Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Star-Trib Columnist Coleman Slams T-Paw

I am not a big fan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, I think that they have some columnists who simply blather, but yet, like a great athlete the Star-Trib comes through in the clutch. Today, Nick Coleman (no relation to the Senator) comes through and slams Gov. Pawlenty for abandoning ship when the state most needs help. Some of the better excerpts from his column "Avast, Cap'n Tim! The ship of state is sinking - why aren't ye at the wheel?" (which you can read here):

If the state of Minnesota were "Titanic," this would be the part in the movie where some of the rich passengers put dresses on and try to sneak into the lifeboats.

Someone should tell the captain.

Unfortunately, our "captain" isn't often at the helm. On an endless circuit of talk shows and national appearances aimed at puffing his profile for 2012, Gov. Tim Pawlenty leaves Thursday on a trip to Israel that will come in handy during foreign policy debates ("I've visited our friends in Israel") but may not do much for Minnesota's pork producers.

There are fifth-grade civics classes that spend more time at the State Capitol than T-Paw. Too bad. We need a full-time governor.

Of course, my emphasis. Coleman goes on to say:
Pawlenty still is a prisoner to the deceitful "no new tax" cult that has cut income taxes for the wealthy while raising fees and property taxes on everyone else. Even in the face of looming crisis, he can't stop sipping the Kool-Aid.

Does anyone still think that leading Minnesota involves protecting the privileged from paying their fair share? Minnesota might gain $1 billion in revenue if the wealthiest paid the same tax rate as the middle class. (Pawlenty underestimates the true amount.)

Republican legislators are making Mickey Mouse proposals to sell parts of government -- including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. I suggest we sell legislators instead. Some of these geniuses might make good lawn ornaments.

He saves some rage for the state Dems:

And our wimpy Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for bipartisanship and talking about the importance of not being divisive. Are they kidding?

Let me go ahead and say I don't always agree with Nick Coleman, but he is completely right about both Pawlenty's absenteeism and false bipartisanship.

The state of Minnesota faces something close to a 6 billion dollar deficit, and yet Coleman tried to earn political points at the National Governors Association meeting with Barack Obama by critiquing Obama's plan of using federal funds to help state funds. He said:
“The states should substantially fix their own problems,” the Republican governor told a reporter in Philadelphia, where he and other governors met with President-elect Barack Obama.
As Coleman points out, the question that naturally arises is "Why isn't he fixing Minnesota's Problems?" Isn't he the leader of his state? He's too busy building up his résumé for a potential run in 2012. He doesn't realize that the best way to build that résumé is to actually govern the state, and moreover to govern the state successfully.

Lastly, his critique of Democrats is fair. While Minnesota nice is a good governing paradigm, that doesn't meant that Democrats (who control both houses) can use that as an excuse not to make thier own plans and try to govern. Pawlenty is out, Republicans are down, Democrats should not rub it in, and they are right to avoid creating a divise atmosphere in St. Paul, but that does not mean they cannot create their own plans. They have the votes to override Pawlenty in the Senate and they have shown an ability to bring Republicans along on good legislation.

Someone needs to govern. Minnesotans voted for Democrats, lets see them step up. The best way to stay in power is to prove that you can govern.

Update: Among other things, T-Paw has been spotted writing an editorial for Politico arguing for a Balanced-Budget Amendment which would prohibit the government from using deficit spending to improve our economy. When our economy is at the weakest, Pawlenty wants to take away another tool? Really? Especially a tool that's been proven to work? Read more on this and on how Pawlenty supported a plan that involved deficit spending a short while ago.

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