True North’s Andy Aplikowski is the modern-day Woodstein who reported a blockbuster yesterday that should make it much more difficult for Pawlenty to win the hearts of the hard-core right-wing activists who dominate the Iowa Republican Party caucuses.
Pawlenty’s sin? Cavorting on a boat like Gary Hart? Weeping like Ed Muskie? Bathroom stall tap dancing like Senator Larry Craig? Allegedly Tweeting his twitter to a young woman like Congressman Anthony “I kid you not” Wiener?
Much worse. Much, much worse. Once upon a time, it seems Pawlenty wanted help thousands of Minnesotans get health coverage for their families. I’m not kidding. There’s tape.
Grappling with actual policy making five years ago, it seems Pawlenty made complimentary — flirtatious even — comments about the core of Obamacare, the insurance mandate. In a political party that has since declared an insurance mandate to be a communistic crime against humanity, this audio sounds like Taps for Tim.
Aplikowski unearthed this blockbuster audio tape from an appearance on November 14, 2006 — a day that will live on in Timfamy. The tape, which is probably being distributed by Pawlenty’s opponents to Iowa activists as we speak, appears to document then-Governor Pawlenty expressing a desire to pursue universal coverage through an insurance mandate, much as Republican Governor Mitt Romney had recently done, to his ever-living regret.
Here is a transcript of Pawlenty during a discussion of health care reform (Warning: The material is disturbingly graphic, and may not be appropriate for young, impressionable conservatives’ ears.):
“I’m grateful for our friend from Massachusetts here. Governor Romney is an outstanding Governor. He is a unbelieveably bright and nimble and gifted public policy leader and Massachusetts and America have been well served by his leadership as well.
And so the question then becomes, if you’re going to require insurance, and I think that is a worthy goal and one that we are intrigued by and at least open to, how then do you enable people to access the insurance?
In Minnesota, as to the access issue, I believe we should move toward universal coverage. Everybody should be in a health plan of some sort. How we get there becomes important. I think a mandate by itself is potentially helpful, but it’s not an answer by itself. “
Helping families get health insurance through an insurance mandate? Given the current temperature of Republican Party activists on this issue, it might have been easier for Pawlenty to survive a bathroom stall revelation.