It’s been a little more than a week since Tim Pawlenty announced the formation of a Presidential exploratory committee. But Pawlenty’s criticism of President Obama looks anything but “exploratory,” as T-Paw took shots at the White House’s initial response to unrest in Syria, and then flexed his economic muscle by warning that the U.S. is in danger of a double-dip recession.

Pawlenty on the infusion of money into the economy:

“It may look like there is temporary improvement because they have artificially infused the economy with government money, but the consequences of that will, as sure as we’re sitting here, will rear its head,” he said.

A double barrel of foreign policy and economy right to the chin of the Obama Administration.

I’d call that the start of a campaign message.

Friday Judge Maryann Sumi placed a temporary restraining order on the implementation of Wisconsin’s new law regulating public sector employees. However, Judge Sumi’s neutrality is rather questionable. From Red State:

This is a problem. Judge Maryann Sumi should have recused herself entirely from the Wisconsin battle due to her inability to be neutral in this case. You see, Maryann Sumi has a clear conflict of interest. Her son is a political operative who also happens to be a former lead field manager with the AFL-CIO and data manager for the SEIU State Council. Both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO have members who are public-sector employees in Wisconsin. In fact, as a federation, the AFL-CIO can boast of several member-unions that represent public-sector employees. Maryann Sumi is hardly an unbiased judge in the matter.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has refused to run this op-ed from Governor Scott Walker, explaining his position, which is something the mainstream media refuses to do. Here is part of the Governor’s response to his critics:
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NATO State

From Mark Smith. HT: Legal Insurrection.

338th Field Artillery Battalion Insignia

338th Field Artillery Battalion Insignia

My Dad served in the 338th Field Artillery Battalion, in the 5th Army, under General Mark Clark in Italy in WWII.

He entered the War in 1943, came through North Africa, went to Sicily, then on to Italy. His outfit participated in the entire Italian Campaign, culminating in the crossing of the Po River in Northern Italy, about 30 miles or so from the Swiss border.

My wife and I took a ride down to Washington DC in October 2004 with her parents to see the World War II and Korean memorials, because her Dad was a veteran of the Pacific theater (Navy), and then served again in Korea. While I was there walking around the WW II Memorial, there was a section devoted to the “Po River Campaign.” I didn’t realize that it was such a major theater.
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Here’s an interesting take on Rudy’s 2008 New Hampshire campaign, or lack thereof.

Politico’s lead piece this morning is worth a gander:

Mitt Romney is sketching a path to the GOP nomination that looks nothing like the one blazed by Republicans before him.

Romney’s plan, by necessity, more closely resembles the outline of the epic 2008 Democratic presidential primary than the GOP’s recent victory-by-early-knockout design.

With glaring weaknesses in two of the traditional early states, an increased number of contests allocating delegates on a proportional basis and a capacity, thanks to his own deep pockets and a growing stable of donors, to raise significant cash, Romney’s second White House bid relies on outlasting the competition.

Read the rest.

The Tea Party has their candidate. CNN is reporting that Michelle Backmann is in the race.

CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time.

But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates. . . .

Meanwhile, CNN has also learned that Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson has been hired to be Bachmann’s political director for the state – and that Bachmann aides hope to have a complete team together for Iowa by this weekend.

Sorenson is a prominent Tea Party figure in Iowa and holds sway with evangelicals in the state.

Larry J. Sabato Professor of Politics, University of Virginia, had this to say on Politico:

Even Ron Paul doesn’t actually believe he’s going to be the GOP nominee for president in 2012. But Rand Paul? Interesting. Many Republicans sense a lack of enthusiasm for the field of candidates that has emerged thus far. It’s one reason why fireworks explode high in the sky every time Chris Christie clears his throat.

Every now and then, a new, relatively inexperienced officeholder throws caution to the wind and runs for the White House. Barack Obama won, but most have lost. One of the few mistakes Ronald Reagan ever made was giving in to the pleas of supporters and getting into the 1968 GOP presidential mix after less than two years as California governor. He never had a chance. The same for Reagan’s successor, Jerry Brown, when he took on Jimmy Carter in 1976 as a brand new governor.

Rand Paul would shake up the Republican race. Presumably, he would consolidate the tea party forces — but he’d have to keep people like Michele Bachmann out in order to do it. Like Reagan and Brown, Paul would be unlikely to get nominated or, given his unconventional views, to win a general election if somehow he emerged as the nominee.

But Rand Paul would be a stick of dynamite in a terribly placid GOP pond. He might make the other candidates better. And hey, it would be fun to watch for the rest of us.

Over at the National Review Online, Mitt Romney has pledged:

If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.

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Politico has an interesting piece up on Pawlenty’s very green past. Where does this rank among the “issue baggage” of the 2012 horses?

What are our actual goals there? Why are we allowing other nations to take the lead?

A few weeks ago, President Obama said that Gadhafi must step down. Now, just before the action commenced, he amended that to something along the lines of “We must protect the civilians of Libya.” In so doing, he has undercut the earlier position of his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was originally in the regime change camp.

So, which is it? Regime change or humanitarian protection? The two are very different. Both are laudable, worthy goals, but don’t you have to pick one? And isn’t it just a bit questionable when the President of the United States can’t stick to a tougher, higher standard (regime change of a terrorist who orchestrated the murder of 200+ Americans) and instead defaults to the softer, squishier level of simply “humanitarian protection”?
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Update: Pawlenty has indeed announced he is forming his “Presidential Exploratory Committee”, which is code for: “Yeah, I’m in. Book it.”

Tim Pawlenty has announced that at 3:00 pm on his Facebook page, he will be delivering a “special message”.

Will he be the first to officially declare for the race? If so, how quickly do the dominoes fall? Which other candidates will quickly jump in to keep T-Paw from capturing all the headlines?

It’s been some time since we’ve discussed Rudy version 2.012. Give this Politico piece a gander and return with your own take on whether he actually runs and whether he has a prayer.

For the guy that ran on the evils of the war in Iraq and closing Gitmo, he does not seem to shy away from war. Afghanistan continues on as if we are at war with Eastasia and now we’re firing missiles into Libya. How long did it take to move from “enforcing a no fly zone” to firing missiles at a “compound [that] was targeted because it contains capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces”? Yet U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney says, “we are not going after Gadhafi”. Though if he “happens” to be killed, I doubt you will hear complaints.

Apparently we are only going after his compound, and we are not actually engaging in acts of war. We are also fighting the “real” war in Afghanistan, though it never ends, and closing Gitmo. When does this all blow up in our faces? How many wars are we going to enter? What if there is another uprising that becomes violent? Where does it end?

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Am I the only one who simply cannot understand why Obama’s NCAA bracket is newsworthy? Fine, you show it once as he fills it out. He’s a basketball president, we get it. But him losing one if his Final Four teams is newsworthy?

I’m not one who gets hung up on the “lamestream media” bias, but I can’t help but think if he were a Republican during this time of incredible global turmoil, the thought gangsters the NYT, WP, Huffington Post and Slate would be eating him alive.

Obama

Among the first lessons a young baseball player learns is the importance of getting on base. As his skills improve he learns the various methods for accomplishing that task. One of those ways is to get hit by a pitch. It’s an effective, albeit painful way to reach base. That’s why a hit-by-pitch is called “taking one for the team.” 

Newt Gingrich must’ve played a little ball in his day, mastering the art of getting on base and carrying that proficiency into adulthood. During his political career Newt has done everything necessary to put America first, and he’s definitely reached base. Read more

Obama finished his bracket, have you? What’s your excuse? Fighting two wars? Saving or creating jobs? Join the fun with your very own politicalderby.com inspired bracket competition. Go here. The group: politicalderby.com. You need a password: changing hopes. Have fun, and check in with the President for pointers.

This National Journal piece, For Obama, Virginia Is the Next Ohio, is well-worth a read.

Eric Holder is the Attorney General of the United States. His role is to uphold the law. However, he seems to prefer spending his time supporting his racially-driven politics. Earlier in his reign, he dismissed the case of the black panthers who were clearly intimidating voters, despite a default judgment due to the defendants not showing up.

Now Holder has required the Dayton, Ohio Police Department to lower its testing standards due to “not enough African-Americans pass[ing] the exam”.

Holder is essentially saying that Black Americans are not smart enough to pass the test so it should be made easier for them to qualify. This is one of the most racist actions I have seen in recent years.

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An old proverb regards truth as the first casualty of war. Logically, for truth to become war’s casualty it must be present to begin with. War is then a level above politics, at least in the way Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) practices the craft. 

It’s no surprise to find Democrats spinning the standoff between Wisconsin’s Senate Republicans and public employee unionists. But Rep. Israel’s spin is so unbelievable that he has abused even the politician’s privilege of dancing around the truth. He sounds like a cheating child who’s tossing a tantrum because his playmates won’t play fair.  Read more