Mayor Rybak suggests a wet Massachusetts welcome for Tim Pawlenty

R.T. Rybak
R.T. Rybak

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is to give a big speech to the Tea Party in Massachusetts on Friday, which is being observed as Tax Day by anti-taxers.

Last year, the event attracted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and more than 10,000 people.

Hard to say if Pawlenty can attract that sort of adoring crowd.

Tim Pawlenty
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Tim Pawlenty

But he certainly did get a harsh welcome to Massachusetts. This afternoon, the state party invited Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to be the guest of a teleconference. The subject: Tim Pawlenty.

Rybak, who has been very vocal locally about the damage cuts in Local Government Aid have done to Minneapolis and other cities across the state, accepted the invitation with enthusiasm.

He said that if the Tea Party Patriots truly understood Pawlenty’s record as governor of Minnesota, “they’d throw him into the Boston Harbor.”

A year ago, Massachusetts Democrats did not hold a similar event in advance of Palin’s speech to the Tea Party crowd.

So why this year?

“Last year’s rally was strictly a Tea Party event,” said John Walsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Democrats. “This year, with Gov. Pawlenty, it seems more explicitly focused on the presidential race.”

Therefore, Walsh said, it is important for people to get a better understanding of who Pawlenty is.

Rybak said he, too, was participating because of the presidential ambitions of Pawlenty.

“I was happy when he became the former governor,” Rybak said. “I would keep my mouth shut if he had decided to ride off into the sunset.”

But, of course, Pawlenty clearly has no plans to leave politics. So, Rybak said, it will be up to people who dealt with him to define who he is.

Rybak admitted that’s not an easy job. He noted that many Republicans see Pawlenty as “a blank slate.”

“But that should tell you something,” Rybak said. “More than anything else, he was ineffective.”

In the teleconference, which included reporters from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, Rybak pounded on themes familiar to Minnesotans.

He noted that Pawlenty left Minnesota with a debt of more than $5 billion; that taxes “for 90 percent of Minnesotans” increased dramatically under Pawlenty because of the increases in property taxes resulting from his fiscal policies; and that fees in the state increased by 73 percent during Pawlenty’s two terms.

Rybak also said that Pawlenty as governor had the ability to do “pirouettes” in dancing around issues.

He noted the governor formerly supported tough cap-and-trade legislation for the Great Lakes states but now says he regrets those positions. Rybak also said that at the time of the I-35W bridge collapse, Pawlenty told Rybak and others that he would support a gas tax increase devoted to upgrading the infrastructure. But when he was criticized by anti-taxers, he reversed his position, the mayor said.

Pawlenty is “for things until he’s against them,” he said.

Rybak did offer some compliments — sort of.

The mayor predicted that Pawlenty “will do a wonderful job at the rally.”

He predicted that Pawlenty will “admire the problems” and he’ll “complain about the problems.” But in the end, Rybak said, his record shows he’s incapable of solving problems.

Laughing, Rybak suggested those in Massachusetts listen for one other thing.

“When he’s campaigning in the South,” Rybak said, “he starts droppin’ his G’s” from words.

He hinted that tomorrow, Pawlenty may just start “talking like a Kennedy.”

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/14/2011 - 03:40 pm.

    R. T.,

    Grab a shovel and start filling the potholes.

  2. Submitted by Eric Larson on 04/14/2011 - 05:35 pm.

    I was a card carrying member of the DFL from Huberts last attempt in 1972 and through Fritz’s run in ’84 and then some. One thing you could count on was people like Frenzel, Stangland, Botchwitz, Durenburger, Stassen, (ie. Republican office holders of note) would bite their tongues when the media came around looking for staged partisan comments . They would wish HHH or WM well personally, change the subject and move along. Because they were decent, CIVIL, Minnesotans.

    Their personal, state and regional credo taught them to behave when one of our own is on the national stage.

    I dare anyone to find some caustic comments by one of the notable republican office holders of the era. Not some lowly suburban counil office holder, or party hack,but a top notch office holder such a mayor of the largest city. Shame on you RT!

    After being in both parties for better then 15 years, I’ve got to say the Repubs have politeness and Minnesota nice in spades over these DFL’ers

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 04/14/2011 - 06:38 pm.

    Can’t. Too many tp LGA cuts.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/14/2011 - 08:41 pm.

    I’d suggest that all our Minneapolis correspondents, here, who so HATE to pay taxes of any kind for any purpose, grab their OWN shovels and fix their OWN blessed pot holes.

    As far as the Massachusetts folks throwing former Gov. Pawlenty in the harbor, I couldn’t have said it better myself. If Gov. Pawlenty had taken “a long walk off a short pier” a few years back, the state of Minnesota would be in far better shape to deal with the economic challenges being brought about by the current economic downturn coupled with the inevitable and completely necessary and unavoidable increases in health care and retirement expenses as the result of the “Baby Boomers” becoming part of our state’s retirement population.

  5. Submitted by William Pappas on 04/14/2011 - 08:42 pm.

    The mystery of the media’s coverage of Pawlenty is that they haven’t done any research of his tenure as an elected official in Minnesota. I know many people on the east coast and they’ve indicated he is being exposed for the fake he is and the word disingenuous is used a lot. The “blank slate” business is puzzling. He has a very long slate of failures that we all know about, the worst of which our legislature and governor are dealing with right now. While Palin had the courage to just quit Pawlenty simply abandoned ship, leaving the rest of us to save the sinking state. Minnesota has never seen such disinterest from a Governor or a more selfish imposition of personal ambition resulting in the complete distraction of the Governor’s office. That, in itself, speaks volumes of Pawlenty’s character and courage to govern.

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/14/2011 - 09:47 pm.

    Gee, Ron, I wonder where the money to build the street and then to fill the potholes comes from?

    Perhaps YOU should grab a shovel and buy a bag or two of patching material, and demonstrate a free-market approach to road repair.

  7. Submitted by Randall Ryder on 04/14/2011 - 10:05 pm.

    Mayor Rybak has the integrity and honesty to tell it like it is. Thanks!

  8. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/15/2011 - 08:14 am.

    Pawlenty didn’t run for reelection as gov. because of the following. No matter how much Pawlenty tries to rewrite history his legacy is a $6,000,000,000 debt. If Pawlenty were able to think of himself objectively here is what he would come up with. I’m was able to kick the can down the road in hopes of someone else getting to handle the problems. I excelled at trickery and deception. I didn’t raise taxes, just fees. Two terms in office and I have zero notable accomplishments. I was frequently absent from the state as I was off serving myself. I’m incapable of working with others. I have one concern in my life, me. I will help you if you have deep pockets. I’m a political weasel. I was against the stimulus because the Republican talking points say I had to be against it but, I did however base 25% of my states budget on federal assistance. Now I can add I’m a supreme hypocrite. I’ve never won a gubernatorial election by majority vote. Even the GOP recognizes my value, I can’t beat Sarah Palin in a GOP straw poll. I sound like a high school walking Republican talking point machine on Meet The Press. I sued the Federal government over health care reform so it will look good to my Republican friends. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference I was listed as also on the ballot after the straw poll vote. The Minnesota State Supreme Court has found I operate outside the law. After running hard for months I was able to get 1% of the Iowa Republican voters behind my awesome ideas. It is so hard for me as a hypocrite to keep it all straight. Who knows maybe this is the resume that will make me president so I can do good things for you too!

    As soon as Pawlenty gets away from Fox (sorry I can’t use “News” in the same sentence as Fox)Pawlenty will be exposed for the failure he is. In a country of 300,000,000 people it is amazing the poor quality candidates the voters have to choose from.

    It is amazing how small the package when someone gets all wrapped up in themselves.

  9. Submitted by Paul Scott on 04/15/2011 - 10:10 am.

    “After being in both parties for better then 15 years, I’ve got to say the Repubs have politeness and Minnesota nice in spades over these DFL’ers”

    Wow. Just, wow.

    I would say that the governor is reaping what he has sown.

  10. Submitted by Jim Roth on 04/15/2011 - 10:53 am.

    I don’t think there’s any problem calling a spade a spade when it’s appropriate.

  11. Submitted by Everett Flynn on 04/15/2011 - 11:25 am.

    What fantastic comments, ESPECIALLY from Scott and Pappas. I particularly like the reference to the real Pawlenty legacy having the $6b budget deficit he left behind after his eight years of failed policies and the delegation of his responsibility to provide fiscal leadership to the anti-tax zealots.

    Cheers to R.T. for being willing to draw the attention of the media in primary states and across the country so that they get a bead on who TPaw really is. Pawlenty may finally have gotten a decent haircut, but he’s the same hack now that he was back when he sold his political soul.

    And let’s not misplace our sense of propriety. We do this country no favors if we pretend not to know how poorly he led this state and let him get away with his revisionist editing of his resume.

    He’s entitled to claim whatever he wants in pursuit of higher office, of course. Just as we’re entitled to tell the truth — a vastly different story than one will find in his campaign book/video. Courage to Stand??? Please… of all the unmitigated gall. How about “Courage to Cave” before the anti-tax crowd? That was his singular achievement.

    Humphrey and others campaigned in a far, far different political climate. The deceits and misrepresentations of Pawlenty’s campaign are already far too egregious for any concerned citizen here in Minnesota to swallow and “wish him well.” That previous poster is right — Pawlenty deserves to reap what he has sown.

  12. Submitted by will lynott on 04/15/2011 - 06:33 pm.

    “After being in both parties for better then 15 years, I’ve got to say the Repubs have politeness and Minnesota nice in spades over these DFL’ers” – Eric Larson

    Eric, you have got to be joking. When I saw your post I must admit I went back to the article and looked for the cheap shots–and found none. As far as I could tell, there were only facts from TP’s record. On the other hand, if (I just thought of this) you’re thinking that “thou shalt not speak ill of another Minnesotan,” then you’ve never been treated to the famous TP sarcasm. Look no further than his “abysmally stupid” assessment of legislators who wanted to raise the gas tax so this state’s crumbling infrastructure (including Gotzman’s potholes)could be fixed. Never mind that also that he led the efforts to punish the six Rs who dared to cross him on that issue. TP, of course, wanted to borrow (!) to pay for highways, a nincompoop idea if I ever heard one.

    Kudos to Ryback. He’s telling the truth. I hope the rest of the Dems will find their voice soon.

  13. Submitted by Margaret Chayka on 04/17/2011 - 10:08 am.

    Do any of you liberal posters here think deficits might be due to over-spending? Think of your own budget. If you’re broke, is it because you don’t have enough money, or is it because you went out drinking 2-3 times last month, bought a new i-thing or the latest video game or more clothes than you need, ate out too much because you can’t make food for yourself or went to the movies? Sticking to a budget isn’t hard. Not for a person, and not for a state; if Rybak is short of dough, it’s because he doesn’t have the discipline to run a city budget, end of story. Will I vote for Pawlenty? No way – he lost me when he hopped on the glo-bull warming train.

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