Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A promising bit of humor slips into the nation's hostile politics

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is burnishing his standing among Republican primary voters who overwhelmingly oppose President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The law is likely to be a central theme in the 2012 presidential race.

Pawlenty, who is not seeking a third term in the governor’s office, hasn’t announced if he will enter the GOP presidential primaries and caucuses. But on Tuesday he ordered state agencies to decline “discretionary” involvement with the federal law “unless otherwise required by law or approved by the governor’s office.” He said his office will determine whether federal funding would support state initiatives or create “new encroachments by the federal government.”

Fast forward to Iowa next year, when Pawlenty may be seeking the White House. He will be able to tell the conservative activists about his executive order that sought to limit the reach of Obama’s signature achievement. And he’ll be able to attack potential rival Romney in the same breath.

Romney, too, opposed the federal health care overhaul. But should Romney make a second run for the White House, his opponents will say Obama’s health bill is merely a national version of the health care overhaul Romney implemented as Massachusetts governor.

Democrats were quick to note the politics, too. The Democratic National Committee released a spoof of the executive order that began, “Whereas, my presidential ambitions are of paramount importance.”

The spoof concludes by saying “all state employees will work for my presidential campaign.”

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