Pawlenty and the Libertarians

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 25 2011 2:20 PM

Pawlenty and the Libertarians

Tim Pawlenty regularly got strong ratings from the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank, which grades governors every year on how adroit they are when it comes to cutting government. It made sense for him to continue his campaign launch week with a speech there; a speech that hit the same notes as everything else on his tour, with added wonkishness. It was in the Q&A section of the event that Pawlenty learned the true joy of answering libertarians.*

Question one: Why the hell does the United States have more than 170 military bases? 

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Advertisement

"I'm not one who's going to stand before you and say we need to cut the defense budget," said Pawlenty, who up to that point had been pounding the table about austerity. Get rid of the bases that sound like wastes of space and you risk American supremacy. "You'd see a massive realignment of the strategic relationship towards China and away from America in Asia," he said. "This is not where we're going to get six months, six years warning about the next conflict. I'm not for shrinking America's presence in the world. I'm for making sure America remains the world leader."

A more dangerous question was next: In the wake of NY-26, what did Pawlenty make of the Ryan plan? This elicited the safe, smart, tapioca answer that Pawlenty's been giving for weeks.

"In general," he said, "I think the direction of it is positive, but I'm going to have my own plan."

Issue, dodged. Pawlenty pointed into the crowd again.

"We'll take the guy in the purple tie," he said. "That's a Vikings color!"

Unfortunately, the wearer of Vikings colors worked for the Marijuana Policy Project, who asked Pawlenty how he could be taken seriously on health care since he had opposed "my group" on medical pot.

"What was it?" asked Pawlenty? "Marijuana? Yeah. Well... I stood with law enforcement issue on this issue... we just have a respectful difference on this issue."

End of audience questions.

*I should note that I was not at the event, having committed to some other interviews, but caught this on Cato's feed.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.