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Pawlenty Speaks Good Dollars and Sense

Tim Pawlenty just might have the right stuff for 2012. At the very least, the man certainly speaks good dollars and sense. Which at this particular moment is the one thing Americans want most desperately to hear.

I should mention that the erstwhile Minnesota governor speaks without hyperbole, histrionics, political-shyster sophistry, or sophomoric metaphors, which I, personally, find very refreshing. Governor Pawlenty seems to understand that urgent problems require thoughtful solutions presented in grown-up to grown-up fashion, rather than in some silly politician’s idea of Vaudevillian slapstick. All in all, Pawlenty comes across as a serious man for the serious times in which we unhappily find ourselves living.

I doubt  we would ever see Tim Pawlenty photographed wearing sissy shorts, sipping a Slurpee in flip-flops and shades. No, if Pawlenty were president, I sense he would work overtime without bearing a petulant grudge against the job for which he applied. I really can’t see this man demanding a vacation every other day.

No, Pawlenty is definitely of serious-worker quality.

And I’ve yet to see a fawning female groupie faint at his feet. A very positive sign.

Pawlenty went to the University of Chicago this week to give a major let’s-fix-this-damned-economy speech. He unveiled the fundamental elements of his plan, which he is calling “A Better Deal.” This is a bit too much FDR-channeling for my taste, but who knows. Perhaps even those mythical “moderates,” who voted for The One, are smart enough to recognize Obama’s “Raw Deal” — at least every time they try to grab an inflated-priced burger and beer and see the bar’s TV catching their little-people’s-savior president yucking it up at Martha’s Vineyard or ping-ponging through Europe on their dime.

Choosing this venue, the University of Chicago — a mere hop, skip and jump from Barack and Michelle’s Hyde Park mansion — was pure poking-a-finger-in-Obama’s-eye symbolism. Smart move.

The speech, I thought, was quite Reanganesque, despite the FDR-symbolism in its title.

Pawlenty seems to have properly updated his Reaganesque message for our time. Reminding Americans of the ridiculously hailed “Recovery Summer” of last year, Pawlenty reeled off the anything-but-recovered, actual economic vital signs:

  • Gas is nearly $4 a gallon.
  • Home prices are in the gutter. 
  • Our health care system — thanks to ObamaCare — is more expensive. And less efficient. 
  • Unemployment’s back over 9%.
  • Our national debt has skyrocketed. 
  • Our budget deficit has grown worse.
  • And the jobs and manufacturing reports are grim.

At this point, T-Paw winked at the “what would Reagan do?” crowd and introduced a prescription of his very own:

If that was a recovery — then our president needs to enter economic rehab. And the American people need to stop his policies. Cold turkey.  

The addiction to spending must be brought to a halt. And we must have a president who has a growth agenda. With pro-growth policies I will. 

The president wrongly thought the stimulus — the bailouts — and the takeovers were the solution. He says they worked. They did not. 

The president is satisfied with a second-rate American economy. Produced by his third-rate policies. I’m not.

Straight talk about the dollars. And lots of common sense.

Pawlenty’s straight-talk, Rx approach seems to be modeled on the modern intervention methodology.  This is quite apt, I think,  for an electorate who, a mere 30 months ago, got completely stoned on hope-dope and delivered the presidency to their pusher.

Now, who could have imagined that 2008’s “stoned on hope-dope” election would produce calamity? Anyone?

Like all good grown-ups should, Pawlenty insists upon a major intervention ASAP. Positive intervention with the hope-dope folks is precisely what he’s offering:

I promised to level with the American people. To look them in the eye. And tell them the truth. 

I went to Iowa. And said we need to phase out federal ethanol subsidies. I went to Florida. And said we need to raise the retirement age for the next generation. And means-test cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security. I went to New York City.  And told Wall Street that the era of bailouts — carve-outs — and handouts had to end. 

I’m willing to tell Americans the hard truth. And I believe Americans are ready to hear it.  

But the truth about our economy isn’t hard at all. Markets work. Barack Obama’s central planning doesn’t.

Substance over style. Hard truth over more spell-blinding fairy dust. Seems like a very timely approach to the 2012 election if you ask me.

Pawlenty’s tax-code overhaul sounds like pure American dream. When hard-working, middle-class breadwinners realize what’s in it for them, the national demand for sleeping pills may subside a bit. Three tax rates:  0 — 10% — 25%:

A one-third cut in the bottom rate. To allow younger — middle — and lower-income families to save and build wealth. And a  28% cut in the top rate — to spur investment and job creation.

Pawlenty also came out in favor of the balanced budget by law for the feds, saying we need to put Congress in a “spending straitjacket.”  That was my favorite line, by the way, in the entire speech. Message from the people to the government:  “Step away from our checkbooks. Now.”

Pawlenty is smart to remind voters every single time he speaks that he has actually spurred a sizable economy – Minnesota’s – for eight full years as a two-term governor. Having presided over the budget of one of the 49 states that require balanced budgets by law is a pretty sterling qualification to have upon one’s resume as America hangs upside down upon the cliff’s edge in waiting-for-the-Greatest-Depression-shoe-to-drop anxiety.

Pawlenty, should he get the Republican nomination, will be faced off with a guy who didn’t even so much as run his own paper route before ascending to the most powerful political position in the universe. If Pawlenty wants to make the comparison on his economic creds, he had better be reminding the voters at every turn that people stoned on hope-dope, who decide to put their pusher in charge of their bread and butter, are just begging for a slow death by starvation.

All in all, I have to say that Pawlenty is definitely in the running for my vote, despite his charisma-challenged presentation. But I’m an older, white, married gal, with a whole lot of home-budgeting, hard lessons under my own belt.  The folks Pawlenty must convince were, less than three years ago, candidates for straitjackets themselves.

Will Pawlenty’s intervention model appeal to them now that they are reaping the disastrous consequences of their own folly?

Ah. That is the real question of 2012 — for all of us. Can the hope-dopers give their pusher the shove and leap into health and prosperity, latching the white coattails of a very sober interventionist?

It’s looking very iffy at the moment.

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