Tim Pawlenty shines on Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, much to the chagrin of Chris Wallace. An earlier interview Wallace had with Herman Cain revealed a weakness in the area of foreign policy. Herman Cain had not studied enough to know what the phrase “right of return” means when Chris asked him the question. Tim Pawlenty was not flummoxed by anything that Chris Wallace threw at him. I also find it “interesting” that the panel did not discuss Tim Pawlenty at all. They had discussed Herman Cain and Sarah Palin immediately after their interviews.
First, Chris Wallace asked Tim Pawlenty about his plan for 5% economic growth in the US with the question for what ten year interval since 1929 has the US experienced 5% economic growth. Tim answered the question that just because the US has never had 5% economic growth for ten years in a row is not a reason not to aspire to achieve it. He is optimistic and confident that Americans can live well and prosper, and he added that in the early part of Reagan’s term the economic growth was at 7%.
Second, Chris Wallace asserted that the Pawlenty economic growth plan is going to create a lot of new federal debt that is anywhere from 2 to 11 trillion dollars.Â Tim Pawlenty replied that is only true if the spending remains static. In the past when the taxes have been cut, the spending has continued to grow, and Tim Pawlenty wants the federal spending to actually decrease. Chris Wallace then asserted that in Minnesota the spending is going up, and the property taxes went from 5 billion in 2003 to 8 billion when he left in 2011. Tim Pawlenty replied that in every budget cycle while he was Governor of Minnesota the budget was in balance as required by state law. He also said property taxes are determined by the local and not the state government. The local government could also decide to spend less instead of raising property taxes to spend more.
Third, Chris Wallace asserted that Governor Pawlenty had resorted to one time fixes like delaying school funding money instead of permanent cost cutting measures. Tim Pawlenty replied that he wanted a permanent cost cut on schools instead of a temporary one. He could not get the Democrat controlled Minnesota legislature to pass what he wanted, and so he did it by executive order.
Fourth, Chris Wallace asked Tim Pawlenty if he grasped the nuance between an individual health insurance mandate by a state as opposed to an individual health insurance mandate by the federal government. Tim Pawlenty replied that when advisors suggested the individual health care mandate idea to him as Governor – he rejected the idea. You can read more about the market based plans that Tim Pawlenty has outlined here.
Finally, Chris Wallace showed Tim Pawlenty this clip of Bill O’Reilly calling Tim Pawlenty “too vanilla.” I loved the way that Tim Pawlenty replied (in jest) by asking Chris if Bill played the race card against him. Tim Pawlenty went on to say that we have serious problems in the US that require serious responses. The next US President should not be a combative clown entertainer. A person can go to the theater or comedy club if they want to see an entertainer, but the country needs a President who is serious about getting us back on the right track.
I believe Tim Pawlenty did well in this interview. He was able to be in control of his message, and he did it without coming across as mean and combative. I also appreciated his plan for economic growth. It is not enough for a GOP candidate to oppose what Obama is doing and favor austere spending cuts by the federal government. People need something to strive for and to be optimistic about. A plan for robust economic growth at 5% instead of the current anemic growth is just what the voters need to rally around.