Tim Pawlenty, 51, served as governor of Minnesota from 2003 to 2011 and is a lifelong resident of Minnesota, growing up in St. Paul. The former governor is reportedly on Mitt Romney’s short list of possible vice presidential running mates.
After receiving his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1986, he began practicing labor law at the firm of Rider Bennett, Eagan & Arundel; however the website TimPawlenty.com has a conflicting report that he started his legal career as a criminal attorney, according to conservativedailynews.com.
He was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992 and became House Majority leader in 1999 and governor of Minnesota in 2003 on a strong, conservative anti-abortion and no-tax increase platform. He was the first Republican to declare his candidacy for U.S. president in 2011, which was short-lived after he pledged support to Mitt Romney.
Pawlenty on abortion, health care and immigration.
Pawlenty has a history of pro-life decisions, which in accord with Romney. As governor of Minnesota Pawlenty appointed pro-life attorney Eric Magnuson as the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and also his pro-life record included a campaign promise to require a 24-hour waiting period on abortions.
He accused President Obama’s individual mandate as a page out of the Jimmy Carter playbook, citing liberals as not understanding that the mandate is “backwards thinking.” He further said, “the bureaucrats don’t tell us what to do. We, the people tell the government what to do!”
Romney and Pawlenty are in agreement—sort of—on health care. Romney wants to divert funding to the states to comply with the individual mandate and supports universal health care. His proposals are similar to the Ryan plan, which would also divert Medicaid funding to the states.
Pawlenty said, “If you have a country that’s based on the rule of law and the rule of law gets knowingly cast aside and we allow illegal behavior to continue, then the rule of law is diminished and one of the cornerstones of our country gets eroded in a pretty pronounced way.”
According to OnTheIssues.com. Pawlenty required the electronic verification of immigration status for state employees. Tim Pawlenty is a staunch advocate of border control.
• He thinks that federal verification of citizenship or legal immigration status should be required for state employment.
• State and local law enforcement should be allowed to work with ICE and other federal law enforcement officials regarding illegal immigration.
• Pawlenty said economic benefits of illegal immigrants do not justify ignoring illegal behavior.
• He thinks illegal immigrants should be deported whether or not they have committed a crime other than unlawfully entering the country.
• Pawlenty thinks that our borders should be closed, guarded and open only to immigrants or visitors who are entering the country legally.
Romney/Pawlenty match and some observations
Pawlenty’s long support of pro-life advocacy is in accord with Romney. This platform tends to make women uneasy, particularly independents.
Romney has had to tow the conservative line of less government to pacify the Tea Party Republican segment, and a Pawlenty selection would add some muscle to the base. Romney’s abandonment of The Affordable Care Act is declaring his Massachusetts’s health care mandate as governor was a mistake, which is a precarious and debatable change in philosophy and has been labeled as pandering to conservatives. Pawlenty could smooth out the wrinkles in the Republican health care platform by his support of smaller government. Romney’s reneging on the need for an individual mandate, however, is destined to be fodder for spirited discussion in the presidential debates.
Additionally, there are some problems with diverting federal funding to states for implementation of health care. One of the most outstanding is the inconsistent application of individual states' insurance benefit requirements. Each state has their own regulations, and some are strict with more than 30 health insurance requirements, while some states might only have 10. Non-mandatory women’s health testing and provisions, as well as preventative health care measures, are ways insurance companies provide low premiums to the detriment of consumers.
Lower premiums could encourage buying health insurance across state lines if allowed, which contributes to the disintegration of creating an improved health care system in aggregate that serves everyone with high-quality health care. Also, reduction in benefits means people are sicker when they seek care in the absence of early detection routine care. It’s much cheaper and can be life saving to provide yearly mammograms than it is to treat a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer far advanced. Preventative and routine services reduce the overall cost of health care delivery, which means savings in premiums costs for you and me.
They both favor stronger border security and continuing to build the border fence while opposing citizen amnesty or path to citizenship.
In 2007 in a news release, Romney advocated, "We must stop providing the incentives that promote illegal immigration… As governor, I vetoed legislation that would have provided in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants and I strengthened the authority our state troopers had to enforce existing immigration laws."
While treading lightly on Arizona’s show-me-your-papers law, he said this year "I think you see a model here in Arizona. They passed a law here that says that people who come here and try to find work, that the employer is required to look them up on E-Verify. This E-Verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally. And as a result of E-Verify being put in place, the number of people in Arizona that are here illegally has dropped by some 14 percent,” according to a Huffington report.
The part Romney and conservatives like Pawlenty omit is the economic aftermath for the state of Arizona. American Progress reported on the problems with Arizona-type laws:
Tourism: Major groups and associations canceled events in the state which cost Arizona an estimated $141 million dollars in losses just from convention cancellations.
Agriculture: Kevin Rogers of the Arizona Farm Bureau says, “[M]y industry and others need legal access to labor pools that are seasonal, short- and long-term. These pools will not be sourced from this country. This is an essential fact,” said Kevin Rogers of the Arizona Farm Bureau. “You can tell me to pay more, to use convicts, to hire more students and you can tell me technology will solve my problems,” according to Forbes.
A 2006 report by the American Farm Bureau Federation on the impact of restrictive immigration policies to the agricultural sector found “that if agriculture’s access to migrant labor were cut off, as much as $5 billion to $9 billion in annual production of primarily import-sensitive commodities most dependent on migrant labor would be lost in the short term. Over the longer term, this annual loss would increase to $6.5-12 billion as the shock worked its way through the sector. This compares to an annual production average for the entire agricultural sector of $208 billion over the last decade.”
Business: Divisions between states as a result of restrictive immigration laws can also result in distorted competitive advantages in attracting new business. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial foreshadowed this dynamic by soliciting business from a prominent auto manufacturer whose visiting executive was detained in Alabama because he lacked the right papers:
Hey, Mercedes, time to move to a more welcoming state. … we are the Show-Me State, not the “Show me your papers” state. … you’ve got two choices. Either ask your executives to carry their immigration papers at all times, or move to a state that understands gemüchlichkeit.
SB1070 also is taking a toll on Arizona's small businesses, according to James Garcia with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, according to ktar.com.
"Mom and pop operations -- many of which really came to exist because the immigrant populations were there -- are probably suffering the most, in the most immediate ways," said Garcia.
Education: Higher-education leaders in Arizona have said that their colleges and universities have already lost students, including out-of-state honors students, who don’t want to be subject to the racial profiling law. According to Arizona’s Maricopa Community College Chancellor Rufus Glasper:
… the many Latino citizens and lawful immigrants who attend college now face the offensive and discriminatory prospect of incessant demands to show their documents. … we can expect that some will find this prospect discouraging and will discontinue their pursuit of education and training as well.
Population: Population loss equates to lower tax revenues, lower property values, less consumption, and fewer folks for local businesses and services.
One study estimated the economic impact on Arizona if S.B. 1070 were fully implemented and all undocumented immigrants were driven from the state: Employment would drop by 17.2 percent, 581,000 jobs would be eliminated for immigrant and native-born workers alike, the state economy would shrink by $48.8 billion, and state tax revenues would be reduced by 10.1 percent.
Families with mixed status, i.e. one or more members who are illegal, are also fleeing Arizona because they don’t want to be subjected to the show-me-your-papers law.
In 2008, John McCain thought he could shake up the opposition by choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate,. She was large on image but lacked the required substance to fortify the ticket. While all the female candidates Romney floated far outclassed Palin, choosing a female VP was part rumor and most likely a diversionary tactic and, unfortunately, not to be taken seriously.
Tim Pawlenty is considered a “safe” choice because he rallies the conservative fundamentalists who have been critical of Romney, saying he is not “conservative enough.” Clearly, Romney will be choosing a VP who can fill this void. However, a CNN report said the Right is, “just tolerating him (Romney) because it dislikes Obama more. And picking a safe, religious conservative running mate is not going to make Romney any more attractive to his reluctant base, and it doesn't matter because these people are already resigned to voting for him."
Moderates are also a consideration. The majority of independents are moderates, and a social agenda including religion is not necessarily their primary concern. Therefore, in order for Romney to gather votes from them, he is going to have to develop an economic platform to capture their attention and their vote. For this group job creation will be a centerpiece. In this sense, does it matter who the VP choice is?
Do moderates decide elections? When political party choices move too far left or right, moderates become queasy. The last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, were both considered moderate. Even George Bush campaigned as a moderate in efforts to convince the public that Republicans are “compassionate conservatives.” Although this phrase has not been resurrected yet, the possibility definitely exists.
The other serious candidates for vice presidential running mate who could answer the call by Romney include Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. These possibilities will be reviewed in subsequent articles if Romney has not announced his choice.
Will Romney choose someone to shake up the opposition, a safe conservative, or a conservative moderate—if such a person exists?
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.