Politics & Policy

Pawlenty 2012 Theme: ‘I Am Going to Tell You the Truth’

Tim Pawlenty’s camp released some excerpts from his speech today to the press. Here they are [emphasis mine]:

I’m Tim Pawlenty, and I’m running for President of the United States. We live in the greatest country the world has ever known.  But, as we all know, America is in big trouble, and it won’t get fixed if we keep going down the same path.  If we want a new and better direction, we need a new and better President.

President Obama’s policies have failed.  But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess we’re in. … I’m going to take a different approach.  I am going to tell you the truth.

We’ve tried Barack Obama’s way — and his way has failed.  Three years into his term, 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.  And, 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.

The changes history is calling on America to make today cannot be shouldered only by people richer than us, or poorer than us – but by us, too. 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.  If we want to grow our economy, we need to shrink our government.  If we want to create jobs, we need to encourage job creators.  If we want our children to be free to pursue their dreams, we can’t shackle them with our debts. This is a time for truth.

No president deserves to win an election by dividing the American people – picking winners and losers, protecting his own party’s spending and cutting only the other guys’; pitting classes, and ethnicities, and generations against each other.  The truth is, we’re all in this together. So we need to work to get out of this mess together. I’ll unite our party and unite our nation, because to solve a fourteen-trillion-dollar problem, we’re going to need three hundred million people.

In Minnesota and in Washington, the issues were the same: taxes, spending, health care, unions, and the courts.  But in Washington, Barack Obama has consistently stood for  higher taxes, more spending, more government, more powerful special interests, and less individual freedom.  In Minnesota, I cut taxes, cut spending, instituted health care choice and performance pay for teachers, reformed our union benefits, and appointed constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court.  That is how you lead a liberal state in a conservative direction.

In an op-ed published today in USA Today, Pawlenty emphasized the truth-telling theme even further:

It’s long past time for America’s president — and anyone who wants to be president — to be straight with the American people.

So here it is: Government money isn’t “free.” Either you and I pay for it in taxes, or our children pay for it in debt. The reforms we need are not in the billions, but in the trillions of dollars. And the cuts we must make cannot just be in other people’s favorite programs. …

Conventional political wisdom says that it’s better to tell people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. But conventional political wisdom is what got us into this fiscal mess in the first place. Anyone who can’t tell hard truths now won’t be able to lead our country in the future. We now know that President’s Obama’s promise of “hope and change” was just hopeless hype.

Video previewing Pawlenty’s announcement:

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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