Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) spoke to a crowd of approximately 300  who braved the cold weather at  the 3rd Annual Des Moines Tea Party Rally held at the Iowa Capitol Building on Saturday.  He brought a message of fiscal responsibility and limited government as he hammered on promises that President Obama has made that he has broken since being in office.

Pawlenty noted that Obama promised bipartisan health care reform, that he’d contain cost, and opposed the individual mandate as a candidate.  He accomplished the opposite as President.

He said President Obama promised that he would cut the budget deficit in half during his first term.  He certainly is not on the way to doing that and has instead increased the deficit.

He broke his promise about the stimulus package keeping unemployment at 8%.  That didn’t happen.  Pawlenty noted that as a Senator, President Obama was against raising the debt ceiling.  Now he is advocating for it. 

Pawlenty wanted to give him some credit though, “he’s proven that somebody deserves the Nobel Prize less than Al Gore.”

Taking a line from Donald Trump’s Apprentice TV show, “We should tell President Obama in 2012, ‘you’re fired.’”  Also perhaps a reference to Trump’s skepticism of President Obama’s birth certificate he said, “I’m not one to question the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, but when you look at his policies I can question what planet he’s from.”

He said that we can “restore America’s prosperity by restoring America’s common sense.”

The first thing he cited – “we can’t spend more than what we take in.”  He said, “just because we followed Greece into Democracy doesn’t mean we should follow them into bankruptcy.”  Pawlenty shared his experience balancing the budget in Minnesota which is a “blue state.”  He said that if they could do it in there in Minnesota, quoting Frank Sinatra, “we can do it anywhere.”

He said they made spending cuts, they implemented performance pay for teachers, public employee pension fund reform, they reduced taxes, tort reform, and welfare reform in his time as Governor.

He also said that Republicans should refuse to raise the debt ceiling, and he called for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.  He said “we need to throw the tax code out and start over.”   Referring to the New York Gubernatorial candidate, Jimmy McMillian, who represented the “Rent is Too Damn High” party in New York; Pawlenty noted that Tea Party’s simple message should be “the government is too damn big.”

You can watch his speech below:

I liked the tenor of his speech and he did a good job pointing out where President Obama has gone wrong.  There was a lot of red meat for the crowd and they responded well.  I also thought he did a good job sharing what he had done as Governor to reduce spending.

We need to do more than simply balance the budget however.  I’m glad he’s calling on lawmakers not to raise the debt ceiling.  I don’t believe we’ll get a constitutional amendment to balance our budget, but stopping the ability of the federal government to keep taking on more debt is a good first step.  We need radical cuts.

I also agree with Governor Pawlenty’s assessment that our “government is too damn big.”  With that said though I really would like to hear how he reconciles that statement with his position on education.  Hopefully I’ll get an answer soon.  In the meantime Governor Pawlenty took a positive step for tea partiers in Iowa willing to give him look.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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