Tim Pawlenty is engaging in that time honored tradition of a GOP presidential candidate.   No, I don’t mean just hitting the cable news circuit, writing a book nobody will remember two years from now, and hitting the rubber chicken dinner circuit.   I mean the rite of passage in which reasonable and otherwise moderate Republicans self-flog themselves over the reasonable and moderate positions they held before running.

Pawlenty has already tried to explain his past public support for cap-and-trade, something even U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) at one time publicly supported.  And by explain, I mean tell conservatives he was hit on the head and barely conscious at the time:

"I’ve said, ‘Look, I’ve made a mistake,’" explained Pawlenty of his position shift, according to Politico. "I think cap-and-trade would be a ham-fisted, unhelpful, damaging thing to the economy. … It’s misguided. I made the mistake. I admit it. I’m not trying to be cute about it. I just come out and tell you it was a mistake."

Like their Pennsylvania cousin, the Republican conservative pander bear emerges from its hole in the ground every four years in hopes to see its shadow across the nation, meaning it will be the dark horse candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination.

In the Columbus Dispatch, Joe Hallett reports that Gov. Pawlenty spoke at the Cuyahoga County Republican dinner last night and had this to say about SB 5:

"The Ohio Republican Party and Gov. Kasich and the legislators who supported this bill are having the courage to tell the truth about a real problem that’s taken down the budgets of government at the state level," Pawlenty said. "It’s not always going to be easy, it’s not always going to be popular, but it’s the right thing to do. … They’re trying to fix a real problem instead of ducking, bobbing and weaving."

Pawlenty, who is the only top-tier GOP presidential candidate to create an official exploratory committee, was the keynote speaker at the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner at the InterContinental Hotel.

Top-tier?  I’ll let the latest Gallup Poll take this one:

Support for Potential Republican Candidates for President in 2012, Among Republicans and Republican Leaners, Trend, September 2010-March 2011

If Pawlenty is “top-tier,” what does that make Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul who’s kicking his ass?

Nothing says to me “winning presidential strategy” like booking your candidate in one of the biggest, pro-union counties in Ohio and having him endorse anti-union legislation that a majority of Ohioans polled can’t want to repeal at the ballot box and was introduced by a Republican who has a 30% approval rating during the “honeymoon” period of his term.

Pawlenty was Governor for eight years.  As far as I know, he never did anything like SB 5.  So, if what he said was nothing more than a complete pander to the Republicans in the audience, isn’t Pawlenty admitting to a major character flaw of his candidacy?  I mean, if he isn’t just totally pandered to the base, isn’t he implicitly admitting that he lacked the courage as Governor for eight-years to take on the public unions in his State?

And if he can’t stand up to them commie unions, then how can we trust he’ll stand up to all them Al Qaeda terrorists crossing the Mexican border coming into the United States to get welfare and impose Sharia law on us?

Yeah, I bet Pawlenty is going to need to retool this one.

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