Pawlenty, affectionately known as Tea Pa among his GOP boosters, was among the first Republicans to form an exploratory committee back in March, just about the time nuclear power was becoming problematic in quake- and tsunami-devastated Japan, and flying into Tripoli International had become dicey for anyone not strapped into a French Rafale jet fighter. He participated in the May 6 GOP debate, and has been stumping around the country for months.
So, Pawlenty figured it was about time he told everyone he was running for President, lest people think he was just cruising for chicks, and told supporters in Iowa as much. Running for President, that is, not cruising for chicks.
"I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I'm running for President of the United States," he said. It was not immediately known how many in the crowd said, "Duh."
Pawlenty promised straight talk and honesty, then immediately began trotting out the Republican laundry list of lies.
"Politicians are often afraid that if they're too honest, they might lose an election. I'm afraid that in 2012, if we're not honest enough, we may lose our country." Tea Pa didn't specify who "we" were.
If Tea Pa were to be honest, he'd tell his audience that thirty years of Republican trickle-down, job-destroying coddling of the richest, most powerful plutocrats in history has plundered the wealth of history's greatest economic engine, and that the nation must reverse the Bush tax cuts for the rich and begin progressive revenue reform to balance the books. Instead, he's perpetuating the Republican lie that the only way to deal with the budget deficits and debts Republicans created with their tax giveaways is with more and larger tax breaks for the wealthy, paid for by more and deeper service cuts on everyone else.
If Tea Pa were to be honest, he'd tell his audience that thirty years of tax giveaways and subsidies had concentrated 84% of America's wealth in the hands of 20% of its population, and the imbalance has crippled the government and the people. Instead, he's perpetuating the Republican lie that lower taxes for the rich and subsidies to giant corporations will somehow create jobs, even though big companies are already sitting on more than a trillion dollars in cash and aren't investing in additional capacity or jobs.
If Tea Pa were to be honest, he'd tell everyone that Social Security is solvent for decades, and will remain solvent for the foreseeable future with a slight bump in payroll taxes on his rich buddies, and that Medicare is the nation's most efficient deliverer of health care services, with administrative costs of around 3% compared to 40% on the kind of individual, private insurance policies Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants to make future seniors buy. Instead, he's on board with the grand GOP scheme to slash benefits and plunder the Social Security trust funds, hand all the money to their Wall Street cronies, and leave Americans with nothing but the admonition that past performance, dodgy as it was, still doesn't guarantee future results. On Medicare, Tea Pa thinks "Paul Ryan's plan moves in the right direction," toward eliminating Medicare, handing all its money to insurance companies, and pawning off future seniors with vouchers the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reveals won't cover a third of the cost of premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other expenses.
If Tea Pa were to be honest, he'd tell Americans that while debt and deficits are concerns for the long term, right now, the world's bond markets are happy to scarf up as many US Treasuries as we can issue, and right now, America must be investing in infrastructure, education, innovation and rebuilding our manufacturing base. Instead, Tea Pa touts slashing investments, gutting education, and privatizing health care. He toes the Republican Party line that slashing government spending somehow creates jobs, because the government's thrift will somehow magically inspire the private sector to hire and grow.
"We tried Obama's way... and his way failed," Tea Pa crooned. "We're no longer just running out of money, we're running out of time. It's time for new leadership. It's time for a new approach. It's time for America's President, and anyone who wants to be President, to look you in the eye and tell you the truth." In just a handful of words, Pawlenty managed about a half-dozen lies:
- tried Obama's way - Republicans have obstructed and hindered the President's every attempt at governing, from implementing health care reform, to the 2011 and 2012 budgets, to a simple, normally pro-forma vote to raise the debt ceiling.
- his way failed - anemic as it might be, stifled by Republican meddling and obstruction, there is an economy recovery underway, spurred by Obama's limited stimulus efforts and fiscal policies.
- running out of money - America has loads of cash. It's just in the hands of a wealthy elite who've done nothing to earn their windfall from the output of the greatest economic force in history.
- running out of time - only because Republicans kick and scream and obstruct every move while overrunning every deadline with delays and piecemeal incremental hostage-taking.
- time for new leadership - Pawlenty wants the old leadership, a reboot of the disastrous Bush-GOP Reaganomic trickle-down, supply-side, unregulated free-market bubble chaos that crashed the world economy.
- time for a new approach - Pawlenty and the GOP approach isn't new, just the same transfer of wealth from the American people to the ultra-rich, this time focused on plundering of the two final reserves the GOP's plutocrat overlords haven't yet plundered: Social Security and Medicare.