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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pawlenty Sells Out the Conservative Movement

Governor Tim Pawlenty has sold out the conservatives who originally put him into power with an act of abject betrayal.

This absolutely sucks!

From an article in yesterday's Star and Sickle:
In a sweeping policy departure that aligns with a top agenda item of the newly elected DFL legislative majorities, Gov. Tim Pawlenty called Tuesday for extending health care access to up to 90,000 uninsured children as a step toward coverage for all Minnesotans.

"We all, I think, can chart a path toward universal coverage," he said in a luncheon speech to a health reform conference in Minneapolis. "We're going to have to move in stages. ... We should start with covering all kids."
Governor Pawlenty has destroyed his once promising legacy and has fallen to the level of just another pandering politician before even officially beginning his second term. And the prospects for legacy rehabilitation do not look good.

Socialized medicine has been a fiscal and societal failure everywhere it has been implemented. Anyone with any intellectual honesty and a basic grasp of economics, market forces, and the proper role of government knows this.

Governor, this is not the way to reconstruct the GOP in Minnesota. Your "I can win without the Right" attitude throughout the last election was offensive enough to those of us who worked to get you elected the first time. This budget busting position is a slap in the face to those of us in the grass roots who are attempting to clean up the mess left after the last election. You just made the problem worse by selling out the Conservative movement. It was difficult enough fighting the looney policies of the liberals and now you are advocating one of their most looney ones.

As Jason Lewis rhetorically asked tonight, "Where do we Conservatives go to get our vote back?" If we knew Pawlenty was going to pull this crap we may have well just voted for Hatch. At least with Hatch in power the Conservative base could rip him and his policies without the danger of having it rub off on others in the GOP who are trying to clean up the mess and could run a conservative candidate against him.

Maybe Sue Jeffers did not go about voicing her complaints against the Governor in a way that best served the cause of the Minnesota GOP, but the Governor himself has made her point and put the exclamation point after it.

11 Comments:

Blogger G-man said...

I oppose HillaryCare as much as the next conservative, but I'm withholding judgment until I see what the Guv means by "universal coverage". In other news reports, Pawlenty referred to a system similar to Mitt Romney's plan in Massachusetts.

Admittedly, I know little about the details, but the Romney plan is intriguing for it appears to jump start market-driven private health insurance. It requires everyone who does not have insurance from their employer to buy a "market driven plan". This likely includes a variety of catastrophic-coverage-only plans – with low premiums. If the Romney plan includes provisions for removing some of the shackles of government from insurance providers and for premiums to be paid from pretax dollars, then this may be promising.

I have argued that the health insurance consumer needs to be closer to the buying decisions of "the product". Competition with consumer scrutiny promises to lead to a variety of different plans for a variety of needs, of risks levels, and of incomes.

Yes, I do have reservations about mandating individuals to buy coverage. Arguably, this will be far cheaper than government paying for it from confiscated taxes – then handing out services for free. Still, this requires a level of personal responsibility that may limit unnecessary visits to the emergency room – and help cover costs of legitimate visits.

Call me an optimists, but Governor Pawlenty's use of the term "universal coverage" may not be the same as that of most liberals. If, ultimately, everyone is covered by some form of health insurance – and the vast majority of it is privately purchased – then coverage can be said to be "universal".

[Hmm. Romney is one of the most promising front-runners of Republican Presidential candidates. With the 2008 Republican Convention held in Minnesota, Pawlenty has been considered a potential running-mate – to anyone. If, indeed, he proposes a plan like Romney's, could speculation of a Romney-Pawlenty ticket be far behind?]

11/15/2006 9:45 PM  
Blogger Frake said...

G-man must type faster than me. Here's my response:

With all due respect (and I do mean that; I’m not trying to be sarcastic), I think we should give the Governor a chance to explain himself before we jump to the conclusion that he has abandoned the conservative agenda completely.

First, consider the source: Star Tribune – having a leftist worldview, they heard what they wanted to hear: a government-sponsored universal health care system. But, to my knowledge, that is not what the Governor said. He said we should move to “universal coverage”, not “universal state-sponsored coverage”.

Pawlenty is quoted as saying that all options should be looked at like the one in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, their GOP Governor pushed universal coverage. In other words, everyone had to buy their own either from the private sector or, if they couldn’t afford it, they could get it from the state for little or no premium. The idea being that the uninsured emergency room visits are driving up costs for the rest of us. If everyone is covered, i.e. paying into the system, then the premiums for everyone is driven down.

If this is what Governor Pawlenty is suggesting, then I’m OK with it. If not, then I’m with you: This Sucks.

11/15/2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

The Massachusetts plan has gotten a lot of positive spin by the people trying to sell it. It is being sold as a pragmatic response to the health care "problem" but like most government mandates it falls apart on closer inspection and is esentially expensive snake oil.

See the following critiques on the program:

http://www.pacificresearch.org/press/opd/2006/opd_06-11-05sp.html

http://www.galen.org/statehealth.asp?docID=932

If the Gov were serious about dealing with health care he would be proposing the rollback of state regulations that require health insurance policies to cover many expensive conditions that many people do not need. For example, why can't non-drinkers get a policy that does not cover alcoholism treatment?

Any talk of "Universal Coverage" should set off alarms among conservatives, given the propensity of government programs to grow through incrementalism.

I suspect that Mr. "The Era of Small Government is Over" Pawlenty is setting himself up as a VP candidate for whoever ends up getting the nomination. Unfortunately, all of the perceived front runners are all moderates at best.

At least for now, I'm still in the "This Sucks" camp.

11/15/2006 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sue Jeffers tried to tell us this was where we were heading. The GOP beat up on her and tried to shut her up rather than face reality. This is what we get for collectively sticking our heads in the sand. Now we're screwed.

11/16/2006 12:03 AM  
Blogger Frake said...

OK, I read the links. I’m leaning toward the “this sucks” camp now.

I had heard of Massachusetts’ universal coverage plan on talk radio a while back. I had assumed that it was already implemented. The links that Right Hook provided show that the plan is years away from implementation. The last line of the Galen article gave some prudent advice:
Instead of warming up its Xerox machines, other states should wait to see how the plan works before rushing to follow its lead.

I find myself agreement.

Thanks Right Hook for doing the research.

Anonymous, not to beat a dead horse, but Sue Jeffers publicly announced that she was leaving the Republican Party and declaring herself a Libertarian. After getting the Libertarian endorsement, she turned it down and sought the Republican endorsement. Presumably, because she realized that she could not become governor without the endorsement of a major party.

Jeffers did not leave the GOP quietly. She publicly chastised the party during a 2-hour weekend broadcast on KSTP that she hosted. After trashing the party, leaving, and then returning, she sought the GOP endorsement. Note to Jeffers: this is not the way to build a network.

You can say “I told you so” all day long, but this was not the way to win friends and influence people.

11/16/2006 8:04 AM  
Blogger G-man said...

Two corrections:

1. The argument against Jeffers was not with what she said, but to whom she preferred to say it – the Losertarian Party – and that she later came running back to the Republican Party after snubbing all the delegates ate previous conventions.

2. Part of my skepticism with the STRib's story is that this is the same paper that INCORRECTLY attributed the quote "era of small government is over" to Pawlenty!

11/16/2006 5:03 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

One definitely can't trust the Star and Sickle, but the Pravda Press (it ain't much better, but it is another source) also covered the story

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/living/health/16013491.htm

The money quotes:

"The governor even challenged lawmakers in the next session to extend health benefits to the more than 70,000 Minnesota children who lack them. That was a popular campaign pledge among Democrats in this election."

"Pawlenty's other ideas included incentives for clinics to add electronic records, a statewide smoking ban and a temporary or permanent ban on prescription drug advertising."

This is not helpful to the conservative cause or rebuilding the Minnesota GOP. Jason Lewis reported today that the governor's phone has ringing very regularly ever since he made these statements and that the vast majority of callers are firmly in the "this sucks" camp.

Hopefully the Gov will return to his senses and stock up on ink for his veto pen, though I am not encouraged by what I've heard over the last few days.

11/16/2006 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Sue Jeffers said...

Corrections. ...
I spent 4 (not 2) hours on KSTP telling people how big government republicans are the worst of all evils. They are. I proudly stand for the principles of life, liberty and property and reducing the size and scope of government and KSTP gave me the microphone to do it. The current batch of republicans did not deserve our support or our votes and I want our party back.

What would drive a small business owner (a bar owner no less) with no political experience to challenge a popular, controling party incumbent governor? Why would someone risk their reputation and business and put their family through that? Answer: Sheer frustration and anger with a Republican governor, a republican house and a divided senate who continued to increase spending, taxes and fees, ignored our party platform and failed to address issues we elected them to address.

Ask Gerry Teitz, Dick Day, Eric Hoplin or Ron Carey if I was "republican enough" when I met with them and they asked me to run for the MN house, MN senate or even the 5th district. I even told Ron he could pick my running mate.

After the R's refused to let me challenge Pawlenty, the Libertarian’s offered their endorsement even knowing I was pro life, considered marriage between a man and a woman, opposed illegal immigration and refused to legalize drugs. I did not accept their endorsement and it was revoked. I respect and trust the Libertarian party leadership for their honesty, integrity and support.

Yet in the 2006 session instead of reducing the cost of higher education, we saw $300 million for buildings, including a football stadium for the U of M. (yes, I will make a lot of money on that) Instead of allocating funds for needed road work, they forked out almost $100 million in rail transit funding that will not eliminate congestion, pollution, automobiles, or make one road or bridge safer.

Trying to satisfy the voters’ cry for accountability, we got a legislative performance pay bill. This bill pretends to force elected officials to get their job done in a timely manner. Like most acts of legislative reform, the bill is all show and no substance. They forgot to tell the general public that the legislators can opt out with just a signature.

Issues important to voters, including less spending, transportation, public safety, immigration and smaller government were lost in the last-minute stadium battle (and to spend every dime they could) to show the voters what they did for their communities in an election year.

The bailout of the Minneapolis Teachers Retirement Fund will cost us almost a billion dollars. The ethanol pipe dream cost us another $30 million while the producers have seen profits increase 300% in the last year. The bears at the Minnesota Zoo got a cool $30 million and the Viking Ship in Moorhead was another million. The most expensive theater in state history got another $12 million. And don’t forget we are now funding pre-K and teacher performance pay. (Don't get me started on the minimum wage increase with out a tip credit from the year before...)

But most offensive of all from this year’s session was the Twins stadium bill. A law put in place to protect taxpayers from increasing sales taxes without a voter referendum was bypassed as our legislators told us that they knew better than we did, and we could not vote on the sales tax increase. (any wonder why those suburbs went DFL) The final line of defense, our governor, initiated the stadium plan before the session began and let us down by signing the bill on the baseball field in a Twins jersey using $1.1 Billion of our hard earned tax dollars to subsidize a billionaire. Has he ever read our platform?

That moment was when I decided I wanted my party back. I refused to give a free pass or my vote to any republican, including our governor who ignores the party platform.

The party officials circled the wagons determined to stop me. They succeeded but not with integrity and honesty. I hold my head high that I had the courage to stand up to the status quo and an unfriendly media to fight for the beliefs I thought our party stood for, more of us should. No regrets. I doubt I will run for office ever again but I believe the people of the state of MN lost the most.

The question to be asked is this....who will have the courage to defend the principles we believe in? Anyone? Or will we continue to settle for mediocre candidates or leave the dem's in charge?

11/18/2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger G-man said...

Ms. Jeffers, welcome to our blog.

I sympathize with your sentiments and also oppose most of the spending that you cited. However, to be fair, the Governor only had a two-seat majority in the House during his last two years of his first term. And, as we both know, many Republicans in that majority are a bit on the moderate side.

Without a solid majority in both houses, one cannot be 100% conservative – whether a Governor or a President. One must then prioritize the battles. The spending you cite is a drop in the bucket compared to that which the DFL tried to pass. Further, preventing an income tax hike was a big accomplishment – one that, arguably, helped Minnesota's economy continue its upward growth.

Think back to the 1980's. President Reagan had three objectives – fix the economy by cutting taxes, confront the threat of communism with a strong defense, and cut spending. Even though he had a Republican Senate for a portion of his two terms, he was unable to fulfill the third objective. Still, Reagan's conservative credentials are sound. He knew that a growing economy, fueled by tax cuts, will outgrow the spending – and he was right.

The point is, in politics, one cannot expect perfection – especially when one's own party has a slim majority in only one legislative house. Compromise must be expected and the measure of one's performance must include that which the other side was unable to pass. Sure, spending did go up – AFTER Republicans lost a 28 seat advantage in the House. But, one must also consider the non-spending related issues that many consider more important – like the "shall issue" and "woman's right to know" laws.

Still, you are right, there is room to constructively criticize such spending from inside the party. If you have followed my posts on your candidacy, I took issue with your pronouncement that there was no difference between the Republicans and the DFL – and your announcement that you were joining the Losertarian Party in the fall of 2005 (on AM1500 one Sunday afternoon). I also took issue with your attempt to address the State Republican Convention after avoiding the caucuses, the BPOU conventions, and the CD conventions.

Frankly, I don't understand the attempt to "seek permission" from the Party to run against Pawlenty. One usually doesn't seek permission from the leadership. The successful candidate tries to build a following of potential delegates before the caucus, then takes their case to caucus attendees and all the conventions before the Big Show in June.

It is my understanding that you did not attend your own caucus. In all candor, I wish you had. Even if not as a candidate, your voice as a delegate would have been a bigger help to the rest of us who are trying to steer this barge in the right direction. If you consider yourself a Republican, I would urge you to join us in March of 2008 and become a delegate – if not a candidate. In the meantime, your conservative voice is welcome. Just don't equate the Republican Party with the DFL or re-join the Losertarians, credibility wanes when you do.

Again, thanks for participating in the discourse on BootsOn.

11/18/2006 11:42 PM  
Blogger Nat said...

"Socialized medicine has been a fiscal and societal failure everywhere it has been implemented."

Which countries were you referring to exactly? I am trying to think of the nation with univerisal health care (Germany, Sweden, UK, etc.) you were referring to?

11/21/2006 1:52 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Nat -

I was referring to health care "systems" where the government picked up most or all of the tab and therefore and most or all of the control over how services get delivered and who receives them. I think this covers all of the countries you refer to as well as most of Western Europe and Canada.

In virtually all cases (I can't find an example that actually seems to work--I'm open to suggestions) government run health care ends up in rationing, poor preventative care (there is a reason for the sterotype of the buck-toothed Brit) and life-and-death decisions being made by government bureaucrats.

This is not unexpected to anyone with even a basic grasp of economics. Anytime something is "free" to the end-user demand will be infinite, and since supply is always finite something has to give. The typical results are poor quality of care at least for some demograpics, confiscatory taxation to pay for it, government regulation of who can practice medicine and what specialties are allowed. In some cases seeking private treatment outside of the system is a criminal offense.

Europe's economy lags far behind the US, largely because of their nanny-state governments. Their taxes are even more confiscatory than ours (but give the new Democrat majority a chance).

Please check out the following for further documentation of the failure of socialized medicine in general:

Cafe Hayek

Dead Meat-The Video

Socialized Medicine

Thanks for checking out Boots On. Please visit often.

11/21/2006 7:55 AM  

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