In an interview yesterday with Bloomberg, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) gave a blistering speech attacking President Obama, slamming the the stimulus and efforts to reform health care. Pawlenty declared it would be “ludicrous” to think that the Recovery Act is “what pivoted” the economy back to stability. He also said any “fair critique” of Democratic health care legislation includes the argument that “death panels” would make life-or-death treatment decisions.
But as Bloomberg later reported, Pawlenty’s criticisms of the stimulus are at odds with both economists and the statements of Pawlenty’s own economic development director, Dan McElroy. McElroy, Pawlenty’s “point man on jobs and economic development,” leads the Department of Employment and Economic Development. He recently went on a 10 city road show titled “Advancing Economic Prosperity” touting the benefits of the stimulus. Speaking about the positive effects of the stimulus, McElroy said:
“Our goal was to put this money to work as quickly as possible. Communities and job-seekers throughout Minnesota are seeing tangible results from this funding.“
A longtime adviser to the governor, Pawlenty has praised McElroy as, “one of the smartest, most hard-working change-oriented leaders that has come to state government in modern history.” And McElroy isn’t the only Pawlenty official heaping praise upon the stimulus. Pawlenty’s top financial advisor, Tom Hanson, told Minnesota legislators that stimulus funds used to plug the state’s massive budget shortfall would make “all of our lives just a little bit easier.” He added, “The federal money will give us the opportunity to accept federal assistance and push it out into our state, to help as many people as possible.”
Not only is Pawlenty hitching his wagon to the outrageous “death panel” lie being propagated by Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, but he’s also joining the long line of hypocritical Republicans who try to score political points by knocking the stimulus while claiming credit for its success at home.