Pawlenty's quote--posted by Tony Garcia on 8/30/2006
It has been out there for a while now. It has been analyzed and dissected beyond belief. I have a little something to redress on the response to the response.
An article about an interview with Tim Pawlenty included a firestorm causing quote. "The era of small government is over."
There have been many blog postings written that point out how Clintonesque the line was. There have been many people talking about how this proves (or completes) the complete abandonment by Pawlenty of the fiscal conservative and small government ideals. David Strom has a great posting about this quote.
I guess, in a simply factual way, the era of small government ended sometime betweent the initiation of the progressive era and the beginning of WWII, but I somehow don’t think that’s quite what Pawlenty is referring to. Instead, he appears to be suggesting that us limited government types who have been trying to wrestle with the growing size and scope of government are passe. These days, using government’s coercive power to achieve your goals is in! The next wave. What Republicans are, or should be, about.Yeah, that is where the GOP seems to be headed. 'What do the polls say? That is what we believe today.' What is the guiding principle for the GOP? I used to think it was (misguidedly) victory only. After watching state and national GOPers wrap themselves around Lieberman's cause I realize that their guiding principle is "make the Democrats lose". Nothing else matters.
All I can say is, if that is where the Republican Party is going, or for that matter where our young, hip, and politically skilled Governor wants to take us, I’m not on board! Basically, the version of politics Pawlenty is hawking is one of competing interests trying to wrestle control over the power of the state to distribute the goodies. The Democrats give the goodies to the unions and public employees, the Republicans to the farmers and through new middle class entitlements like free college tuition.
Voting guide for Republican members is expected to be as follows:
1. Do nothing until election day
2. Find candidates with (R) after their name
3. Select those candidates.
To Pawlenty's credit he is doing what politicians do (and we as a population do nothing about)...he is looking for any way to maintain his power. That is all. Once in office all politicians principle boils down to one thing: Maintain Power. There is not a fidelity to "fiscal conservativism" or "small government" or any other platform in the future that the politician feels becomes a liability.
And the supporters simply follow.
You may think I'm being too hard on the supporters, but I now point to Marty's posting.
I invite anyone to make the case for me to vote for Pawlenty in the general election. I have strived in my life to find the balance between my ideology and the necessity of winning elections. A party is useless if it has no principles and principles are useless without political influence. As far as I'm concerned right now, the positions Pawlenty has been advocating for lately are contrary to my principles. In fact, Pawlenty calls into question all of my beliefs regarding size and role of government in the economy.Notice the lines in bold face. I point them out because that is one of the questions I have been asking of Pawlenty supporters for quite some time. Why should I, a fiscal conservative, vote for Pawlenty. To date there has been no answers supporting a fiscal vote FOR Pawlenty.
Please try to do better than "Pawlenty is bad but Hatch is worse."
In a moment I will give a primer on the difference between voting FOR someone vs voting AGAINST someone...and the irresponsibility in the latter. But right now I want to focus on the reaction to Marty's post.
The reaction to Marty's post has been typical of Party over Principle people. They ignore the issue, ignore the questions, attack the alternatives (on a personal level, not in any relation to the issues presented) and attack the "non-loyal" personally. To date the challenge of presenting an arguement FOR Pawlenty has not been presented.
One response to Marty:
Given the choice between two alternatives, I choose the best of the two. What does Marty do? Not choose at all.A subtle shot at the now "non-loyal" Marty and a failure to answer the issue at hand. Additionally a failure to present reasons to vote FOR Pawlenty.
Pawlenty has been a staunch supporter of conservative social issues. We can quibble about a "fee" vs. a "tax" but one can easily dismiss his goo-gooism under pragmatic pretenses.Again, ignoring the exact issue ("I would rather regain some of my principles and face a Hatch governorship then lose all I have come to believe as a fiscal conservative") and then attempting to marginalize the question & and the questioner.
Finally there is this response:
Understand what is happening here? In order to make the case to fiscal conservatives rhetorical questions are asked pointing to very small "subsets" of the fiscal platform. This is intentional as Pawlenty's entire performance, as a whole, in the fiscal light is not good. This is like trying to convince your parents that your high school grades are worthy of reward. "Did I get a good grade on my Calculus test in October of my junior year? Did I do well in Biology in the fall semester of my Freshman year? Wasn't my attendance perfect? Did I break my curfew on weeknights? See, I deserve commendation for my grades in high school."
How much did income taxes go up under gov. Pawlenty?
How much did the gas tax go up?
How much did taxes on business go up?
How much in state spending was cut under Tim Pawlenty?
How quickly did gov. pawlenty sign tort reform, eminant domain reform, and repealing profiles of learning?
How pro-second amendment is gov. pawlenty?
How strongly has gov. pawlenty supported pro-life legislation?
How strongly has gov. pawlenty supported the marriage amendment?
Notice in the series of rhetorical questions the shifting away from fiscal questions once asking a question where the answer is actually damaging ("How much in state spending was cut under Tim Pawlenty?"). Then next one was asking about the speed of signing legislation. I'm not certain that is a credential that is to be considered of a candidate. But, the fiscal conservative retort would be to point out the bills he also signed which include the Transportation Constitutional Amendment and the Northstar Train...the usurping of local voter rights in the Stadium bill and PROPOSING a billion dollar capital investment bill (essentially growing government).
There is so much more to specifically pick apart in the list of rhetorical questions. But the larger idea is the general responses in "defending" Pawlenty.
Again, the responses are to ignore the issue, ignore the questions, attack the alternatives (on a personal level, not in any relation to the issues presented) and attack the "non-loyal" personally. Never believe that the tendency to avoid discussion about issues is unique to the Left. It is epidemic on both sides of the aisle. Wait, correction. Never believe that the tendency to avoid discussion and prevent disagreement about issues is unique to the Left.
Since I have seen the light on this (summer of 2004) I have been waiting for some reasonable examples to help drive this one home. Lieberman's recent ordeal gives an opportunity to show this through the eyes of the Left.
When you vote FOR someone you know what you are getting...in theory. The reality is that you may not have done your homework enough (blame is on you) or the candidate changed since you voted for him (blame is on them). People who voted for Jesse Ventura in 1998 and then were surprised by his governance (style & policy) are the 'didn't do the homework' type. Tim Pawlenty is of the latter type to fiscal conservatives. That tangent is over...sorry.
When you vote FOR someone and you win then election night is not the only day of celebration. You can look forward to, know what you should be getting over, were a part of the driving of policy for the next number of years. THAT is the empowerment of your voting rights.
When you vote AGAINST someone you do not necessarily know what you are getting if you 'win'. This is why it is a wreckful and irresponsible way of voting...and eliminates the empowerment within your voting rights. You may win in ousting someone and you celebrate that Tuesday night (or even Wednesday also). But then you have little to really look forward to. More of the same? Too far the other way?
Let's create a visionable hypothetical. Remember the repeated mantra from the Left in 2004? "Anyone but Bush." I have no doubt that if the ticket were Lieberman instead of Kerry those "Anyone but Bush" people would have gleefully voted for Lieberman. But the largest reason for most of them being in the "Anyone but Bush" mindset was Iraq and the "War on Terror". Imagine their horror to find out that the person they voted "for" did not really aid their main policy position on Iraq. They did not actually vote FOR Lieberman, they were voting AGAINST Bush...and in doing so they accomplished nothing.
Why? Because while their mentality was "vote AGAINST" the action in the voting booth is an affirmative vote. In other words, the actual vote is FOR someone. Thus, in the example above people WANT to vote AGAINST Bush but they cannot. They think and believe they are voting AGAINST Bush. But in trying to do so they must pull the lever FOR Lieberman...and they know nothing about whom they are acting FOR. They are not even necessarily FOR Lieberman.
I know...many partisans on the Left may have understood that example because it speaks to their beliefs. Many partisans on the Right cannot wrap their minds around that...so for them we will create another visionable hypothetical. Rewind to 2002 and imagine that somehow Brian Sullivan said something that made him an objectionable choice as a person to conservatives (including fiscal conservatives). (Let me think of something that would make Republicans hate him as a person regardless of platform...hmm, OH. Imagine he said at the convention that Bill Clinton was a capable and shrewd politician.)
"Damn that Brian. That's it. I'll teach him. I'm voting anyone but Brian", says an offended fiscal conservative. But because our system requires an action of affirmation to vote that offended fiscal conservative selects Pawlenty's name. And did that fiscal conservative get his views represented by his vote? Nope. He would have been better off voting "abstain" (in other words: skipping the vote). Voting AGAINST someone does not pay off and instead opens the door to worse outcomes than intended.
Vote FOR someone or, if you cannot vote FOR someone then noone is deserving of your vote in that race. Skip it. But do not delude yourself into the mindset of voting AGAINST someone. Please remember...your vote is yours to give and there is no Right of a candidate to your vote. Just because you have a vote and there are candidates in a race there is not an obligation to give your vote to a candidate. Votes are too precious to waste on the selection of "the lessor of two evils". Votes are too important to give away to unworthy candidates (in the voter's mind) out of a falsely perceived obligation.
Vote FOR someone or skip it.
Note: I have been working on this post for several days. As I have previously mentioned, my free time went from "some" to "absolutely none whatsoever at all between Sunday and Saturday". I had to work this one in parts and sections. Thus, regardless of if you agree or not, should you find some passages that are incomplete please let me know. (I know, I opened the door for those whose reading comprehension skills are on par with a toddler to claim the ideas are 'incomplete'--that is to be expected, I suppose, from people like that.