Tim Pawlenty is not a moderate


by Jeff Fecke | September 21, 2009 • One of the interesting things on the teevee tonight has been the shock and surprise from some on the left that Minnesota’s own Gov. Timmy doesn’t really seem to be a moderate after all.

For those of you normal people who don’t track the comings and goings of Minnesota’s 39th governor, Tim Pawlenty visited the Value Voters Summit this past weekend, where he got to speak to the hardest of the hard-line wingers, the people who actually nodded when the chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., explained that heterosexual pornography causes teens to become homosexual because it “turns your sexual drive inwards,” a ludicrous statement which, if true, would mean that Tucker Max is the most homosexual human being in the history of history.

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

Gov. Pawlenty went to the summit, and those who’ve only gotten to know him through sound bites and a few interviews on MSNBC probably expected he’d give a bland, lukewarm speech, heavy on economics, light on red meat.

Those of us from Minnesota knew better. We remembered his acceptance speech from the 2006 GOP state convention, where he declared, “I can tell you what your worst nightmare is. It’s one of the big-spendin’, tax-raisin’, abortion-promotin’, gay marriage-embracin’, more welfare-without-accountability lovin’, school reform-resistin’, illegal immigration-supportin’ Democrats for governor who think Hillary Clinton should be president of the United States.” We are well aware that Pawlenty fits nicely into the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-education Republican Party of 2010. And we knew that Pawlenty would be only to happy to tell his fellow true believers exactly what they wanted to hear.

He did not disappoint. After his usual cringe-worthy joke (something about Brett Favre not being a “clunker”), Pawlenty told everyone exactly what he believed.

On Separation of Church and State:

Now, as you know, you’re gathered here because you share a belief in those values.  Those values are under attack.  These are not just conservative values.  Our values our American values.  (Applause.)  They are not rooted in pop psychology, they’re not rooted in feelings, they’re not rooted in emotion.  They are rooted in the wisdom and experience of our founding fathers and the faith and the wisdom that they brought forward in the defining moments of this nation.  And so we need to remind each other – (audio break).


Our Judeo-Christian values are important, they are traditional, and they are the basis for so much of our country.  Now, we have some folks who are skeptics about that.  I’m reminded of the story – the true story of Tony Blair, the former prime minister, who came to our prayer breakfast here in Washington, D.C., about a year or so ago.  He recalled a story that as a young schoolboy his father had suffered a terrible stroke.  It was life-threatening and quite severe.  And he remembers being in school and having a teacher pull alongside him and bend down on his knee and whisper to him, “Tony, I’m going to pray for your dad.”  And Tony reminded the teacher and remembered the teacher and said, “But teacher, my dad doesn’t believe in God.”  And the teacher said, “That’s okay, Tony.  God believes in your dad.  God believes in your Dad.”

On Abortion rights:

In Minnesota we’ve done a number of things – I won’t go through them all – but one that I’m most particularly proud of and it’s been very impactful is I’ve proposed and signed into law the so-called women’s right to know bill, which provides women important information who are considering abortion, and it also provides a waiting period for them to consider their decision. That combined with many other measures and efforts of good-hearted people all across Minnesota has significantly decreased the number of abortions performed in my state, and it’s a very effective piece of legislation.

(The Women’s Right to Know Act, of course, forced women to read anti-choice propaganda before having an abortion. Part of the information given out by the Minnesota Department of Health initially included the debunked breast cancer-abortion link.)

On GLBT Rights and Marriage Equality:

A really important example of this is defending and protecting traditional marriage. All domestic relationships are not the same, and traditional marriage needs to remain elevated in our society and in our culture. Marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman, and I sponsored that legislation when I was in the Minnesota Legislature, and we should make sure that the people are heard on this, that the Constitution is heard on this, not courts who are making up the law in the backroom.

Now, this is not some radical notion or some extreme notion.  My goodness, when it’s been put to the vote of the people even in left-of center places like Oregon and – California voted twice for traditional marriage.  If they can support traditional marriage in California we should do it all over this country.

(According to the Washington Independent, at this point Pawlenty ad-libbed, “This is not politically incorrect! This is not politically offensive! This is what our founding fathers believed.”)

On Health Care:

President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress not long ago regarding this topic, and he said he’s going to start calling people out on this debate by name. I guess I was the first one up this morning. The DNC put up a video or some sort of thing attacking me on this debate for various things I’ve said in recent weeks and months, and I accept the challenge. And I’ll just respond by calling out the president back tonight. And I would say – (applause) – and what I’d like to say to him is, DNC and he calls me out, I’ll call you out, call you back, and here’s my message: Stop spending the country into bankruptcy. Stop taxing us into oblivion. And the next time you address a group of young people maybe you should apologize for the crushing debt you’re putting on their shoulders.


And one additional challenge. If, as he and the Democratic Congress, or some of the Democratic Congress say, “Oh, no, we’re not for public funding for abortions,” then don’t duck, don’t bob, don’t weave, put the language of the Hyde amendment in the health care bill.

Tim Pawlenty is not a moderate. He has never been a moderate. He is a stalwart conservative, quite at ease among the furthest part of the party’s right wing. Democrats and independents need to realize this going into 2012. After all, Minnesota has paid a high price for the reckless budgetary games of Pawlenty. It would be a pity if the rest of America failed to learn from our lesson.