In 2008, Tim Pawlenty participated in a radio ad (with Janet Napolitano!) calling for Congress to implement legislation to cap “greenhouse gas” emissions. He talked about how this would create New Jobs in Clean Energy Industries.

These jobs, along with the companies “creating” them, would of course, be highly subsidized–either directly, or through higher energy prices, or, most likely, both, and the subsidies would not come from the Magical Money Machine, but rather would be extracted from elsewhere in the economy–thereby reducing jobs creation in the “elsewhere” sectors. Ask the people of Spain how that has been working out for them.

One sector that is particularly sensitive to energy costs is manufacturing. The number of manufacturing jobs destroyed through policies raising energy costs is likely to be much higher than the number of manufacturing jobs added to make wind turbines and such.

The reality is that “creating jobs” is not very difficult if that’s all you want to do. You can pay people to dig holes and fill them up again, or implement something like the elevator safety and economic opportunity act, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for elevator operators. The trick rather lies in creating jobs which expand the economy rather than shrink it. One would hope a Republican candidate for President would understand these points. I have to wonder if Pawlenty is familiar with the Parable of the Broken Window, as explained by the French economist Frederic Bastiat way back in 1850.

Some people think that reduction in CO2 is so critical that it justifies a permanent reduction in the American standard of living. If they really believe that, they should make the argument honestly and produce the evidence. But to argue that we can force a shift to much-more-costly forms of energy production and, by doing so, make the economy thrive, is either ignorant or disingenous.

Pawlenty’s participation in this ad does make me wonder about his understanding of energy and economics; it also raises concerns about his susceptibility to trendy but questionable ideas.

Plus, should a nice Republican boy really be hanging around with someone like Janet Napolitano?

31 thoughts on “Disappointing”

  1. Politically, Pawlenty is the new Romney. Seems like an OK guy but too weak and unprincipled to defeat Obama.

    The Republican establishment probably wants to support Pawlenty rather than some upstart with balls who might actually have a chance to win.

    But it’s no longer 1995. The upstarts have better odds in the primaries than they used to. The eventual Republican nominee could well be someone unexpected who has a real chance to win.

  2. I remember those days so vividly. Jim Gerharty at NRO was supplicating conservatives to adopt the green agenda. Ramesh Whathisface was pushing this nonsense, citing the IPCC and others. Newt bought into this, Wisconsin’s Mark Green, Grahmnesty, Ahmuld, Mclame, and old Pawlenty all went balls deep into it. And now, after all the lies were revealed, they ended up with fecal matter all over theie faces. Beautiful. Political backtracks are so beautiful.

    I give the Left an A- for almost succeeding with this particular socialist scheme.

  3. I don’t know whether to say I am disappointed or not. I’m not one to fall in love with politicians. They are what they are and I will crawl over glass to vote against President Obama in the next election.

    What I wonder is why the field is so tepid? And why don’t they work harder? I sense an intellectual laziness in this crowd. Maybe that’s unfair.

    I don’t know. Where is the spark? And why or why don’t Republican politicians work on their oratorial skills? Conservative ideology is counterintuitive. You need a Milton Friedman versus Phil Donohue level of explanation going on EACH AND EVERY TIME THEY ARE ASKED A QUESTION.

    Good speaking skills are essential because popular culture and the media are against you. Work harder, 2012 crew. I wish you well but get it together.

    – Madhu

  4. “The Republican establishment probably wants to support Pawlenty rather than some upstart with balls who might actually have a chance to win.”

    I am with onepark. I also endorse the Blogfather’s statement: “I would vote for a syphilitic camel over Obama”.

    That said none of the candidates that I know of are perfect. They all have major flaws.

    Bachmann — Strikes me as a lightweight. She has no executive experience.

    Barbour — Country is not ready for a southerner who has a bad case of mush mouth and is inclined to tread indelicately on the history of the region.

    Cain — Great story, Lacks political and FP experience

    Christie — Has said he is not ready yet, and I will take him at his word. He is young, 2020 will be more like prime time for him.

    Daniels — Not exciting, and he apparently has some differences with the socials, not that there is anything wrong with that. Also his stint in the WH under Bush may be a problem in the General.

    Gingrich — Also appeared in GW commercial. Newt has taken every position that it is possible take over the years. Does he have any principals? No executive experience and a messy personal life.

    Giuliani — Not a Simon pure conservative. Messy personal life. Failed to get any traction in 08.

    Huckabee — Not conservative at all, except on the social.

    John Huntsman — Former Governor of Utah, Business Executive, Actually has FP experience … as ambassador to China (he speaks Chinese) under Obama!

    Jindal — He is still very young (turns 40 this year) and just finishing his first term as Governor of Louisiana. I am not sure how conservative he is. Friend worked for him at HHS and didn’t like him.

    Gary Johnson — Former Governor of New Mexico, but who is he?

    Palin — I love Sarah, and her politics, but if Juneau was too tough for her, how will she survive DC. Needs to have Bristol and her ex die in a car crash.

    Ron Paul — has repeatedly attacked support for Israel. No executive experience.

    Pawlenty — above

    Romney — Needs to be able to disavow Romneycare. It was a state level experiment. It did not work, and we need to pull the plug on it and Obamacare.

    Rubio — No more first term Senators with only state legislative experience behind him. He needs to get some experience and point for 2028.

    Trump — And a bad comb-over to boot.

    Allen West — First term congressman.

  5. I need to add.

    First, the available evidence is that presidents under the age of 50 don’t work out.

    Second, the first job of the next president is not invent the world from scratch. It is to wrestle the Federal Bureaucracy to the ground and make it say uncle. Ideas are unnecessary.

    The second job will be recovering from the foreign policy damage that BO and the Monstrous Regiment of Women has inflicted on the US. It requires judgment from the President, not knowledge.

  6. Second, the first job of the next president is not invent the world from scratch. It is to wrestle the Federal Bureaucracy to the ground and make it say uncle. Ideas are unnecessary. – Robert Schwartz.

    Good point. But how to wrestle with the bureaucracy needs some thought, no?

    I don’t know. We are in a rough patch and I guess I’m just grumpy about it. Time to get in touch with my Reagan optimism. It’s in there somewhere….

    – madhu

  7. RobertS…”Ideas are unnecessary”…perhaps NEW ideas are not so necessarily, but the ability to UNDERSTAND ideas and to explain them crisply is essential.

  8. RobertS…A candidate should be able to explain, for example, why “stimulus” and “job” programs that result in higher energy costs are not going to help economic growth & long-term employment. Reagan would have been able to do this. Romney, while he probably understands the theory correctly, is not able to put it in words which will resonate with most people.

  9. @ Robert: Every single part of the US I’ve ever lived, east coast, west coast, midwest….

    Most people don’t pay attention to politics, what they know is whatever snippets they hear on whatever late show they watch or the ten minutes they turn into the local news and stuff that Paul Krugman writes seems reasonable to them.

    No one has ever walked them through the consequences of said actions. How do you think we got President Obama and why does he still have a 47-48 percent approval rating?

    Chicago Boyz is not indicative of everyone. I’ve spent my entire life around progressives. They read Naomi Klein. They think cap-and-trade is a good idea. Hey, it’s a free country but what really bothers me is that they are not even familiar with the counter arguments. Most conservatives are by virtue of being surrounded by progressive ideas EVERYWHERE.

    This is one reason we do so poorly and one reason Reagan was so effective. And Ryan, and Christie, and yes, Sarah with her one-liners that encapsulate the silliness of what is proposed.

    You need the entire package to be successful because we don’t have popular culture behind us and never bother to shape popular culture.

    I can’t believe we are even arguing this point. Obama is going to be re-elected because of the malfeasance of the stupid party.

    I feel a Dean like “aaayaaargh” coming on :)

    – Madhu

  10. Each and every potential candidate has negatives.

    To get elected the current occupant had nothing going for him other than his skin color, teleprompter skills and a natural ability to cloak the big lie.

    It’s way to early to call for our side but when the next election comes around that incumbent sitting in the WH (when he’s not out globe trotting with his posse) will have far less clothing on than when he walked in the door.

  11. -I agree with all of Madhu’s last comment.

    -I would add to Gerry from Valpo’s comment another thing that the current President has going for him: the support of Hollywood and most of the big media. This relates closely to Madhu’s point. Most voters aren’t political junkies but rely on brief snatches of info from leftist television networks. As long as those media protect Obama and denigrate Obama’s opponents, Obama will retain substantial support even among voters who might be open to alternatives. Reagan succeeded by bypassing the media gatekeepers and making his excellently crafted arguments, that he had refined over many years, directly to the voting public.

    -Reagan was elected two generations ago. The average voter now is probably less well educated and more ignorant about history, economics and public affairs than was the average voter of 1980. Probably more voters benefit directly from govt employment or subsidies than was the case then. It is therefore possible that even a new Reagan would have a more difficult time of it now. But we won’t know until someone tries. The current Republican favorites, with the possible exception of Palin, lack either the rhetorical skills, the principles, or both, that they would need to make an effective case against the Obama Democrats and statism in general.

    -It is possible that only hard experience, and maybe not even that, will change enough voters’ minds about statism so that they will be receptive to limited-govt candidates. That’s a worst case. It may be that voters are already smart and informed enough, and will respond positively if presented with a competent limited-govt candidate. Time will tell.

  12. I like Palin for one important reason mentioned above by other commenters – she takes very complex issues and boils them down to one or two EASILY UNDERSTOOD sentences. Of course this doesn’t make sense, but it is what politics boils down to today. We are all busy trying to make ends meet and the little snippets and one liners that people see make a difference.

    Whether you agree with her or think she is a good or bad candidate, at least she knows how to get in front of a TV and talk to people on their level.

    As Madhu said, this blog and the commenters here are not a typical cross section. Just go sit in your local mall for that and tell me who will resonate with those folks better – Romney or Palin? Pretty easy.

  13. Dan from Madison..”Just go sit in your local mall for that and tell me who will resonate with those folks better – Romney or Palin?”

    It depends on where your local mall is and what the demographics of the mall-goers are. There are now a *very* large number of people in the US whose very identity is closely tied to their educational credentials, and to many such people, Sarah Palin seems to be quite threatening.

  14. “Second, the first job of the next president is not invent the world from scratch. It is to wrestle the Federal Bureaucracy to the ground and make it say uncle. ”

    The problem that both parties face is that the President who does that will be a one-term President. There will be pain; although that pain will be short term and the benefits will be long term, the long-term benefits won’t be apparent enough by the 2016 season for that President to win re-election. (And the Left will have their Oliver Stones and Michael Moores lined up to preach at us about the evils of money and capitalism, lest we start to enjoy the improving economy.) What the party has to plan for is (assuming that they win in 2012) how to throw their party’s sitting President under the bus without having it reflect back on the party as a whole, and how to identify the 2016 candidate who will promise to “make it nice” but not actually undo the reforms.

    It almost makes me hopes that the GOP does nominate Ron Paul, despite the fact that I disagree with him on a number of issues including military cuts and Israel. He’s the one candidate that I think will go all-out in pursuit of shrinking the federal government significantly, and since he’s always been a party iconoclast, it would be fairly easy for the Republicans to disown him in 2016. And Paul himself might not even mind that; he doesn’t seem to be highly motivated by popularity.

  15. “There are now a *very* large number of people in the US whose very identity is closely tied to their educational credentials, and to many such people, Sarah Palin seems to be quite threatening.”

    That’s true. Palin is a polarizing figure. On the other hand, so is Obama. From the latest data I’ve seen, it appears that if independents decide both candidates are too extreme and sit the election out, then the Republicans win. (Of course, then the real problem is whether or not the GOP can swing enough seats to take the Senate, without any any votes from independents… I’m not sure that can be accomplished in 2012.)

  16. Obama seems to be doing what he can to make the problems of the GOP candidate easier. Gallup says unemployment is above 20%. The Libya adventure will end in disaster as Gaddafi survives and massacres the rebels. The principle hope is that the GOP House finally grows a pair and shuts down the government if the Dems won’t go along on budget cuts. Since the Democrats seem to have decided they will win such a showdown, it is that or surrender and the end of the tea party.

    We’ll know a lot more after the Wisconsin supreme court election next week.

  17. “Who’ll Be the GOP’s Next Big Thing?: All Republicans are excited about 2012. Few are excited about any of the candidates” by Kimberley A. Strassel in the Wall Street Journal on April 1, 2011.

    Ask any grass-roots Republican, and they will tell you that what gets them out of bed in the morning is the prospect of defeating President Barack Obama in 2012. Ask them who is going to do it, and be met with sigh.

    * * *

    All that’s missing? Any clear voter enthusiasm for the obvious candidates.

    * * *

    It ought to be of concern to the presumptive field, too, that grass-roots and influential Republicans continue to spend most of their energy and daydreams on people who are either: a) not running—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; b) were all but unknown a year ago—Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and pizza magnate Herman Cain; or c) might not even be Republican—Donald Trump.

    * * *

    This is a group of voters that may not like Mr. Obama, but they respect his skills. They want somebody who can match him in charisma and communication. This is a group of voters disillusioned by Republican behavior. They elected the GOP last year, but mostly as a protest vote against Mr. Obama. They now want somebody—preferably a new face, without the baggage—who can articulate a vision for the party and reassure it that it really is in new, strong, capable hands.

    * * *

  18. “Put not your trust in princes,
    in mortal men, who cannot save you.
    When their spirit departs, they return to the earth;
    on that day their thoughts die too.”

    Ps 146:3-4

  19. @ Robert Schwartz:

    Oh. I get what you are saying now. If I am channelling you correctly, then I think I agree! No matter who is elected we still have to do our homework and pay attention. Beware false prophets and all that….

    At any rate, I am not the right person for this conversation. I tend not to get “into” politicians. I like discussing policy better.

    My opinions on the matter are not so good in that case. I sometimes miss the big picture because I like to pay attention to the individual trees….

    – Madhu

  20. Robert: Not all allusions are to Russian literature.
    …or to Kings and Cabbage, for that matter.

    I didn’t take your mentioning of women conspiracy to be allusion to Russian literature. I’m just surprised with your choice of culprits to blame failure of the foreign policy. You name BO personally (I agree) and then you point at “Monstrous Regiment of Women”. As if they are not certain persons with names, ideology and distinctly leftist politics, but a group classified by gender and nothing else. I wonder why conservative women don’t notice this manner of lumping them with leftists of if denigrating women in general by so many conservative men seems natural and just to them.

  21. David: I would vote for Bolton in a heartbeat if he decided to run.
    [btw, he reminds me of Mark Twain, mostly visually, but also by the passion with which he speaks and by clarity with which he observes political realities. Maybe that’s part of the intended appeal?]

  22. “The G.O.P.’s Empty Stage” by Ross Douthat in the NYTimes on April 4, 2011 at p. A21:

    * * *

    When it comes to challenging Barack Obama for the presidency, the Party of Lincoln looks increasingly like a party of Mario Cuomos. Its biggest names and brightest lights are mainly competing to offer excuses for why they won’t be running in 2012.

    Gov. Chris Christie …

    Mike Huckabee,…

    Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana … has spent the month backpedaling from the idea of a presidential run.

    Paul Ryan … he’s already ruled out a run for president. So have lesser lights like Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Representative Mike Pence of Indiana.

    So has the Republican politician with the most famous name and strongest executive record: former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.

    None of this means that the Republican ballot will be empty come January. We know Mitt Romney is running … We know Newt Gingrich is kind-sorta-definitely running. Pawlenty is in, and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi may join the field as well. There’s a long list of dark horses, potential spoilers and vanity candidates — Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, John Bolton and Ron (or Rand!) Paul, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump. And of course there’s Sarah Palin, …

    But if Romney is the front-runner and Pawlenty the freshest face, the Republican Party will have let both its own constituents and the country down.

    … The unpopularity of President Obama’s agenda, the obvious unsustainability of blue-state spending habits (evident in budget battles from California to New York) and the looming entitlement crisis have created a remarkable opportunity for conservatives to reimagine government’s role — to look “beyond the welfare state,” …

    But the right’s opportunity could easily be lost. The public loves to vote for leaner government and then recoil from the reality. Already there’s a backlash against conservative governors in states like Wisconsin and Ohio who are perceived to be cutting too much too fast. When Ryan and his colleagues release what promises to be an ambitious plan for entitlement reform next week, they’ll be putting a bull’s-eye on their party’s back.

    Fifteen years ago, in the wake of the 1994 Republican revolution, conservatives were in a similar position … Out of a mediocre primary field, they ended up with Bob Dole as their standard-bearer. Their cause did not soon recover.

  23. Douthat’s complaint is, a best, off key. He begins by telling us that the GOP’s best candidates are sitting it out. he starts with Christie, OK, but then he lists Huckabee, oops, foot fault. Huckleberry is the proverbial syphilitic camel. He also blows a kiss to Jeb Bush. Poor Jeb, George pissed in the soup, and no one wants to go through that again.

    His final statement is weird. Poor Bob Dole, might have been a lackluster candidate, but considering that GWB won in 2000, the GOP’s cause did recover.

    But, more importantly, The opening should make us think. “the Party of Lincoln”

    Who was Lincoln in 1859, more than a year before the election of 1860?


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