I started Tim Pawlenty’s Courage to Stand. Tim Pawlenty was the Republican Governor of Minnesota from 2003-2011, as well as a Republican candidate for President in 2011.
In my latest reading, I particularly enjoyed Pawlenty’s stories about growing up as a child in the 1960’s: about his work and play; about his mother, his blue-collar father, and his grandmother, all of whom spent time with him; about how he regularly walked home from school for lunch; and about how he looks back fondly at the times when he listened to the adults’ conversations.
I also liked Pawlenty’s stories about his interactions with his gubernatorial predecessor, former wrestler Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty says that he defused a confrontation with Ventura when Ventura came after him back when Pawlenty was the House Majority Leader. Pawlenty had said that Ventura was leaving “the taxpayers behind enemy lines” by increasing state taxes, and that enraged Ventura, a former Navy man. But Pawlenty apologized to Ventura, and Ventura accepted the apology. Pawlenty says on pages 4-5: “The hockey player and wrestling fan in me would have taken some pride in surviving a Jesse Ventura smackdown. But the apology felt better…Sometimes an apology is itself a sign of strength.”
When Pawlenty was elected Governor and asked Ventura if he had any advice for him, Ventura replied “nope”. Pawlenty says: “He didn’t try to tell me what to do, and I respected that, and his team turned out to be very helpful during the transition.”
In terms of public policy, Pawlenty says that he accomplished conservative things in a liberal state, a state that spawned Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, and Al Franken. He’ll probably elaborate on that later in the book. Pawlenty presents himself as one who was for balanced budgets without raising taxes, noting that Minnesotans already had a high tax burden. On page xi, he criticizes “Spending our way out of debt” and asks, “Does that really make sense?” I think that it does, if it is done right. If people are not spending money, and somebody needs to spend money for the economy to be stimulated, then why can’t the government be the spender?