Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

Not content to push for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment in his own state, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has endorsed the idea of a federal constitutional amendment to require Congress to pass balanced budgets every year. The Wall Street Journal's Amy Merrick observes,

Previous efforts to pass a national balanced-budget amendment have foundered in Congress. Many lawmakers believe deficit spending can help boost the U.S. economy during downturns, and calls to balance the budget sometimes fade as other priorities surface.

It would be insane to restrict the federal government's ability to run deficits during a recession. That's not just something many members of Congress "believe," it's a consensus view among economists. But don't worry, Pawlenty isn't entirely rigid on the subject of deficit spending:

Mr. Pawlenty's proposal for a federal amendment would include exceptions for war, natural disasters and other emergencies. The U.S. has been at war for most of the past decade.

No self-respecting Republican ever let spending worries stand in the way of a blank check for war.

Although it's tempting to laugh at Pawlenty's proposal, I think highlighting the budget amendment could boost his standing in the 2012 presidential race. His idea isn't outside the GOP mainstream; leading Republicans proposed a federal spending freeze instead of the stimulus bill Congress passed in February. Republican politicians in Iowa have also embraced Hoovernomics.

The idea could prove popular with the GOP rank and file too. Mike Huckabee gained a lot of traction in Iowa during the summer of 2007 by being the only Republican to endorse the so-called "fair tax." That idea is even wackier than a federal spending freeze during a recession, but many caucus-goers embraced it.

Any comments about Pawlenty's prospects or the Republican presidential field are welcome in this thread.

Tags: 2012 elections, president, Republican primary, Tim Pawlenty (all tags)

Comments

32 Comments

Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

Even zanier, there's a Republican in the NY-09 proposing a 2/3 super-majority to raise taxes.

Even more bizarre, the guy's father just died from lung cancer for lack of health insurance and he's agains a public option or subsidies. Thinks the problem is due to trial lawyers.

Today's GOP, nuttier by the day.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-28 05:59AM | 0 recs
NY-09? That's Weiner's district

who is this dude?

by ND22 2009-12-28 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: NY-09? That's Weiner's district

I didn't write down his name because his is a hopeless cause. He's not going to beat Anthony Weiner in a district that sent Chuck Schumer and Geraline Ferraro to Congress.

I may be able to find his website by looking at my Internet history when I get home. He had an unusual background. His father was Egyptian and his mother Colombian. His other cause was religious freedom. Apparently it is under assault. The whole gay marriage thing.

If I can track it down, I'll post his name for you.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-28 05:42PM | 0 recs
(Comment Deleted)

This comment has been deleted by an administrator.

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:37PM | 0 recs
No

He's not going to beat Anthony Weiner in a district that sent Chuck Schumer and Geraline Ferraro to Congress.

No, he won't, but this isn't the same district that send Ferraro and Schumer to Congress, McCain won 45% of the vote there.

That said a half Arab, half Hispanic candidate is DOA in a race in a district made up of liberals and racist Italians, Irish and Jews.

by ND22 2009-12-28 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: No

The district has changed. It's less Queens and more Brooklyn.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-28 10:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

T-paw is just not enough of anything to be anything more second tier. He has just enough of everything to to be a VP candidate.

His base support is warm to tepid. He was OK only in comparison to his opposition at the time. No energy, No passion he will be eaten alive in a tough campaign without a fawning press.

by Judeling 2009-12-28 06:04AM | 0 recs
I don't agree

I think he can fill the Romney niche without the Mormon baggage.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-28 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

How is it that Minnesota can produce a Franken and Pawlenty? An Ellison and a Bachmann?

Then again Grassley versus Harkin may be the biggest ideological gap in the Senate from any state.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-28 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

What would be tragic is if committed liberal populists from MN like Humphrey and Mondale couldn't get past the VP office but a conservative lightweight like Pawlenty could.  Humphrey had Viet Nam and loyalty to LBJ to contend with (and a less known past as a red baiting mayor of Minneapolis that requires some forgiveness for helping impede an august pro-Labor tradition) and Mondale had a charisma deficit, Carter hangover, and the phenomenon called Reagan to overcome.  Both were staunch civil rights supporters.  Mondale had more intellect and Humphrey more political instincts.  Nonetheless, a President Pawlenty would turn the stomachs of many veteran members of the Minnesota Demcratic Farm-Labor party.

by Strummerson 2009-12-28 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

I don't see Pawlenty being a major factor in 2012.  He will be the Edwards of this race... make some noise, but fade fast.   Romney and Palin could team up and destroy him easily and face each other... and lets not forget Newt.  Meanwhile Palin and Romney then go at it, and my bet is Romney will have a hell of a time if that's the case.   Of course, once all the PALIN crap gets rehashed if she wins the promary, then her favorables will sink like rocks and she will be beaten like a rug.    

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

2016 will be Pawlenty's turn.    2012 will be Palin or Romney... although I hope Palin as I think she'll be crushed and I also think it will be a freaking entertaining race.

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:39PM | 0 recs
I think Pawlenty

was helped by a third-party candidate, but some Minnesotan correct me if I'm wrong.

Grassley has always been re-elected easily, but Harkin had to fight hard every time until 2008.

Harkin's whole career is rather unlikely. He was elected in a fairly conservative House district in the Watergate class of 1974. He first ran for Senate in 1984 and managed to beat an incumbent despite the fact that Reagan carried Iowa by almost 20 points. It helped that Harkin was running against a pretty incompetent first-termer, but still.

Getting the ADA passed during his first term was huge for Harkin and helped carry him through the 1990 campaign.

I will always be grateful that Harkin wasn't up for re-election in 1994. He would have been gone for sure. He only barely squeaked past the awful Jim Ross Lightfoot in 1996, when Democratic turnout was higher because of the presidential race.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-28 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: I think Pawlenty

was helped by a third-party candidate, but some Minnesotan correct me if I'm wrong.

Nah.  I think Penny and Hutchinson both helped Pawlenty more than hurt.  Pentel didn't make a dent in 2006, and only garnered 2.25% in 2002.

by lojasmo 2009-12-28 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

You have T-Paw picking up some pretty slime slices. The pro-business who can't do Mormon, The moral right who can't do Huckabee, the teabag crazies who can't do Palin. In a general that may work in a primary it adds up to third place.

by Judeling 2009-12-28 10:30AM | 0 recs
Hookin' wallies

The only reason this works in Minnesota is because the slack is picked up by increased fees on, especially, outdoors recreation.  There simply aren't enough recreational fishermen nationwide to sustain a $700B / yr military budget.

by the mollusk 2009-12-28 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Hookin' wallies

No No No. You see in Pawlenty's world there is no money for anything but war.

by JDF 2009-12-28 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Hookin' wallies

Not true.  There's always hockey.

by the mollusk 2009-12-28 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Hookin' wallies

And Big shopping malls.  MMM... Orange Julius.

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

What do you think in Iowa?  I agree about Pawlenty being the better Romney, as far as a candidate goes. Looks like the latter is going to go after Pawlenty too.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

T-Paw doesn't have enough of a policy vision to stand up to a Romney challenge. He will get eaten alive. Business doesn't only want little regulation and low taxes, they want their handouts also. T-Paw can't play that game.

by Judeling 2009-12-28 10:38AM | 0 recs
don't have a sense yet

It really depends whether Romney tries to play here. Most of the business Republicans backed him last time; if he takes a pass on Iowa I assume they go with Pawlenty.

Palin clearly has some support, but I don't think she has a lock on the caucuses by any means.

Let's see how well Bob Vander Plaats (Huckabee's Iowa chairman) does against Branstad in the IA-Gov primary. That will give us some sense of the teabagger/evangelical bloc's strength.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-28 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

" Mr. Pawlenty's proposal for a federal amendment would include exceptions for war, natural disasters and other emergencies. The U.S. has been at war for most of the past decade. "

I wonder if this will result in a perverse incentive to be in  a perpetual state of war...

by vecky 2009-12-28 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

...which is what the GOP wants.

But even so it would only allow deficit spending FOR the war. What it would actually allow a President Pawlenty to do is throw all of the fed budget into the war and shut down all of the programs that we need but they are against.

by JDF 2009-12-28 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

It doesn't seem that we need any further incentives to be perpetually at war.  I guess we could always build a robot army and place them in Antarctica.  Or maybe get sharks.  Sharks with lasers on their heads.

by the mollusk 2009-12-28 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

Though based on nothing more than instinct, I suspect Pawlenty represents the GOP's best candidate in 2012 -- a new face who can run against the DC Establishment, and a guy who might be good at appealing to the hard-right teabaggers and religious conservatives without alienating moderate independents (admittedly I base this on one speech I heard him give).  And I imagine that he'd pose a real threat to the midwest industrial states where Obama did very well but which will be among the slowest to come out of the recession -- MI, OH, WI.

I also think BBA is a political winner in any environment, especially the current one, espcially for a republican. It appears "balanced" and non-partisan; economically moderate "common sense"; and anti-politician all at once. With Huckabee probably out of the running, he is probably seeking to use BBA to tap into the economic populist wing of the republican primary electorate (ie, anticorporate, flat tax, etc.)

I think he's precisely the kind of politician that republican donors and political operators (as distinct from activists) like, and I could well imagine the Republican party leaders coalescing around him as the alternative to Palin.

In my home state of NV, if its an early state again in 2012, I think he'd have a hard time getting traction against Romney or even Palin but thats largely because the moderate establishment of the GOP is in such a shambles.

by desmoulins 2009-12-28 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

I think so too. He's basically the most McDonnell-like among the GOP candidates. Boring, and nonthreatening to Indys. The more bland he is, the more likely he would win a GE.... but the Republican race in 2012 looks like it could be quite the fracture.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

Maybe.. but who was the last REALLY Bland guy to win who wasn't a sitting VP... MAYBE Carter, although I don't know if I'd call him Bland.   Bush the 1st is the only one I can think of... Love em or hate em, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, W, and Obama were ANYTHING but Bland on the trail.    In fact the Bland guys seem to lose more often than they win (2004 Kerry, 2000 Gore, 1992 Bush (although his blandness wasn't a factor, 1996 Bob Dole)   I think bland plays poorly on TV and really hurts guys like that.   That's why Huckabee always scared me more from the GOP.

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:29PM | 0 recs
good to see you, desmoulins!

What do you think about Reid's chances for being re-elected?

Doesn't look good from my outsider's perspective.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-28 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: good to see you, desmoulins!

I'm giving 50-50.  

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: good to see you, desmoulins!

Funny you should ask that. I've been reading regularly but not posting much due to severe time constraints but I did think today about posting on why Sen Reid is a much better than 50-50 bet for re-election.

Exhibit A is the absolute disarray of the state republican party, from the top down to the local -- and with Sue Lowden, the front-runner in the GOP primary, closely tied to both.

Exhibit B is the still solid state of the state Democratic party, which despite growing pains, still benefits from solid organization, a largely successful melding of professional staff and grassroots activism.

Exihbit C is and demographic and registration trends towards a Democratic majority that have not abated even if they've slowed since spiking in the 07-08 cycle.

That is, there are still 100K more Dems than Republicans registered in this state, and the chances of Republicans reversing that in the next 10 months are very slim.

Reid also benefits from not only his substantial financial advantage, which will be much much wider than the edge Daschle had over Thune, but from 30 years of running statewide. In that time, he's lost one statewide race and one city-wide race (both in the early 1970s) and he's won so much support among every sector of Nevada civil society that he'll be getting support from gaming, mining, labor, environmental activists, every professional group you can think of, which will give him a much deeper reach into the electorate than anything the rabidly partisan RJ can provide on behalf of the republican.

In short, he's going to win it on the ground, in an unspectacular, 4-years in a cloud of dust fashion.

by desmoulins 2009-12-28 08:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Pawlenty pushes balanced budget amendment

PLEASE don't call it the fair tax, even if you only say it in jest or as a quote.  

by FUJA 2009-12-28 07:24PM | 0 recs

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