From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday morning, in an openly, shamelessly fawning front-page article. The Strib has always loved TBag with great, powerful love.
Like a singer trying so very hard to persuade an adoring crowd that there are no more encores, the former governor’s efforts to hush all the talk about a return to politics seems a little less than completely sincere to both fans and foes. While perhaps genuinely undecided, Pawlenty has had private discussions about the prospect with donors and political supporters.
Meanwhile, talk of another run by the two-term Republican has preoccupied the state’s political insiders for months.
That second paragraph is gross exaggeration. But, whatever.
Here is the reality of what went on in Minnesota when Tim Pawlenty was governor. The full report, accessible from the linked page, is conclusive and damning. The worst governor in the state’s history, hands down.
– Minnesota’s performance relative to the national average in terms of unemployment rates and employment growth (since 2001) has deteriorated.
– Somewhat smaller-but still significant-deterioration was observed on the three income and pay measures.
– On all three education indicators-pupil-teacher ratio, students at or above “basic” level in math and reading, and per capita state and local spending on education-Minnesota’s performance declined relative to other states.
– Minnesota’s position in terms of road miles in poor or mediocre condition fell sharply relative to the rest of the nation; the miles of roads in poor or mediocre condition in Minnesota more than doubled from 2002 to 2007.
– On the other four factors examined in this report (homeownership rates, health insurance coverage, bridge deficiency percentage, and poverty rates) there was no evidence of a statistically significant decline in Minnesota’s performance relative to other states. Nor was there evidence of improvement.
Actually, the one interesting thing in the Strib article, and I don’t know how it got past the editors, is the all-but-open admission that Minnesota’s existing crop of declared GOP gubernatorial candidates is a feeble, even miserable, bunch. It’s about a third of the way down.
If you’re late to the game here, Pawlenty, the worst kind of self-serving political hack, sometimes tried to act like some sort of conciliating “moderate” during part of his governorship. But when the Tea Party came along he sucked up to it with the worst of them. That’s where the nicknames used above come from.
Pawlenty has a gargantuan ego, one that outweighs his very mediocre intellect and abilities by an even greater ratio than is the norm for right-wing politicians. Undoubtedly he’s never gotten over the humiliating end to his presidential effort, when he got his tail kicked by Michele Bachmann – yes, Crazy Michele Bachmann – in the Iowa straw poll in 2011, which made him a national laughingstock. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he tries to erase the memory of that, next year, with a winning gubernatorial run.
Donald Trump is in the White House. Politically, any awful thing is possible, these days, no matter how unlikely it might seem out of the gate. It’s important to accept the reality of that, and deal with it accordingly. Don’t let claims that this a**hole was anything other than an atrociously wretched, failed governor go unchallenged, anywhere, if you want any advice from me.