"But Pawlenty has always advocated fiscal responsibility, even when Republicans in Washington were faltering on that issue. When Pawlenty was first elected governor in 2002, Minnesota faced a $4.5 billion deficit. He helped turn that into a $2.2 billion surplus without raising taxes.
But the fiscal conservative is also a bit of a populist, so he might not fit any of the Sunday talk-show molds being espoused for the GOP. Pawlenty has urged Republicans to reach out, become "the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club." This son of a truck driver is comfortable pushing education reform, a clean environment, and energy independence. To lower health-care costs, he backed the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, even though the Bush White House insisted the drugs couldn't be proved safe. Pawlenty famously replied, "Show me the dead Canadians."
And now, amid the worst fiscal crisis in decades, Pawlenty again rejects business as usual. Instead, he will try to do the responsible thing that governors and lawmakers from Trenton to Harrisburg to Sacramento have deemed impossible: cut the budget - not just reduce the growth of spending - without raising taxes.
It may seem radical to some, but Pawlenty is merely applying the same budgeting principle to government that families use every day: If there's less income, you cut spending. The focus is on what you have to have, rather than what's nice to have, as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney put it in his endorsement last week of Christopher J. Christie, the front-runner in the GOP primary for New Jersey governor."
FYI: the Republicans have a far better approach for healthcare reform "Patients Choice Act" than the dubious, one size fits no one, proposed by the Obama administration.