PAWLENTY UTTERS GOP BOILERPLATE; CILLIZZA MISTAKES THIS FOR COURAGE
Why can't we have a better press corps? Why can't we have a press corps that actually understands how Republicans really think? Why doesn't Chris Cillizza, who writes The Fix for The Washington Post, realize that there's nothing bold or brave or risky or "stinging" about saying this while planning to seek the GOP presidential nomination?
Tim Pawlenty offers a stinging critique of GOP
In the upcoming issue of Esquire magazine, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) offers a harsh rebuke of his own party's actions in recent years, arguing that the GOP "blew it" when they had the chance to govern the country.
"The marketplace measurement in politics is something called an election," said Pawlenty in a lengthy interview appearing in the magazine's March issue. "And in 2006 and 2008, the marketplace was telling the Republicans 'We prefer the products and services of your competitors.'"
Pawlenty ... ascribed the electoral defeats of Republicans in recent elections to "a whole bunch of corruption and personal scandals that weren't compatible with the principles it claimed to stand for."
... Pawlenty's critique of his own party is one of the first attempts by a likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate to gain distance from the personalities and policies of the Bush Administration....
The danger for Pawlenty -- and others like former Govs. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and Sarah Palin (Alaska) -- is that there remains a significant segment within the Republican base who still supports Bush and many of the policies he put into place....
What a crock.
First of all, if you go to the interview, Pawlenty never once utters the word "Bush." All he does is offer the same damn horsepuckey Republicans have tried to get us to swallow since about ten minutes after the polls closed in 2006: that the GOP lost favor not because of two failed wars and a failed Katrina response and (by 2008) an economic meltdown, but because they weren't attentive enough to deficits. In the Esquire interview, Pawlenty says:
We just lost our way. You can't say that your hallmark issues are that we're going to control spending, keep taxes low, and make government accountable, and then go to Washington and do the opposite.
"Lost our way"? That's a bold statement? Everyone in the damn party says "lost our way," or words to that effect. It's practically a tic.
"When the Republican Party is no longer the party of fiscal conservatism, when we start defending spending that we would have rightfully criticized on the other side -- whether it's earmarks or growth in discretionary spending or new programs that we never would have tolerated if the other side had proposed it -- then clearly, I would argue that we've lost our way, we've lost the reason that we stand as fiscal conservatives."
On Saturday, Romney argued that Republicans share the blame with Democrats for the nation's woes. He bemoaned excessive spending, insecure borders and ethical lapses. "When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses," he said....
Said Colleen Pero, 52, a lawyer from Laingsburg, Mich. ...: "Clearly, Republicans agree with what he said. We've lost our brand. We've lost our way."
On if Republicans in Washington have lost their way in recent years:
"I believe that Republicans in Washington have got to understand that the people of America are not fully satisfied with all the -- all the dealings within the party...."
Finally, there was Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker delivered an across-the-board indictment of the entrenched and lazy Republicans who lost the majority that Gingrich won in 1994.
In Gingrich's hands, the we've-lost-our-way theme was absolutely compelling, and it’s safe to say the audience loved it.
And, from outside the presidential contender field, Mike Pence:
Some will argue that we lost our majority because of scandals at home and challenges abroad. I say, we did not just lose our majority, we lost our way.
While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the greatest scandal in Washington, D.C. is runaway federal spending.
"Republicans once insisted that our nation's opportunities rest not in government but in the hands of individuals," Steele writes. "Over the past decade or so, however, we Republicans lost our way."
New Jersey governor Chris Christie:
Unfortunately, over the past 10 years or so, the Republicans have lost their way when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
We let spending get completely out of control. We let corruption come in to the way we do business....
That's why we have former members of Congress residing in federal prison. And our most senior Republican member convicted in federal court. We lost our way.
"Lost our way" isn't criticism. It's a way of evading responsibility. It's saying, "Oh, we aren't the people who did that -- we're a different GOP. Pay no attention to that GOP, the one that actually existed and screwed up when it held power. That's not the real GOP. We are the real GOP."
"Lost our way" is actually a way of deceiving non-Republicans and a secret password of sorts to fellow Republicans. Why does Cillizza have the job he has if he doesn't know that?