‘Truth-telling’ Pawlenty may seize the opening in GOP field

For a two-term governor of a decent-size state who’s been running for president all but officially for about a year now, Tim Pawlenty has made surprisingly little noise in the GOP race so far.

That might be about to change.

In a speech Monday making his candidacy official, Pawlenty made clear that his early theme of “truth telling” applies to everyone — including the Iowa audience to whom he was speaking. From RadioIowa (which offers audio of the speech at the link):

Pawlenty called for “big time” cuts in federal spending, including an end to federal subsidies for corn-based ethanol fuel.

“The hard truth is there are no longer any sacred programs,” Pawlenty said. “The truth about federal energy subsidies — including federal subsidies for ethanol — is that they need to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly, but we need to do it.”

Pawlenty, as governor of Minnesota, reduced state subsidies for ethanol. According to Pawlenty, it’s time to do the same on the national level “on a much, much larger scale.”

“It can’t be done overnight. The industry has made large investments and it wouldn’t be fair to pull the rug out from under them immediately, but we must face the truth that if we want to invite more competition, more investment and more innovation in the industry, need to get the government out,” Pawlenty said, to applause.

Iowa produces nearly a third of the ethanol in the U.S. converting over a billion bushels of corn into more than 3.6 billion gallons of ethanol each year. Pawlenty presented his proposal to end ethanol subsidies as an example of his commitment to avoid making “fluffy promises of hope and change” and his pledge to outline a “new approach” to governing.

Telling the voters in the nation’s first 2012 primary state that he’d end their most fiercely guarded subsidies? That’s a kind of boldness that contrasts sharply with Newt Gingrich, to name one other GOP aspirant. Pawlenty framed his ethanol approach as part of a pledge to “tell the truth” to everyone:

That’s why later this week I’m going to New York City to tell Wall Street that if I’m elected, the era of bailouts, handouts and carve-outs will be over. No more subsidies, no more special treatment. No more Fannie and Freddie, no more TARP, and no more “too big to fail.”

Tomorrow, I’m going to Florida to tell both young people and seniors the truth — that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path and that inaction is no longer an option.

Our national debt, combined with Obamacare, have placed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in real peril. I’ll tell young people the truth that over time and for them only, we’re going to gradually raise their Social Security retirement age.

And I’ll also tell the truth to wealthy seniors that we will means-test Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment.

This week I’ll also be in Washington, D.C., to remind the federal bureaucracy that government exists to serve its citizens, not its employees….

That means freezing federal salaries, transitioning federal employee benefits and downsizing the federal workforce as it retires. It means paying public employees for results, not just seniority — from the Capitol to the classroom and everywhere in between.

(via Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post)

For months, I’ve heard members of Congress and other elected officials and politicos talk about how the American people are “ahead of us” in terms of being realistic about the nation’s finances and prepared to deal with it. That’s hard to say: On one hand, you have President Barack Obama, in particular, preaching a notion of “shared sacrifice” that always sounds crafted to make his audience believe someone else will bear a bit bigger share of the burden. On the other hand, you have a host of opinion polls suggesting many Americans believe the problem really does stem from what someone else is doing or getting or not having to pay. And no wonder: Politicians of both parties have been communicating that message, in one form or another, for years.

Pawlenty seems to be betting his candidacy on the idea that voters truly will buy into the idea of shared sacrifice — if it’s presented warts and all, without favoritism.

That’s what it’ll take to fix the problem. In about eight months, we’ll find out whether he’s just in time or ahead of his time.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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94 comments Add your comment

Lil' Barry Bailout

May 24th, 2011
5:25 am

AP-GfK Poll: Medicare doesn’t have to be cut

WASHINGTON (AP) — They’re not buying it. Most Americans say they don’t believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows.
—————————-

Let’s hope that people like Pawlenty are able to make a convincing argument, will lead rather than follow the polls, and that Americans are ready to “change”. I don’t believe most Americans are smart enough to understand that they’re already screwed because politicians of both parties have already spent the SS and Medicare “trust funds”.

[...] Read More… [...]

Joel Edge

May 24th, 2011
6:42 am

I don’t think he’ll have a problem with the American public in general. “without favoritism” is going to be the problem. Across the board cuts seems to be the only chance.

ByteMe

May 24th, 2011
6:58 am

Tomorrow, I’m going to Florida to tell both young people and seniors the truth — that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path and that inaction is no longer an option.

That buzzing sound you hear — and that smell of burning flesh — is Pawlenty stepping on the “Third Rail” of politics and getting fried. He should’ve stuck to super-hero videos.

I wonder if he’ll tell the truth about federal intervention into doctor-pregnant patient relationships?

Misty Fyed

May 24th, 2011
7:00 am

Why is it the seniors get a pass on taking responsibility for the mess we are in? Why is it the youth who will have to pay the Seniors earlier retirement while only looking forward to working longer for less. It is the seniors who allowed this mess to happen. Its their disregard of common sense economics that built this debt. Obviously, the youth will have to face changes but omitting the seniors from paying a price for their generations mistakes is absolutely unfair.

Mongo

May 24th, 2011
7:01 am

“Our national debt, combined with Obamacare, have placed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in real peril” So much for Pawlenty telling the truth,

Dave R.

May 24th, 2011
7:07 am

Mongo can’t count!

Mongo

May 24th, 2011
7:14 am

I can add up the cost of two wars, medicare D, and tax cuts galore and see that the sum is much more than “Obamacare” has cost us.

I guess Dave R. just can’t handle the truth.

Show me the money

May 24th, 2011
7:23 am

For every dollar reduced to medicare, reduce the defined benefits pension for govt workers including the armed forces, by the same dollar. Otherwise, STFU.

Dave R.

May 24th, 2011
7:25 am

While you look to the past and assign blame, some people (mainly the new breed of Republicans) are looking to the future and saying “It doesn’t matter how we got into this, it matters how we fix it”.

It is the difference between whining and leadership. It is the difference between wallowing in our present, and addressing the problems that even a blind man can see we are facing if we don’t do something radically different.

But I guess bumper-sticker slogans like “It’s Bush’s fault” are all you can handle, Mongo.

@@

May 24th, 2011
7:48 am

One would think the left-wingers could appreciate Pawlenty’s message regarding subsidies. That the government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers with taxpayers’ money. Perhaps they’re the ones that are clinging to SS and medicare?

Pawlenty should put up videos of the youthful protests where austerity measures have been put in place, then say….”We, as a country, and you, as individuals, would all be better off had you heard the truth in your youth, but you didn’t….you fell for the government’s scheme and are now their dependents in your twilight years. Sorry, I’m not gonna let you take the country with you when you go.”

I don’t know that Pawlenty’s “truth tour” will endear him to the voting public, but it should.

Who can handle the truth? Who can deal with the pain?

The selfless, that’s who.

Southern Comfort

May 24th, 2011
7:52 am

That means freezing federal salaries, transitioning federal employee benefits and downsizing the federal workforce as it retires.

Freezing federal salaries… already been done. Are we talking freezing for longer period of time? If so, watch the brain drain as people leave public service leaving untrained and inexperienced people running agencies.

Transitioning federal employee benefits… too vague an idea. How? Who?

Downsizing the federal workforce… Current Exec branch workforce is the same as it was under Reagan (about 2.1 million or so) while the population has exploded. Current employee level is less than 1% of population total, how much smaller does it need to be, .01%? .001%?

Good campaign stumping rhetoric though. It should prove very popular with the “small government” crowd.

independent thinker

May 24th, 2011
7:53 am

When Pawlenty talks about eliminating electric scooters for the overweight and lazy paid by Medicare and eliminating the Big Pharma subsidy of Medicare and eliminating gym memberships for Medicare recipients and lifting the cap on social security contributions by the wealthy and cutting back on the 700+ overseas military bases in places like Germany, Japan, Korea that can pay for their own and vetoing all earmarks, I will start listening.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

May 24th, 2011
8:07 am

We don’t need to phase out ETHANOL subsidies we need to END ETHANOL subsidies today. I see where Jack Kingston has a new farm budget plan, they plan to cur school lunch programs but continue subsidies to non farmers.

@@

May 24th, 2011
8:16 am

When ethanol was being promoted as an alternative fuel, conservatives were saying “Hold on! Not so fast…let’s think this thru.” Left-wingers were looking to the environmentalists for their opinion. Well…looks like the enviroweenies are slow on the uptake.

Kate McMahon, biofuels campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth, used a broader argument:

“The only thing ‘green’ about ethanol is the color of the cash subsidies handed to it by Congress… Increased blends of ethanol in gasoline could increase emissions of toxic air pollutants, in particular nitrogen dioxide, when burned in engines not built to withstand more ethanol. This danger applies to the vast majority of engines currently in service, from cars to boats to lawnmowers.

Ethanol results in more greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, according to the EPA’s own scientific analysis, which was included in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) Regulatory Impact Analysis released in February 2010…The production of ethanol also has detrimental effects on human and environmental health.

The production of biofuels feed stocks, like corn for ethanol, takes land away from food production and encroaches on natural ecosystems. Large-scale agricultural production of corn for ethanol often involves massive inputs of fertilizer, requires large quantities of water, contributes to soil erosion, and produces deadly run-off of pollution into freshwater sources — as illustrated by the Gulf of Mexico’s “Dead Zone.”–LATimes

Those last two paragraphs?

duh, Duh and DUUHHH-UH!!!!!!!

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

May 24th, 2011
8:28 am

@@

May 24th, 2011
8:16 am

Both of our RINO Senators are big supporters of ETHANOL, in fact Saxby’s son, Bo, is a LOBBYIST for the Chicago Merc board, who has made a bigger fortune off ETHANOL.

retired early

May 24th, 2011
8:28 am

As a Democrat, I admire his candor and a lot of his platform but without ending the bush tax cuts, the budget cannot be balanced…fairly and humanely. Also, Obama’s Health Care program…s-a-v-e-s money and attempts to rein in health care increases long term. No GOP proposal comes close. With his “party line” rejection of “Obama care”, he either does not tell “the truth” in every instance or he is not an intelligent, independent thinker capable of stepping out of line on ANY of the mainstream GOP dogma. No, Pawlenty is telling the truth when it sounds good to the audience he is addressing.

Southern Comfort

May 24th, 2011
8:32 am

@@

I used to support ethanol, but not as a source of fuel. My support was usually in the form of purchasing Everclear™ and/or Golden Grain™ when I was in college. That’s about as close to pure ethanol I’ve supported. I’m in agreement that there should not be subsidies for ethanol, oil, nat gas, or any other groups.

Mudfoot

May 24th, 2011
8:46 am

“While you look to the past and assign blame, some people (mainly the new breed of Republicans) are looking to the future and saying “It doesn’t matter how we got into this, it matters how we fix it”.”

What I believe you hardline conservatives aren’t accounting for while pushing this gop talking point is the basic American desire for… accountability. You flatly refuse to acknowledge any role in the downfall of our economy, touting that line of fecal matter quoted above, while loudly and as obnoviously as possible assigning blame to the present administration for everything from fuel prices to the cost of an ounce of yak piss in Mongolia. True, we need to move forward, but I don’t believe we need a party of petulant deflectionist hypocrites leading the way.
I understand you’ve dumbrd-down your base to the point of blind acceptance and obedience… hell, the fools advocate for you. On the other hand, if you wish to attract those removed from the far right fringes and aware of your ignorance campaign, you’re going to have to at least behave like grown-ups, if only temporarily so you may win your respective elections.

Obama's Tax Cuts

May 24th, 2011
8:53 am

retired early

without ending the bush tax cuts, the budget cannot be balanced…

Are you referring to the “bush tax cuts” that Obama signed into law this past Dec? Shouldn’t you now refer to the tax cuts as “Obama tax cuts”? Or would that confuse your talking points?

mudfoot's master

May 24th, 2011
8:57 am

Mudfoot

What I believe you hardline conservatives aren’t accounting for while pushing this gop talking point is the basic American desire for… accountability.

ROTFLMAO.

Accountability? Like 45% of Obama’s 2011 budget is not funded with tax receipts? Like 70% of federal government spending is for entitlement programs passed by Democrat controlled congresses in the 60’s? Like Obama just signing tax cuts for millionaires?

You ignorant mudfoot.

LawDawg

May 24th, 2011
9:11 am

It looks like someone is angling for a spot on the Pawlenty campaign.

“That might be about to change.”

No, it isn’t. I have as good a shot of getting elected President as Timmy boy does.

Junior Samples

May 24th, 2011
9:13 am

Obama Tax Cuts?
So Bohner, et al, didn’t stomp their feet, hold their breath, cover their ears while chanting “LaLaLaLa” until the tax cuts were extended or else they wouldn’t agree to ANYTHING ?

Reemmber that? It wasn’t that long ago.

Junior Samples

May 24th, 2011
9:15 am

All the while regurgitating the catch phrase “adult conversation”…

Ol' Timer

May 24th, 2011
9:18 am

When are the benefits of the Bush/Obama/Tax Cuts going to kick in?

Jefferson

May 24th, 2011
9:19 am

Talking don’t solve the problems and this fellow is just talk.

I agree on ending ethanol subsidies, because the whole idea stinks.

Gregory

May 24th, 2011
9:19 am

Shouldn’t you now refer to the tax cuts as “Obama tax cuts”?

No as I recall it was called “An extension of the Bush Era Tax Cuts”. This is the name that was assigned by the Republicans who are looking out for their rich pals.

Obamacare saves money, Bush Era Tax Cuts extends the deficit.

Republicans want to CUT what helps people and saves money, but extend what helps the rich and hursts us all.

It is what it is… No GOP candidate will help the deficit if this is what they propose. Its really that simple.

People grow tired of the party bickering on both sides of the isle. Its a smoke and mirrors show. Fight for as long as they can, nothing gets done, the politicians get paid and the public suffers.

Unless there is a unified push by both sides to agree on something nothing will get fixed.

As an Independent Conservative…I am sorry but I have not heard one thing from a Republican mouth that serves to help this country. I’ve only heard Bash Obama and Help the rich. This does not move us forward one bit. Helping the rich has kept us back for the past 10yrs.

We need a different course of action.

midtownguy

May 24th, 2011
9:26 am

I am a life-long Democrat but Pawlenty is a step in the right direction. I will listen to what he has to say over the next few months. However, until I hear a Republican own up to the cost of our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and Medicare Part D as part of our current financial peril, I just can’t quite buy in to their proposed solution.

I will admit to entitlements as part of the problem if you will admit to tax cuts while fighting unfunded wars as part of the problem.

ByteMe

May 24th, 2011
9:31 am

The problem with basing a campaign around “telling the truth” is that every time he gets caught saying something that’s demonstrably not true, he’ll end up undercutting his own message.

Prediction: he changes his strategy and messaging within 60 days.

independent thinker

May 24th, 2011
9:42 am

When Pawlenty owns up to two Repub administrations (St. Ronnie and George W.)that spent money with no regard for deficits and funded trillions to their buds and business associates in the military industrial complex (including the Ben Laden Family) I will start to listen.

JustMe

May 24th, 2011
9:44 am

and no more “too big to fail.”

I think this would be a huge mistake. If we allow big companies to fail just think of all the jobs that would be lost with it. If GM had failed it would’ve affected everyone at corporate down to the individual dealerships down to the parts suppliers and even independent garages who do work on GM vehicles. They can’t just say “no more too big to fail” unequivocally – life and everything else is just not that simple and if he thinks it is then he does not need to be running for President.

reebok

May 24th, 2011
9:45 am

I typically vote Democratic, but I will happily listen to what Gov Pawlenty has to say…my fear is that he won’t pass the Purity Tests of the Tea Party and the right-wing zealots, and the GOP will be stuck with a no-hope fringe candidate next year…an option that really does none of us any good.

MrLiberty

May 24th, 2011
9:46 am

If telling the truth got you anywhere in the GOP, Ron Paul would already have the nomination sewn up. Pawlenty will be telling the “truth” the war-mongering big government, fiat money-loving types in the GOP WANT to hear, not the real truth. Everyone knows that Ron Paul is right but they just don’t want anyone telling them the party is over so instead they will embrace clowns like Pawlenty and others who will perpetuate the lie that government is too big to afford the welfare state, but never too big to afford the WARFARE state. They both must go and only Ron Paul is willing to really tell THAT TRUTH.

handicapper

May 24th, 2011
9:47 am

Have you ever seen a bigger parade of losers than the GOP field this year?

Nobody in the current field could top 45% in the general election. We may be looking at a Reagan-esque landslide for Obama.

JustMe

May 24th, 2011
9:49 am

And btw, Pawlenty, surprise, surprise – GM is back and stronger than it has been in a long, long time and just remember they were the beneficiaries of one of those bailouts. No, the whole thing is not ideal, but seriously, what choice did we have? Let these companies go bankrupt and put this country into something worse than the Great Depression, because I guarantee you had we done that, that is what would have happened. Make no mistake.

reebok

May 24th, 2011
9:51 am

Handicapper…for what it’s worth, I agree with you.

MrLiberty

May 24th, 2011
9:56 am

JustMe – You assume that the greater depression isn’t on the way. Where is the fundamental correction of the malinvestment? Where is the clearing of the debt? Everyone of the companies that made bad decisions and should have failed was propped up with money stolen from the companies that made good decisions and deserved to succeed. I love the way you “guarantee” your opinion. Is there money behind that guarantee? Because the Federal Government guaranteed the continued operation of these failures on the backs of the next several generations.

All we have done is rewarded failure and punished success – but then that is what Ron Paul has been saying all along and that appears to be the way america now operates.

Check back with us in 5 years or so and lets see how your guarantee is holding up. Economic fundamentals trump empty guarantees everyday.

Mudfoot

May 24th, 2011
10:14 am

“Accountability? Like 45% of Obama’s 2011 budget is not funded with tax receipts? Like 70% of federal government spending is for entitlement programs passed by Democrat controlled congresses in the 60’s? Like Obama just signing tax cuts for millionaires?

You ignorant mudfoot”

First, thank you for providing an excellent example of the “weren’t us! We din’t do nothin’ wrong EVER. It’s THEIR fault… they did it!” method of deflecting any and all accountability that I brought up in my previous posts. Posts like yours are the epitome.

Second, you seem to believe that party labels apply to me. While you are free to continue doing so, I must tell you that I was registered as a republican for 24 years prior to 2004. At present I don’t subscribe to either of the two major parties’ rhetoric and am registered as an independent, though I admit that I find modern day GOP tactics more revolting than those of democrats. On that same note, democrats are so pitifully disorganized and frenetic most of the time they couldn’t communicate their platforms to the people if their lives depended on it (and their political lives do).

Third, you missed my point. Of course there is fault at all of their feet. Democrats are accountable for our present-day situation as well, though I believe republicans bear the majority of the responsibility for the economic meltdown prior to 2008. My point is that conservatives… people like you… flatout refuse to accept ANY responsibility for ANY OF IT, a fact that is as troubling as it is humorous to observe. Why would we hand the keys to a party that really, really “F”‘d up the economy badly when they absolutely deny any of it? Because they have (R) next to their name? Because they appeal to our emotions and are good at fomenting discourse? Because they’re fingers are in really good shape cuz they’re always pointing them at others? Because you court independents like myself with insults and innuendo?

HELL NO!

Bart Abel

May 24th, 2011
10:14 am

Re: “Pawlenty framed his ethanol approach as part of a pledge to “tell the truth” to everyone.”

Pawlenty is off to a bad start. The AP did a fact-check piece on Pawlenty’s opening day statement, and it turns out that…oops…he didn’t always tell the truth: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hSE448AysxOgPQc9lFL3JbZkYSuA

Bart Abel

May 24th, 2011
10:17 am

Here’s another link on the subject of Pawlenty’s relationship with the truth.

“Republican presidential candidate Pawlenty bends his truth-telling”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republican-presidential-candidate-pawlenty-bends-his-truth-telling/2011/05/23/AFOv149G_story.html

okay - i'm game

May 24th, 2011
10:19 am

as a socially liberal, fiscally conservative voter, I really have no party. I choose my candidates one by one. I don’t believe that either party has ALL of the answers. So Mr Pawlenty – show me your stuff. Tell me the truth. and stay the f*ck out of my bedroom, my internet, my church, my books, my radio, my sunday alcohol sales, and my marriage. Raise taxes if you want, but make sure the money is spent wisely. If you can do that, we’ll get along just fine.

jconservative

May 24th, 2011
10:20 am

“…shared sacrifice…”

Interesting thought. If all will be asked to sacrifice, does that mean all will be asked to give up something that at present they do not want to give up?

For example, will Republicans give up the idea of “no tax increases” in order to balance the budget?

And, will Democrats give up the idea of “no changes to Medicare” in order to balance the budget?

Shared sacrifice sounds, well ,patriotic, but is it realistic?

marc

May 24th, 2011
10:23 am

Pawlenty’s truth telling has the same political problem as Ryan’s budget….red states get more federal money than blue states…..oops.

Davilion

May 24th, 2011
10:24 am

Over the past two years, President Obama has attempted to repeal the massive giveways to Big Oil, but the companies and their lackeys(Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Sen. Johnny Isakson) in Congress have successfully lobbied to kill the proposals every time.

Sen.Saxby and Sen. Isakson (from Georgia)keep putting Big Oil before the American people and helped defeat a bill,on May 17, that would have ended tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies. They have accepted an astonishing amount of campaign money from oil companies. Big Oil has given them – including the $335,242 to Sen. Chambliss and $221,767 to Sen. Isakson. Republicans in the Senate who are up for re-election,Sen Saxby Chambliss, your vote to keep giving Big Oil companies tax breaks is a political liability for all Republicans in the 2012 elections,it just cost you Sen. Chambliss to be oust from office.

Gary

May 24th, 2011
10:25 am

How about we make the bottom pay a little. The folks who pay no Federal Income tax should be required to have a minimum payment regardless of income. The receive the lion-share of govt services. Madatory minimum. Regardless of income. $1000 bucks. You figure that applies to at least 100,000,000 who pay no federal income tax at all. Congratulations, you just shaved 1 trillion dollars from the deficit. Everyone should share some of the federal tax burden. Not just the top 50%.

Pawlenty's love child

May 24th, 2011
10:29 am

I have a secret.

JP

May 24th, 2011
10:30 am

I lean Dem on a lot of things and R on some things, it sounds like neither pary is willing to accept blame for the mess we are in. Rs forget what happened under their watch as much as Dems. As a country, do we believe everyone needs to share in the sacrifice? Will folks be willing to give-up tax cuts? Will recipients of entitlements be willing to give up what they are getting?

Aquagirl

May 24th, 2011
10:36 am

jcon, ask conservative darling Tom Coburn, who ditched the bi-partisan gang. Or any conservative who dares being seen with The Enemy. Y’know, I don’t recall any Democratic primary campaigns where accusations of being “too conservative” are flung back and forth, like five year olds hollering about the cooties.

If Mr. Pawlenty survives the angry wrinkled Floridians, I’m highly inclined to start backing him now. My bet is they’ll bludgeon him to an unrecognizable pulp with their shuffleboard tangs.

joe

May 24th, 2011
10:38 am

Peadawg sounds like a real winner…if you think Obama win that easily AND retake both houses, please tell me what you are smoking…must be some great stuff. Do you not remember what happened in the last midterm elections? take that and multiply it by ten and you get 2012. Idiot.

Roach

May 24th, 2011
10:41 am

Funny–Pawlenty’s truth-telling started with lying on Limbaugh’s show about Pawlenty’s 2006 endorsement of an activist government working on behalf of the people . . .”the era of small government is over.” Pawlenty says it’s a misquote. An inconvenient truth, maybe.