The Republican Party has a new boss. Michael Steele won the battle of more than a half dozen candidates. That sent me to the MPR archives to find the speech he gave at the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
At the time, he got a pretty good shot in at an upcoming politician. "I was going to give a strong defense of conservative values tonight," he said. "But Barack Obama gave it last month."
Here's the speech. Unfortunately, it's in RealAudio format.
What else did I find in the archives? This picture of he and Gov. Tim Pawlenty. One might think that their futures are now intertwined.
That picture is from a FoxNews Sunday appearance where Pawlenty and Steele took their party to task.
Here's his speech in St. Paul last summer.
It will be interesting to see if he can lead his party back from the brink. The largest challenge he faces may come from party affiliates who don't hold office - the Rush Limbaugh types who have significant sway over the party base, but don't have to make policy decisions.
Pawlenty's statements since the election lead me to believe he's keeping his options open. He's been tagged in the national press as one of the "new brand" Republicans, which helps in some quarters, but hurts with the Limbaughs and the conservatives of the world. Every time I hear Pawlenty speak about the GOP's future, he's very careful to straddle that line (as he did in Bob's link) and frame "traditional values" vs. "new brand" as a false choice.
If you're a politician, every choice is a false choice. (If you're thinking that this message sounds very similar to Dubya's "compassionate conservatism" circa 1999-2000, and therefore, not terribly "new," congratulations, you have a longer memory than the national press.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Pawlenty certainly seems to be laying the groundwork for a presidential bid in his budget: "I cut corporate taxes, raised education spending, and balanced the budget." That's a good election message. (Again, if you're thinking it sounds very similar to Dubya's '99-'00 budgeting in Texas, albeit with a surplus provided by a national economic boom instead of a record deficit, you'd have a longer memory than the national press.)
The 84,000 low-income working people cut off of MnCare? "I empowered them to find care elsewhere!" Like the ER, where treatment costs much, much more and private purchasers have to eat it with higher premium costs. But that's still a couple years down the line, when TPaw may be out of office. Problem solved!
The $1.3 billion accounting shift where you simply move the date for paying school districts from one biennium to the next so someone else can deal with it? "Innovative nation-leading 21st Century performance funding accountability reform Q-model." It's like refrigerator magnets, you can rearrange the jargon in any order you want. It's still his usual gobbledygook when it comes to education.
Can you double check that MnCARE stat Chris? I read Governor wants to cut 84,000 from General Assistance Medical Care and not MnCARE. I heard he's just cutting dental patients from MnCARE, while still asking dentists to pay into the health care access fund that pays for MnCARE.