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When a Man Called T-Paw was your best, you’ve got problems.

August 19, 2011

Earlier this week Tim Pawlenty (or T-Paw as he is called by supporters and will be referenced as from here on out*) dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and with him went any remaining shred of sanity left. Politics is one of those subjects that often leaves me tired, infuriated, and strangely pleased after a long session of thinking about it. I think the pleasure largely because of the humor that is derived from the fact that politicians might actually believe what they say. It’s a dark, sort of gallows humor.

T-Paw dropped out of the race because when you lose the Iowa straw poll to Bachmann and Paul, no one is going to be filling up your war chest any time soon. There are plenty of theories as to why T-Paw bowed out, from the sane to the whacky, but the question I’m left with is, does it matter why T-Paw left? The answer is no, because sadly a grown man and former governor who insists on being referred to as T-Paw was probably the most level-headed Republican in the running for the presidential nomination.

Let’s also face this fact folks: T-Paw isn’t the most level-headed guy. He balanced a budget by instituting steep cuts to the budget because of his refusal to raise taxes, a promise he ironically stuck with despite his use of the phrase “no new taxes” (perhaps it only falls apart if you preface it with “read my lips,”). Still by the time he left the governorship, the budget was short several billion dollars and he’s been accused of leaving behind one of the worst financial disasters in the state’s history. T-Paw did manage to keep the education system afloat, though still with some budget cuts, and he did propose an ambitious higher education grant system that never materialized due to lack of funds. Overall, his stances were hard nosed in relation to budget issues, which he ultimately didn’t provide a long-term solution for, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with recent political trends.

With T-Paw’s departure though, who are we left with as serious contenders for the Republican primary, and thus ultimately against Obama in 2012?

Let me begin by first disregarding Ron Paul. Ron Paul is a crazy person, and while he does get people to come out to his rallies, a man who wants to dismantle the federal government shouldn’t be put in charge of the federal government. The one thing I might say in favor of him is that he clearly understands the constitution, but sadly his views on the constitution have more in common with legal scholars of the early 19th century than anyone here in the present day of two centuries later. Ultimately he’s a whacko that gets air time solely because he’s so damn insane.

Located a few cars down on the crazy train is Michelle Bachmann, who for some reason might actually have a shot at this. I can’t imagine a scarier thought than that one, that Mrs. Bachmann might actually be able to secure the nomination. Sure, she couldn’t get all of the 6,000 people she bussed in and gave tickets to at the Ames Straw Poll to vote for her but that’s probably because people that are attracted to Bachmann might be even more impressed with the insanity that Ron Paul has to offer. Still though, we’re talking about a woman who believes the elimination of the Federal Minimum Wage will not only create more jobs but that people will actually want them. She also thinks that gay people have a mental disorder, and that the Pope is some sort of demon. It’s frightening to me that she is so beloved, when she is such a prime example of what’s wrong with politics these days. Michelle Bachmann sensationalizes things that shouldn’t bother anyone, tries to force her own personal morals onto others, and doesn’t realize that economies do not work that way.

Blazing into this three ring circus aboard a comically adorned Texas longhorn is Rick Perry. Rick Perry is simply put a liar and a hypocrite. I don’t really know how much further one needs to go in explaining that Rick Perry is now talking a big talk about how he opposes big government and has a track record of growing the private sector, when the truth is the complete opposite. The state of Texas was able to maintain job growth with processes taken right from FDR’s New Deal, Perry used federal stimulus money to grow the state government and create thousands of new jobs. This is pretty great for the short term, but like everyone else in the world (Republican or Democrat) he really can’t figure out what to do for a long term solution. Plus, his short term solution can’t work for everyone if he’s in direct opposition to federal stimulus monies that helped his state stay afloat.

Finally, there’s Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney was once a sane man. In fact he was once a pretty competent conservative governor of a fairly liberal state. Now though, to keep up with this galloping herd of nitwits, he’s trying to pretend as if everything good he’s ever done or accomplished was an affront to the American people. Poor Mitt Romney has had to wiggle around saying that health care is a state-by-state issue and that what works for the people of Massachusetts might not work for everyone. How horrible is our political system when a state-sponsored health care system that ambitiously tries to ensure all children have access to medical care is not something that’s good for everyone in the country? You dastardly man Mitt Romney, how dare you care for the less fortunate.

All of these people are terrible candidates, and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Obama’s much better. Obama’s a great man, that’s quite clear. All he’s really wanted to do was help people out, make the process of governance less obfuscated, and try to see if maybe just once, just for one God-Damned second, the two parties could get along and make some decent legislation. Of course, he’s been marred by two crappy congresses. The first, which despite being Democrat-controlled for some reason was too busy fighting over self-interests to create anything resembling decent legislation. The second is marked not by bipartisanship, so much as it is by a bunch of crazy people that have no place in the party they claim to belong to let alone national politics. Every day they all fight over things that are frankly insane. Ultimately he’s just not crazy enough to keep up, which shouldn’t be a negative.

Still, I honestly find it hard to believe that America came close to defaulting on loans, largely because a bunch of insane people from the upper middle class who might be worth a few hundred thousand each, maybe one or two in the millions, refused to raise taxes for the mega-rich who make tens of billions of dollars.

Really folks, when the Prophet of Omaha comes out from the grassy sea that is our expansive prairies and calls for increased taxes of the mega-rich, we should probably pay attention to it. We really should, but those candidates, they’re not going to.

* : I seriously did not realize that he was seriously called T-Paw until my very funny friend Tim Young showed me an article he was writing for the Huffington Post that also made use of this ridiculous nick name. You can follow Tim Young on twitter @TimRunsHisMouth

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