It appears from a recent blog by Jo Loveland (http://thesamerowdycrowd.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-beginning-of-the-end-for-pawlenty/) that on November 14, 2006, Pawlenty was effusive in his praise of Romney declaring he is an unbelievably bright and nimble and gifted public policy leader. He went on to endorse mandated universal health care coverage by declaring: In Minnesota, as to the access issues, I believe we should move toward universal coverage. Everybody should be in a health plan of some sort. How we get there becomes important. I think a mandate by itself is potentially helpful, but it’s not the answer by itself. Pawlenty seems to be suggesting that we should go beyond mandated coverage. Loveland also wrote that this tape was likely making the rounds into Iowa and, hence, available to both Romney and Michele Bachmann.
This again has Pawlenty tripping over his past. On Sunday, during his FOX appearance, he felt comfortable going against Romney and linking his health care plan to Obama’s. I suspect he thought the 2006 comments would not come to the public’s attention. After all, that position had been expressed more than four years ago and well before the national emergence of the Tea Party movement. He also was probably not aware that Minnesota blogger, Andy Aplikowski, had a tape recording of his 2006 sentiments about Romney.
Had Pawlenty launched his attack on Romney’s healthcare plan, it is possible that Bachmann would have retaliated with an instant right that would have put Pawlenty on the canvas and, possibly, out for the full count.
Bachmann’s candidacy now prevents Pawlenty from being able to gloss over his Minnesota record and his numerous position changes including global warning, cap and trade, gay rights, deficits, light rail, and mandatory health care, etc.
By trying to be acceptable to all groups within this right-wing coalition, Pawlenty may be finding his tendency toward philosophical flexibility a serious, if not fatal, hindrance.