Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s statement at the Conservative Political Action Conference that “God is in charge” made its way into the debate over funding General Assistance Medical Care yesterday when Rev. Grant Stevenson of St. Matthews Lutheran Church called the governor’s words “offensive.” But a day later, Pawlenty was continuing the rhetoric on CBN in an interview where he asserted George W. Bush would be vindicated by history, Barack Obama will be a one-term president, and that he’s not afraid of the tea party movement.
At a press conference – which preceded the failed attempt to override Pawlenty’s veto of legislation that would continue funding GAMC, which provides healthcare for Minnesota’s poorest – Stevenson had sharp words for Pawlenty (audio):
I’m concerned because they are feeling pressure… from a governor who has a speech to write that he wants to run around the country as he’s being elected president. And I’m not so sure he cares so much anymore about Minnesota and about the people who are here. And I have, actually, a personal request of the governor. Governor, please stop talking to us about God. The governor is going around saying, ‘God is in control.’ We elected you. We elected you to be taking decisions for this state, that will help everyone in this state – things that will lift up the poorest in this state. Don’t pass this off on God. That’s no God we’ve ever heard of. And please stop lecturing us about God. It’s offensive.
Then, as if on cue, Pawlenty took his speech to CBN’s David Brody show, where he repeated the “God’s in charge” rhetoric, then said he’s focusing on 2010 elections before deciding on a presidential run.
Here’s his response when asked if he agrees with Mitt Romney that “history will be kinder” to Bush:
I absolutely agree with those comments. I think President Bush was a leader with strong convictions, and he proposed big changes in entitlement programs and domestic programs. Unfortunately, the Congress – including, for a period of time, the Republican Congress – didn’t adopt those approaches. He’s also going to be defined, of course, by Iraq and the war on terror. I think he’s going to go down as a strong leader in history for that. We could end up with an Iraq that has a democratic government, that is reasonably secure in a very troubled region. If that turns out to be the future, I think he’s going to be remembered very fondly for that. And he also kept us safe. He was very aggressive, as was Vice President Cheney and the rest of the team, on taking it to the terrorists. And that served us well. In eight years since 9-1-1 there were no further attacks. And so I think he should get credit for that.