The Hidden Tradeoffs of GOP Candidates
May 24, 2011

[Guest post by James Downie] Last week, Ezra Klein suggested that perhaps the lack of enthusiasm among the GOP establishment for Tim Pawlenty lay in his unimpressive record as governor, including his reliance on "accounting shortcuts" to try to close the deficit, rather than actually cutting the size of the state government. Indeed, one of Pawlenty's favorite habits was shifting costs to local governments, as documented here: Pawlenty oversaw dramatic reductions in higher-education funding and refused to spend more on early childhood programs.

Tim Pawlenty's Cash Problem
May 23, 2011

With Mitch Daniels officially out of the presidential race, it seems like the entire GOP is emulating Ethelred the Unready. Well, not quite everyone. In a contrarian move at odds with the Reluctant Republican ethos of the party, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will actually make it official by declaring his candidacy today in Des Moines.  Along with the obligatory yawn-inducing “can you win Iowa?” question, Pawlenty almost certainly will be asked again about his ability to compete financially with Mitt Romney, the Daddy Warbucks of the truncated Republican field.

Caught Green-Handed
May 19, 2011

A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.

What Republicans Mean When They Say They Fear The Debt
May 02, 2011

Michelle Bachmann thinks the national debt is like the Holocaust: Rep.

All Good in LaHood
April 23, 2011

What happened the last time you flew? Did an unforeseen delay stretch into an interminable departure-lounge purgatory, infused with the scent of Burger King, Cinnabun, and cleaning fluid? Maybe you were lucky enough to get on the plane as scheduled, only to be held on the tarmac for an hour or two, or overnight, like those passengers in Rochester, Minnesota, back in August 2009 (after which a passenger reflected, “Now I know what it’s like to be in hell”).

Will the Ryan Budget Galvanize the Left?
April 18, 2011

How will Republican support of House Chairman Paul Ryan's budget play in the 2012 elections? We got a sneak preview on Friday, when Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and likely GOP presidential candidate, took some questions while visiting New Hampshire.  After Pawlenty indicated that he supported Ryan's budget generally, Igor Volsky of Think Progress asked whether he supported the proposed Medicare cuts specifically.  The full exchange, which you can watch above, went like this: PAWLENTY: I like Paul Ryan’s plan directionally.

Winger Zinger: Public Schools are "Government-Run Schools"
March 28, 2011

For all of their complaints about public education, conservative Republicans have generally shied away from attacking the idea in principle.

Springtime for Bachmann
March 17, 2011

As the 2012 Republican presidential field finally takes shape over the next few months, one thing is fairly certain: An intensely ideological female politician closely identified with the Christian Right and with the Tea Party movement, someone liberals love to hate, will define the race. But surprisingly, it’s increasingly likely that person will be Michele Bachmann rather than Sarah Palin.

Old Yeller
March 17, 2011

When five likely Republican presidential candidates addressed the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in early March, observers may have noticed something odd about Tim Pawlenty: He appeared to have had a voice transplant. Pawlenty’s normal speaking style could be described as mild-mannered: He began his speech to the 2008 Republican convention by squeaking, “We’re really glad that you’re in Minnesota.

Tim Pawlenty And The Birthers
March 10, 2011

The reason Republicans tiptoe so carefully around the birther question is that birthers constitute a significant portion of the Republican base.