We don't deviate from sports very often around here. It's usually an important story when it does happen.
This qualifies, at least for the Minnesota portion of our readership (all three of you). Two-term Governor Tim Pawlenty has decided not to run for a third term.
(Insert "He's done paw-lenty around here" joke here. Ha ha.)
2012 and a potential presidential run is a long way away, and I really don't care about that. The point isn't to speculate about Pawlenty's political future. Instead, where the hell is Minnesota going to move from here?
Pawlenty has been a lot of things to a lot of people, and while you may not agree with some of his decisions (I know I don't), it's hard to argue that he has been a strong leader in a time where so many leaders are weak-minded individuals.
(Voters, too, are weak-minded. I applaud Pawlenty for imposing his own term limit, because we've learned many times over the years that the voters are too stupid to limit the terms of annoying, snake-oil-selling career politicians.)
That strength has sometimes led to an annoying stubbornness. Pawlenty has refused to allow any taxes to be raised, leaving the state in need of massive budget cuts to rid itself of a large projected deficit. He's been consistent with this stance for his two terms in office, and something tells me he won't waver before he finally does walk.
His strong leadership (or "stubbornness", if you prefer) has led to much in-fighting with the Democrat-controlled Legislature over taxes and government spending. I'm not a fan of big government, and I fear where this state could have gone if he hadn't put the lid on taxes. Instead, Minnesota government has come under much more control than it had before.
The fighting we've been seeing between the two sides makes it clear what Minnesota needs in the governor's mansion next.
If the DFL gets their way, and their candidate of choice is elected in November of 2010, the state will move back toward higher taxes and more government spending, things we don't need. However, the election of another conservative would cause just as much, if not more, fighting.
That's not what this state needs. Minnesota needs a strong moderate governor who will hold the line on spending, compromise when necessary to get important things done, not play the blame game (an incredibly frustrating trait of Pawlenty's), and who won't have the look of someone who wants higher office soon.
Pawlenty generally did a good job, and I salute him for his efforts. It's not an easy job, and he tackled it with energy, zeal, and strong leadership. I also tip my cap to him for stepping away, no matter the actual motivation for that decision.