I understand that Pawlenty is trying hard to get people to pay attention to his campaign. Its certainly a challenge for someone with such little stature in the conservative movement to compete with high profile conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, etc. Unfortunately for Pawlenty, comments like this simply show how totally out-of-touch he is with the issues that rank and file conservatives care about. If he wants to show he is a committed social conservative he would be much better served talking about the need to defund Planned Parenthood, end federal funding for abortion, reign in an out of control judiciary and support for a parents rights amendment to protect home-schoolers.
The aggressive salvo comes just two days before CPAC 2011, which GOProud is (controversially) co-sponsoring. Some conservatives, such as Andrew Breitbart and Grover Norquist, have vocally defended CPAC's decision to include the gay conservative group. Others are boycotting the conference. Still others, like Sarah Palin, are threading the needle -- declining to endorse GOPac's agenda, while backing their right to participate in the event.
I contacted Pawlenty's camp for a reaction to Barron's comments and to ask about the governor's stance on the larger CPAC/GOProud quarrel. Spokesman Alex Conant replied with a statement reiterating Pawlenty's opposition to the repeal of DADT:
"The Governor respects the opinions of the commanding generals and is committed to giving them the resources needed to accomplish their military mission. In this case, both generals and combat troops have voiced opposition to repealing DADT, and the governor values their perspective. He does not support using resources to implement a policy they oppose."UPDATE: Barron appeared with Larry O'Donnell on MSNBC tonight to address the controversy: