Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, gives thumbs up after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)

Tim Pawlenty still saying nonsense for Tea Party attention

The milquetoast former Minnesota governor takes on "the ruling class" (public employees unions) in a fiery speech

Alex Pareene
March 1, 2011 2:29AM (UTC)

Tim Pawlenty, a mild-mannered, fairly boring longtime politician and former governor, is attempting to present himself to 2012 Republican primary voters as a conservative firebrand, in order to distinguish himself from Mitt Romney, a mild-mannered, fairly boring longtime politician and former governor -- with more money and better name recognition than Pawlenty. Pawlenty is saying all the right words, at least. And those words are heated conspiratorial nonsense and pseudo-revolutionary cant about the unique threat a moderate Democratic president poses to the Union.

In Phoenix, Pawlenty gave a 15-minute speech to the Tea Party Patriots, where he called on those assembled to take back the country from the big-government liberals:


“This is our guide, this is our constitution, ” he said, waving a pocket-size edition. “We the people of the United States will rise up again. We will take back our government. This is our country. Our founding fathers created it. Americans embraced it. Ronald Reagan personified it. And Lincoln stood courageously to protect it.

Lincoln, Tim? Really? After all the stuff about how the Constitution "was written to limit government" and "the bureaucrats don’t tell us what to do, we the people tell them what to do"? I thought Lincoln taught us that sometimes the "bureaucrats" tell the citizens exactly what to do, with guns.

But Pawlenty is here to fight the real power:

“I’m here today to say, ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for standing up to the ruling class,” Pawlenty told the crowd. “Thank you for standing up to the liberal power brokers, guardians of the status quo and the royal triangle of greed: big government, big unions and big bailed-out businesses.”

I'm so glad he finally identified who, exactly, make up "the ruling class." It is Wisconsin public employees and GM.


Pawlenty came in second in this weird event's straw poll. He lost to stunt candidate and former crummy pizza magnate Herman Cain.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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2012 Elections Tea Parties Tim Pawlenty War Room Wisconsin

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