Tim Pawlenty Was For Bailouts Before He Was Against Them

Former Minnesota governor and 2012 hopeful Tim Pawlenty has come out swinging against the federal government’s use of bailouts – banks, auto companies, etc. – to “rescue” the economy. “I didn’t support – don’t support – bailing out places like Wall Street, General Motors and the like with respect to the federal government,” Pawlenty told Fox News Sunday.

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And in his new book, Courage to Stand, Pawlenty wrote:

When the rain started to fall on America’s picnic, Washington hung up a big old plastic tarp to protect us from the deluge. (Ever wonder why they call some of these things “TARP funds”?] Good intentions? Maybe. But a bad decision. The problem was, the rain just kept coming. The tarp started sagging in the middle and filling up with water. Poke it with a broom handle all you want, try to drain some of that rainwater over the sides, but the blanket below is getting awfully wet in the meantime. Everyone can see the tarp’s starting to tear at the seams, and we’ve run out of duct tape. This whole thing’s going to collapse-and the picnic will simply be over. Time for a new plan.

But back when the bailouts were happening, Pawlenty wasn’t nearly as outspoken in his opposition to bailouts. In fact, he seemed quite supportive of them if reluctantly so. In fact, that’s exactly how then-US News & World Report writer Jim Pethokoukis described Pawlenty’s support of TARP: “Pawlenty says he is reluctantly for it.”

Pawlenty also told NBC’s Matt Lauer, in response to a question about the bailouts, that “something needed to be done.” And before the National Press Club in 2008, Pawlenty described TARP as “an imperfect solution, but you also have to be pragmatic about getting the mess cleaned up.”

I think what bothers me more about Pawlenty’s flip-flop on the bailouts isn’t so much that he flip-flopped, which is bad enough, but that he’s not being entirely honest about his flip-flop. If he told us that he supported the bailouts at the time, because it seemed like the right thing to do, but now realizes that they were a mistake I could accept that at face value.

But self-righteously railing against the bailouts with all the wisdom of 20/20 hindsight when you, at the time, were at least somewhat supportive of them? That’s the sort of hypocrisy that will keep you from getting elected President.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Neiman

    Politicians shifting with the political winds, having no core values? Color me shock, stunned and amazed.

  • Bat One

    There was, and is, a pretty compelling case for the original TARP as envisioned by Hank Paulson. Complicated, and detailed, to be sure, but compelling nonetheless. But if you read the legislation, there is no provision for using TARP funds to bailout auto manufacturers and the UAW, or banks that neither wanted nor needed the funds, or municipal sanitation workers, or any of the other payoffs the Obama administration handed out to their various supporters.

    And obviously, Obama’s so-called “stimulus” program, the one that promised a million new private sector jobs for each 1% of GDP growth and a national unemployment rate no higher than 8%, has been the most expensive economic policy failure in nearly 75 years.

    • Neiman

      DO NOT – DO NOT let the Congress off the hook, they passed the legislation and allowed the Administration to use the money as a slush fund. DO NOT – DO NOT allow the GOP Congress to start down the compromise road with Lord Obama and The Dumbocrats without: 1. Offering clear alternative plans for dealing with our economy FIRST and taking those alternatives to the people. 2. Make any concessions unless they can come to the American people and honestly claim and clearly articulate that they won more concessions that the Dumbocrats.

  • Brenarlo

    He’s an amateur. I don’t think he stands a chance at getting the nomination. He’s too much like Romney. If Republicans want that, they’ll select Romney. Sure, Pawlenty didn’t have Obamacare, but he was a greeny in the governor’s office.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    The Bamster doesn’t even rise to the level of being an amateur and he blew into office like a piece of litter.

  • Bat One

    “He blew into office like a piece of litter.” I LIKE that! A lot! May I use it?

  • I H8 GOPers

    T-Paw for Pres.!

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