That's the only conclusion you can draw from Pawlenty's Politico piece, which Republican economist Bruce Bartlett adeptly disassembles:
Like all Republicans these days, Pawlenty wants to have it every possible way: complain about the deficit while ignoring everything his party did to create it (Medicare Part D, two unfunded wars, TARP, earmarks galore, tax cuts up the wazoo, irresponsible regulatory and monetary policies that created the recession that created the deficit, etc.), illogically insisting that tax cuts are a necessary part of deficit reduction, and never proposing any specific spending cuts.
The only specific thing Mr. Pawlenty is capable of proposing is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It’s hard to know where to begin in explaining why this is such an irresponsible idea, but I will try.
And he does. Long story short, if Pawlenty's article was a ninth-grade term paper, it might get a C. Lots of talk, no specifics, and the same tired old ideas that have broken the budget. There's no time for grandstanding. WE NEED REAL SOLUTIONS, TIMMY. IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEM, DON'T WASTE OUR TIME APPLYING FOR THE JOB.
This is where GOP campaign strategists take me aside and say "You don't want to get too specific in an article like this. That just gives ammunition to his enemies, and anyway the common man won't understand that. Pawlenty is trying to get his name out to the general public."
Yes, I know that, you dipshits. What's so disconcerting is that I wonder if the GOP is right that this is really where we are - that a would-be national leader has to dumb down his message and avoid any and all substance to appeal to the moronic mob. Is that really where America is? (And do you want it to be there?) I've said it before and I'll say it again: if the only way to get our ideas enacted as policy is to hide them or distort them, or the tried-and-true populist appeal to the most-easily-distracted-by-shiny-objects among us, then we don't deserve to be in office. The other side should win. Elitism is to be encouraged when it's elitism in problem-solving.
In any event we've seen nothing from Pawlenty in the last year to show that he has any ideas other than greasing himself up for a Ted-Haggard-style date with the Religious Right. I was once hopeful for him, but he's not presidential material. While I'm at it, I'll quote another Minnesota voice: "Be as anti-elitist as you like, but when the surgeon comes in to open up your skull to see what that big dark spot on the CT scan was, you don't want him to be wearing a humorous T-shirt ("Hey, it is brain surgery") and eating Jujubes. You board the DC-10 to London and you'd like to see a lean guy with a military-style crew cut, an overachiever, not a guy with hair in his eyes who is really, really into his own music. Your life may depend on an arrogant elitist who happens to know what he's doing."