Viewpoint: Pawlenty has the right stuff for 2012It was September of 1997 at the Republican State Convention in Bemidji Minnesota. I was there working with the Allen Quist for Governor Campaign. Many speeches were made that day by various candidates.
By: Steve Lagoon, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
It was September of 1997 at the Republican State Convention in Bemidji Minnesota. I was there working with the Allen Quist for Governor Campaign. Many speeches were made that day by various candidates. The day was dragging long. I noticed someone sitting by himself up in the bleachers, far away from the crowds. His name was Tim Pawlenty, a representative from Eagan and a new candidate for governor. Curious, I greeted him and he told me his back was bothering him and he needed to get away from the crown and stretch out.
In retrospect, that he was relaxing in the bleachers of a hockey rink is most appropriate given his love for the sport. Indeed, the hockey stick would be his symbol at the next Republican State Convention (more on that later). Although I was a strong supporter of Quist in 1998 (I was honored to serve on his steering committee), I was impressed by this up and coming politician with the sore back. Norm Coleman would eventually be the Republican candidate for Governor in 1998 in losing effort to Jesse Ventura. But things were just getting started for Pawlenty.
In 2002, he was famously dissuaded by Vice-President Dick Cheney from running for the U.S. Senate (to clear the way for Coleman). Pawlenty ended up running against Brian Sullivan for the Republican endorsement for governor.
The convention endorsement for governor was a legendary
battle that lasted until 4:00 A.M. the following day. I came to the convention as a Sullivan supporter, but eventually swung over to Pawlenty because I felt that the press was comfortable with Pawlenty, but would vilify Sullivan as they had done with Quist.
Years later, Pawlenty has served two largely successful terms as governor and just missed being the Republican vice-president candidate for the McCain campaign. Amazingly, he won the election for his second term as governor on a night that was a disaster for most Republicans across the country. I said all that to say this - Tim Pawlenty will be the next president of the United States of America and I am excited about the prospect.
I haven’t agreed with everything he has done as governor. For instance, getting money in the public coughers by raising fees is still a tax. I also disagreed with his initiative to spur development in rural Minnesota with special tax zones, as well as his support of subsidies for ethanol producers. That said, Pawlenty did a lot of things right. He kept his major campaign promises concerning pro-life issues, gun rights, and keeping a lid on spending. He has withstood much political pressure to raise taxes. Keeping his no new tax pledge was all the more difficult in light of the terrible economic conditions during his time as governor due to circumstances beyond his control. You could put it this way, when the Minnesota Legislature were like little children who couldn’t‚t do their jobs, Pawlenty was the adult in the room who did the tough work of balancing budgets without stiffing Minnesota taxpayers.
I’m jumping on the bandwagon and encouraging Pawlenty to run for president because he has the qualities needed to win and to be a good president. He is intelligent (he can string together three or four coherent sentences), is knowledgeable on the issues, able to communicate effectively, photogenic, and has a confident and optimistic tone. He also has a great personal story that exemplifies the American dream.
I know it’s early, but I am looking for a star out of the North to lead us into the Republican promised land in 2012. Go, Pawlenty, Go!
Steve Lagoon is a Woodbury resident and former Republican candidate for state representative.