January 11, 2011

TIM PAWLENTY DEMONSTRATES THAT HE’S NOT MAN ENOUGH TO BE PRESIDENT. Well, that was quick. These are the times that try men’s souls. Sometimes, they’re found wanting.

UPDATE: So Politico has updated its story and here’s the key bit:

“It would not have been my style,” Pawlenty said Tuesday on “Good Morning America,” referring to a map like the one posted last year on the Sarah PAC website showing crosshairs on the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other Democratic lawmakers who supported health care reform.

He was quick to add that he sees no link between Palin’s imagery and the shootings Saturday in Tucson that claimed six lives and critically injured Giffords.

Asked later in the morning on ABC’s “The View” if he thought the Tucson incident would mark the end of Palin’s political career, the former governor replied, “No, no, I don’t.”

“You can debate tactics and style,” he said, “but there’s no evidence that she or anyone else is at fault” for inspiring the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner.

“We have a mentally unstable, deranged individual,” Pawlenty said. “We know that sometimes they do senseless and irrational things. And to condemn or to judge based on those facts as we know them today is unfair.”

And here’s my problem. “It would not have been my style.”

Really? If some Web guy had done that map, Tim Pawlenty would have looked at it and said, pre-Tucson, “Oh noes, those look like crosshairs! Take them off!” Tim Pawlenty may say he would have done that, and for all I know may even think he would have done that. But to me, agreeing with Stephen Green, above, it looks like an instinct to separate himself from controversy, and ingratiate himself with the interviewer, that speaks poorly.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Pawlenty followup here. Also, more from Stephen Green:

I’m no Palin partisan. Far from it. In fact — and here I go starting trouble again — although I like her, there’s not much chance I would vote for Sarah in any primary. So I’m not tempted to scratch off Pawlenty because he supposedly dissed Palin. It’s clear to me that he did no such thing.

My problem with Pawlenty’s statement is twofold: It’s weak tea (no pun intended) and this is the exact wrong time to make even the smallest concession to the lefty narrative. By weak tea, I mean: Pawlenty didn’t say much at all, and I’d rather have a stand up guy sitting at the Resolute desk. As to his concession, it was tiny but it was there: Words, symbols even, can be bad naughty evil things that make otherwise nice boys shoot at congressmen.

No.

We fight the Left on this and we fight it hard.

And Pawlenty didn’t, says Stephen. That’s how it looks to me, too. Andrew Sullivan thinks this is about “subcultures.” I think it’s about submission to a media meme. Not what we need now, and ironic in a guy with a book out about having the courage to stand up.

MORE: Courage To Sit: “He had, of course, a different agenda, and the last thing he wanted to do in these appearances was talk about Sarah Palin. But he should have anticipated that topic number one would be Tucson, and that if he wants to be held in high regard by the party’s base, he should take advantage of the opportunity to be a hero by standing up to the pathetically weak left-wing narrative. That he didn’t do so, strongly enough to be perceived as doing so by conservatives, is unfortunate, to say the least. We are in a moment in time where most Americans are ready to turn away from the Democrats’ ghoulish opportunism in revulsion, and Pawlenty played it much too safe.”