Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has offered what the Wash Post's Chris Cillizza calls a "stinging critique" of his own party in a recent interview:
Pawlenty, who is retiring this fall after his second term as governor of Minnesota to explore a run for president, ascribed the electoral defeats of Republicans in recent elections to "a whole bunch of corruption and personal scandals that weren't compatible with the principles it claimed to stand for."
"We got fired for a reason," he added.
If this is a window into Pawlenty's mind, can someone shut the blinds on his presidential aspirations now? Sure, the garden-variety sex and corruption scandals of tools ranging from Mark Foley to Duke Cunningham and a cast of priapic spastics too numerous to mention didn't help the Party of Lincoln win any votes. But the real problem wasn't personal problems or penny-anted corruption. It was the fact that George W. Bush and a GOP Congress basically doubled real federal outlays when it was in power and exceeded every possible notion of limited government. And prosecuted (incompetently) two increasingly unpopular region-building exercises. And then Bush left office in an orgy of bed-wetting spending (sorry) on TARP, auto bailouts, etc., the likes of which hadn't been seen before.
The GOP can't rebound by dumping salt-peter in the chow at the C Street condo (home to any number of over-heated Republican sex maniacs). They need to come up with a credible plan to shrink government at every level (including the policing of the country's bedrooms) if they want to get a second look.
Lots of luck on that one, fellas.
Update: In the comments below, prolefeed suggests that I "conveniently" left out other bits from the Pawlenty interview. Not quite, mon ami. I didn't read the interview, relying instead in the Wash Post gloss I quote from (and link to) above. Which may be lazy but is certainly not[*] in bad faith. I did go to the Esquire interview and there's no question that Pawlenty talks a good game on many issues related to the economic issues, especially by calling bullshit on Hank Paulson's version of events surrounding TARP.
I don't know off the bat what sort of numbers that Pawlenty put up as head viking in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but I do think most readers will find his Esquire interview worth reading. Check it out.
[*]: D'oh on top of d'oh. Dropped word in original update.