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Minnesota Opinion: On Pawlenty's future

An excerpt from recent editorials in Minnesota newspapers.

By The Associated Press

On Pawlenty's future:

As if Minnesotans have not been subjected to enough fallout from partisan politics of late, we cringe at what's to come as Gov. Tim Pawlenty ramps up his national profile.

His latest move came when Alex Conant, who advises politicians at the national level, said Pawlenty plans to launch "Freedom First," a political action committee focused on raising funds for Republican candidates.

Of course, political insiders of all stripes know that such a committee is yet another crucial step toward a politician ultimately making a presidential run. Sure, it may not be used to fund Pawlenty's own political ambitions, but it certainly creates a network he can tap at a later date.

The PAC formation also comes after a summer in which Pawlenty routinely visited other states to campaign for fellow governors and to reach out to an array of influential Republican groups, often with stinging speeches. Notably, those were never about unallotment, education funding reform or even Minnesota's health care system. They were all about attacking President Obama and/or railing on any issue so that he fans GOP flames while antagonizing Democrats.

Great. Welcome to Needless National Politics 101.

The real tragedy for Minnesotans, though, is that regardless of what all this does for Pawlenty's personal agenda, it sets up state government to fail -- realistically for the rest of his term.

Think about it. The actions and attitudes of Pawlenty and his DFL rivals in St. Paul have long been dysfunctional. The result for all Minnesotans is a particularly ugly mix of pass-the-buck and bring-down-your-rival governance.

Yet when Pawlenty and legislators gather for the 2010 session, they could be facing another multi-billion-dollar budget problem -- something they've regularly proven incapable of working together to solve.

Throw in Pawlenty's presidential ambitions and several DFL leaders running for governor or other high offices and, as we said, we cringe at what Minnesotans might experience.

Does that mean Pawlenty should resign his office? Or that legislators seeking his chair should, too?

No. It just means Minnesotans are going to get a front-row seat in observing what happens when politicians put their personal ambitions well ahead of the needs the constituents who elected them to serve.

Sure, that's not a new revelation. But it's going to be an ugly one in 2010.

-- St. Cloud Times