New York Times Columnist Not a Big Fan of Tim Pawlenty's New Book

Posted: Jan 17, 2011 10:36 AM
Former Times Editorial Page Editor and current columnist Gail Collins has taken it upon her herself to offer snarky reviews of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates' books "as a public service."  (What could go wrong?)  First up in her crosshairs on her list is former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's Courage to Stand.  Stunningly, Pawlenty's tome leaves Collins cold:

Pawlenty was elected and did well in the State Capitol. (“I like people.”) Then he decided to run for governor.

We will skip over “the longest endorsing convention in the state’s history” and just point out that Pawlenty’s campaign theme was no new taxes. For sure. Really, none.

...This is the critical nexus of the book where, despite a massive shortfall, he stands up to the big-tax Democrats and figures out how to balance the budget solely by making cuts.

Which he says he did. But he actually doesn’t explain how, except to point out that the Democrats were really, really ticked off when he gloated.  Also, that bridge that fell down in Minneapolis? Totally and completely not in any way his fault.

Collins employs ostentatious sarcasm to express her skepticism about this last point.  Her entirely unsubtle subtext was that the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse was surely in some way the Republican Governor's fault.  If failing to notice a 1960s design flaw when the bridge was originally constructed constitutes fault, I suppose Collins is right.  By any reasonable definition, however, she's wrong.  For a far less obnoxious look at Pawlenty's book, read the transcript of my conversation with the former governor on last Tuesday's Hugh Hewitt Show.

UPDATE:  A source connected to the Pawlenty camp points out that Gail Collins wasn't the only New York Times columnist who mentioned T-Paw this weekend.  Frank Rich, in his predictably hysterical post-Tucson column, inaccurately describes Pawlenty's assessment of the media-contrived Sarah Palin "crosshairs" kerfuffle:

Last week a conservative presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, timidly said it wouldn’t be his “style” to use Palin’s target map, but was savaged so viciously by his own camp that he immediately retreated.

Here, Rich misconstrues the truth.  For the authentic back story, listen to Ed Morrissey's interview with Gov. Pawlenty. 

Incidentally, take a wild guess who Rich blames for the political 'climate of hate' -- which, of course, had zero to do with the ostensible subject of his piece?  Bingo.  It's as if he and Paul Krugman are immune to facts.  Theirs is a lazy and simplistic worldview: Every social ill is the fault of conservatives, even when the evidence proves otherwise.  Thus, Times readers are regularly treated to wholly unoriginal columns with paranoid and angry theses awkwardly shoehorned into the authors' conservative-loathing thought box.  

Kudos, though, to Frank Rich for rehashing an already discredited narrative a full week after its provenance.  That takes a special sort of simplistic laziness and ideological fervor.