Cato Institute Praises Pawlenty, Disses Daniels
1:59 PM, Jan 13, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who kicks off his national book tour (i.e. the unofficial start of his presidential candidacy) this week, is viewed as a somewhat squishy establishment Republican by some in the media and the conservative movement. That perception may be due in part to the his association with John McCain, his environmentalism, and his "Party of Sam's Club" rhetoric--or maybe he's just too darn nice. Whatever the reason for the perception, the libertarian Cato Institute, which grades the governors on fiscal issues every two years, thinks Pawlenty's record tells a different story. As I note in a short piece in the magazine this week:
Edwards's coolness toward Daniels was actually a little more surprising than his enthusiasm for Pawlenty. Edwards said of Daniels:
"He’s an awfully good manager, very intelligent, very skilled, but I don’t know whether he’s going to go for the jugular if he got elected,” Edwards concluded.
Pawlenty's grades from Cato were slightly better than Daniels's during the years that both were in office. Here are the reports for 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004 in that order (click on any year to read the full report):
The two earned their low marks during the years when they agreed to tax hikes. But the fiscal records of both Daniels and Pawlenty compare favorably to other potential 2012 candidates who were governors during that same period:
Huckabee, the only aforementioned governor who was graded by Cato in previous years, got a "B" in 1998, a "C" in 2000, and a "C" in 2002. Cato doesn't score the governor of Alaska because of peculiarities of the state budget.
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