Friday, February 15, 2008

T-Paw Ex Machina

Governor Pawlenty made an excellent, well-reviewed State of the State speech in St. Cloud earlier this week. It was a powerful reminder of what an effective communicator Pawlenty can be.

Unfortunately, Pawlenty hasn't been offering a lot of effective communication lately, at least for local consumption. He has spent a lot of his time in recent weeks on the road for John McCain and playing footsie with the global warming crowd. This sort of thing frustrates conservatives and rightly so. The sense a lot of us have is that Pawlenty has been more interested in pursuing private agendas than in fighting for conservative principles or even doing right by the people who elected him. Because he is such an amiable fellow, he gets by with it a lot. And if there weren't consequences to his actions, many people would probably give him a pass.

The consequences are all too apparent, though. Because of the disastrous special election for Tom Neuville's seat, it's quite likely that the DFL will have a veto-proof majority in the Senate. T-Paw could have helped out there, but he didn't. For much of the past six months, Pawlenty has been largely absent from the fray in St. Paul. Worse, his absence has essentially cleared the stage for the DFL. (I had a little fun with that idea in this post which I wrote yesterday but didn't get around to posting until earlier today.)

Pawlenty needs to change course now. Effective speeches are wonderful things; they are no substitute for sustained interest, effort and leadership from the governor. It simply won't do for Tim Pawlenty to give a speech, then disappear again and drop into the action from time to time with his veto pen. This legislative session promises to be especially contentious and it won't be possible for the Republicans in the legislature to get much traction when faced with the myriad predations of Pogemiller, Kelliher et al. The DFLers will be coming for Carol Molnau and they won't stop there. Dave Senjem and Marty Seifert can talk all they want, but the cameras won't turn to them most days. Pawlenty can draw a crowd of cameras any time he chooses to. Even better, if Pawlenty uses his skills properly, he can turn the debate, and the legislation coming from the legislature, into something better, perhaps even something worth signing, if he is persuasive enough. Pawlenty is a popular governor and he can run rings around Pogemiller and Kelliher, who are not impressive figures. Here's hoping that Pawlenty chooses to be an active player now that the legislature is in session.


Right Hook said...

The Gov's speech was good as far as laying down the law about tax hikes, but he still kotows to the "green" lobby.

Great point about the Tom Neuville debacle - perhaps if TP had stayed home campaigning for his locals instead of brown-nosing for McCain the seat may have remained GOP.

Can't wait for Act II of your play...especially to find out if Kate's paranoia about some boot is justified or just liberal angst.

Strolling Amok said...

I'm kinda hoping the Gov's efforts pay off in a VP nod for him. Getting him out of the state and then watching him get clocked in the general election would be sweet.

Strolling Amok said...

Oh, and congrats on the True North gig - Mr. D is going places.