “Minnesota’s next governor will inherit a financial mess“, and Pawlenty hasn’t taken the possibility of additional unilateral spending cuts off the table, including $412 million in state aid payments scheduled to go out in December. There already has been quite a bit of fallout as the result of Pawlenty’s last round of budget cuts, including Monday’s report from Minnesota’s Public Radio’s Tom Scheck  that one-third of Minnesota school districts have had to borrow money to pay their bills, and “many more districts are borrowing this year because of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s budget action.”

In other news, charges against eight men were unsealed Monday, providing what a team-reported piece for the Star Tribune callsthe most complete picture yet of how approximately 20 local men were indoctrinated, recruited and trained to fight in Somalia with a terrorist organization.” While part of the recruiting involved promises of “true brotherhood,” the most unexpected promise made to Minnesota Somalis, at least three of whom have died, was, as the Associated Press puts it, “fun.” Most of the men named in the investigation are not in custody, and are believed to have fled the country.

Here are several short news tales mostly notable for their oddness: Randy Furst of the Star Tribune tells us that leaders of the Metro Gang Strike Force pressured the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library to remove a critical report from its website and were promptly rebuffed; the Strib’s Paul Walsh tells us that two former Eagan roommates who had recently been taped for an episode of “Judge Judy” were apparently not satisfied with the outcome, and so instead duked it out in an Apple Valley bar; and WCCO tells us that a man who crashed into a Minneapolis building last Thursday said he did so because he because he believed the FBI had a mind-controlling device inside, which sounds like a classic example of paranoia, but, then, if the FBI really does have a mind control device, that’s what they would want us to think, isn’t it?

So the word has come down that Kieran’s, the oldest and homiest of Kieran Folliard’s mini-empire of Irish pubs (also including The Local, The Liffey, and the newly opened Cooper), will soon be making a move to Block E, as reported by Tom Horgen in the Star Tribune. It seems like a sound business decision, as it will put the pub within a stone’s throw of the new Twins stadium, but that’s not going to keep people from grousing, and their comments haven’t all been civil (“commenters drag out the white sheets & hoods” is how one Twitter user phrased it). Some of the comments on the Strib fixated on the reputation the block has for unsavory types: “Just think!,” one wrote, “all the new gainful opportunities the bangers and thugs will have to rob a whole new bar of people as they leave the bar drunk.” Others, who have since been scrubbed from the site, complained of “animals” and “baby mommas” on Block E, coming even closer to making the hostile racial subtext more explicit — explicit enough that the Strib editors removed them.

Oh, Joe Mauer was picked as the American League’s Most Valuable Player, in case you hadn’t heard; it didn’t get much press, and we at the Daily Glean only heard of it from a regional paper on the East Coast — and, of course, MinnPost.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 11/24/2009 - 11:09 am.

    Who’s Joe Mauer?

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/24/2009 - 11:42 am.

    David G: From what I’ve read/heard, the e-mails contain some inside language that may sound to those outside the scientific community like they mean something different.

    These e-mails are, unfortunately, being used by the Global Warming Deniers (heavily funded by oil, gas, coal and nuclear) to buttress their lie that global warming is a hoax.

  3. Submitted by Matthew Hauck on 11/24/2009 - 02:45 pm.

    Regarding Pawlenty, I think the point is not that he is inoffensive to those outside the republican fold, but is inoffensive to the factions within the Republican party, specifically the two biggest groups, social and fiscal conservatives. Whereas social conservatives view Romney with suspicion, the fiscal conservative worry about the populism of Palin and Huckabee. Pawlenty successfully appeals to both groups, and, despite being far from moderate in his views, also appeals to moderates because of his demeanor (although this might change if he continues down the road of purity tests).

  4. Submitted by William Wallace on 11/30/2009 - 09:41 am.

    One thing is certain: McCain was no conservative, and if Bill Clinton could run again, against McCain, McCain would still be less conservative.

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