In a blog post this morning about Tim Pawlenty’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, I wrote that he would kick off his campaign “[n]ot with a third installment of “The Bourne Candidacy” but with three network interviews. I was wrong. Oh, he did the interviews. But the Minnesota governor couldn’t resist hitting us with another slickly produced soul-stirring visual bonanza.
This is quite a comedown from Pawlenty’s video trumpeting his exploratory committee.
Perhaps he did it this way because the real fireworks were in his announcement speech. Standing there in Des Moines, Iowa — a.k.a corn country — Pawlenty said, “We also need the government out of the business of handing out favors and special deals. The free market, not freebies from politicians, should decide a company’s success. So, as part of a larger reform, we need to phase out subsidies across all sources of energy and all industries, including ethanol.” And he plans to deliver “the truth” all this week to audiences in Florida (Tuesday), Washington (Wednesday) and New York (Thursday). Raising the retirement age, block-granting Medicare, cutting the federal bureaucracy and freezing federal salaries, and ending bank bailouts are all on the agenda.
With all the problems facing the country, Pawlenty deserves points for saying all this out loud. As he says in his video, the American people deserve someone who “could just tell you the truth.” He won’t be the first Minnesotan aspiring to higher office promising to tell the truth.
Unfortunately for Pawlenty, former vice president Walter Mondale, the Democratic Party presidential nominee in 1984, went down in stunning defeat. President Reagan won every state except Minnesota. Maybe things will be different for Pawlenty. Big maybe.