Praise Pawlenty, who will do job and not keep itTim Pawlenty will make tough, unpleasant and probably unpopular budget decisions in coming days.
By: R-E Editorial Board, The Republican Eagle
Tim Pawlenty will make tough, unpleasant and probably unpopular budget decisions in coming days. Tuesday's announcement that he won't seek a third term will allow him to do so without re-election distractions and the accompanying political pressures.
He'll make the cuts, suffer the criticisms and accept the fallout. Indeed, Pawlenty will do what DFL lawmakers were unwilling to do. Ironically, a growing throng of them now hope to succeed the governor at the same they hope his cuts won't meet success with the public.
Whether individuals agree in the end with the Republican governor's cuts, any claim that he's misusing his office is hogwash. This is not a "power grab" as one DFLer whined. This is not a dangerous move from someone "now unaccountable" to voters since he won't seek re-election, as another DFLer decried.
The people gave the governor the power in the Minnesota Constitution, which grants the governor the authority to veto budgets and apply "unallotment" when there is not enough revenue to pay for everything lawmakers approved. The Constitution says that's the governor's responsibility.
House and Senate leaders gave the governor the power this time because they didn't fulfill their responsibilities. The Legislature abdicated its power over the political purse. That's far from a power grab.
Pawlenty warned lawmakers he'd make the cuts himself if he had to, but they paid no heed.
What did DFL lawmakers think would happen when they sent him a budget that would have spent $3 billion more than he agreed to spend? Sign it?
They didn't get real. Pawlenty did. That reality means he won't run for governor in 2010.
Pawlenty may well cut or unallot in such a way that the biggest hits don't occur until July 2010. That means the Democrat-controlled House and Senate will have another shot to help resolve the budget. Of course, they'll be in the hot seats because they'll be up for election.
In the meantime, Pawlenty will do his job even though it will cost him his job. That's leadership.
Who knows, Minnesotans or the nation may call on that leadership in another fashion a few years from now.