A New York Times story this morning looks at the potential problems that the Minnesota government shutdown could cause for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s campaign.
The story looks at the shutdown in the context of the conventional wisdom that being a governor better prepares a candidate than being a legislator:
“…because of that executive experience and the lack of a lengthy Congressional voting record. But spending four or eight years at the helm of a state government can also create a record that proves problematic, especially at a time — like now — when the states they led are struggling economically.”
Says the story:
In a late-evening news conference in St. Paul, Mr. Pawlenty sought to turn the situation to his advantage. He lashed out at Democrats in St. Paul and Washington for what he called a “thirst for more spending and more taxes.”
But the potential of a shutdown in the state that Mr. Pawlenty led until six months ago provides fresh ammunition to his Democratic critics and, potentially, to his Republican rivals. Democrats blame Mr. Pawlenty for budget maneuvers that they say helped cause a $5 billion budget shortfall. Mr. Pawlenty says runaway spending by the Legislature and the Democratic governor is to blame.
“I think the upcoming deficit is preposterous in the sense that it’s based on a massive increase in spending,” Mr. Pawlenty told reporters. “If the state government would simply live within the revenues it has available, it wouldn’t have any deficit at all.”
Mr. Pawlenty’s aides argued Thursday night that the story of his record as governor is a positive one. And it’s possible that the state budget crisis could provide Mr. Pawlenty an opportunity to appeal to conservative voters who appreciate his antitax position.
But the headlines Thursday evening are a reminder that issues from a governor’s tenure have a way of bubbling back up to the surface when they are running for president.
Of course, being in Congress tor has its share of pitfalls, too:
Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota enjoys the benefits of touting her conservative voting record to Tea Party voters in Iowa and elsewhere. But she also has to answer critics who say her legislative record has few major accomplishments.