Tim’s Timidity on “Obamneycare”

Tim Pawlenty puzzled pundits when he failed to confront rival Mitt Romney this week about Romney’s support of an “Obamneycare” health insurance mandate. Was Tim timid because he knew Romney possessed this tape and was about to use it to portray Pawlenty as a flip-flopping hypocrite?

Again, the damning Pawlenty quote from November 14, 2006:

“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.”

No one can know for sure, but this tape could explain the Timidity.

– Loveland

9 thoughts on “Tim’s Timidity on “Obamneycare”

  1. PM. says:

    Tim was acting like a troll–the Obomneycare jibe was an attempt to get others to take the lead (and the heat) in criticizing the leader. Tim wanted to get everyone else to attack, because those who attack are not seen as sympathetic. Generally smart politics, but poor execution here. He’s playing with the big boys now, and the rules are a bit different.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Agree, but his impure past on the issue of a health insurance mandate may give him pause, and the pause is what killed him on Monday evening. My guess is that we will be hearing more of this tape on national news outlets pretty soon.

  2. Joe Loveland says:

    By the way, I initially mentioned True North as my source for the tape, because that’s the first place I saw it, but it looks like Politico’s Ben Smith had it first, several days before True North:

    I can’t tell you who leaked it to Smith, but I bet it was a leak from a Republican rival of Pawlenty’s.

  3. Joe Loveland says:

    Governor Pawlenty apparently took his testosterone shot before going on Hannity last night to say: “I don’t think we can have a nominee (i.e. Romney) that was involved in the development and construction of Obamacare.”

    Bam! He’s back, baby! That’s the kind of no holds barred nut-cutting that Republican activists cherish!!

    But wait a minute. What about a nominee who said the most controversial part of Obamacare — the health insurance mandate — was “a worthy goal and something that we are intrigued by and at least open to?”

    I’m not sure the testosterone shots can overcome that.

    Republicans have convinced themselves that a health insurance mandate is akin to the worst type of authoritarianism. Can the folks holding that delusional viewpoint really hitch their wagon to a nominee who said that this abhorrent authoritarianism is a worthy and intriguing goal that he is open to?

    1. PM. says:


      this was a great piece that highlights a Reagan judge pointing out that the individual mandate is conceptually no different than using a tax credit to encourage behavior.

      The individual mandate is simply a financial penalty if you do not do something. As the judge points out, you could just as easily pass a universal tax, and then give everybody who obtains health care insurance a tax credit/rebate equal to the amount of the universal tax. Functionally they are identical, yet some seem to think that one is unconstitutional, while the other approach is used all the time (although not together). And, as the author points out, this is basically what Ryan proposed as his replacement for Medicare–a tax credit to pay for health insurance.

  4. PM. says:

    Not to dump on poor Tim, but he is also so off base on his economic proposals that it is staggering. He can’t even get the basic facts right!

    Now, honestly, I do not think that Tim is stupid. I don’t even think that he was that bad of a governor, and I’d rather have him as President than almost all of the other Republicans running.

    I think that he is simply saying what he has to say in order to win the Republican nomination. And what really amazes me is that in order to win the republican nomination you have to repeat all of these fabulous lies that have become the Party orthodoxy! I mean, the basic facts are clear–tax cuts do not pay for themselves (well, they might if you are reducing the rates from 99% to 70%, but that clearly is not the case in the here and now), and the Reagan tax cuts of the early 1980’s most certainly did not!

    Here are the facts, from the Reagan experts who were there:


    1. PM. says:

      Not to beat a dead horse, but…

      the other part of the republican canard on taxes is that the top tax rate really matters a lot. I agree that it matters, but there does not appear to be any significant relationship between tax rates and economic growth–in fact, economic growth appears to be higher when top marginal tax rates are higher! Now, of course, there are all sorts of other variables at play here, but that really is the point–marginal tax rates, while important to growth, are less important than a whole lot of other things (like all of those other variables i just mentioned).


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