Tim Pawlenty has accomplished what the other GOP candidates for President have not, so far. Pawlenty added salt to the wounds of Barack Obama's very bad week by giving a speech and laying out his vision of turning the economy around. He didn't rely on pat sound bite answers, he didn't use all the popular buzz words to appease one faction or another, and he stood firm.
More than anything else, Please God, let the GOP run a candidate this time around who will stand his/her ground and not appease the loud people. If the GOP can deliver on a strong, fiscally conservative candidate that can articulate to the masses a common sense path to financial recovery, then Barack Obama is a one term President.
Maybe that candidate will end up being Pawlenty, maybe not. At least he is the first to step up and produce something. Maybe the others will begin to articulate actual policy ideas and not silly banter. There is no time to waste.
This election is all about the numbers. It's the economy, stupid. It's about the very different approach to economic prosperity between Democrats and Republicans.
There is, however, a serious policy implication inside the Pawlenty proposals. We are heading toward an election fought over the economy. That's good because ultimately this means the subject is growth. The one consensus that exists across the political spectrum is that strong economic growth eases many problems—from the entitlement burden to the tragedy of high youth unemployment.
The battle will be fought over economic growth and how we get it—Obama's way or something close to the opposite of Obama's way. On one hand is Barack Obama's government-led "investment" mix, embedded with spending raised to 24% of GDP. On the other is the alternative GOP vision, which is starting to gel.
The economic numbers of last week were devastating to Team Obama. Nothing is going right for them. It is the GOP candidates' job to make sure that message gets out and to offer a viable alternative. Americans are depressed. We are almost in dangerous Carter malaise territory. Those who think we are going in the wrong direction as a country number around 70%. Think about that. There is a real opening for the right candidate on the GOP side.
Barack Obama will be a strong contender. He will raise another record amount of money and use all his Chicago style tricks, just as he did in every previous campaign. It's hardball politics. It is crucial to bring forward a Republican who is fearless and unyielding.
No more Mr. Nice Guy, GOP. This is no time to go wobbly.