pawlenty-states-rights.jpgToday I’m taking a break from covering the silliness of wannabee Republicans like Max "Big Bucks" Baucus (besides, Emptywheel’s got the patent on that topic) to discuss the breathtaking nerve of an actual Republican:  Minnesota’s absentee governor, Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty.

Roundabout the time that potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced she was bailing out early from her job as Alaska’s governor, and around the time that Hairy Palmetto Stater Mark Sanford blew up his 2012 chances by bailing temporarily from his governor job to "hike the Appalachian Trail", Pawlenty — whose last appearance on the national radar screen was as the guy Palin beat out for the dubious honor of being John McCain’s running mate last year — announced that he would not run for re-election next year, thus showing his intent to concentrate full-time on wooing the Addison-Wilson neo-Confederate faction whose backing he’ll need to make his own 2012 dreams come true.

Pawlenty’s been hitting the rubber-chicken circuit with a vengeance, spending lots of time lately cuddling up to such morally-challenged humans as Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, and spewing nonsense about the British health care system on his rare visits home. But my all-time favorite Pawlenty pander to his party’s extreme right wing may well be this particular dogwhistle to the Stainless Banner’s wavers: 

On a Thursday night Republican Governors Association conference call with conservative activists, moderated by Erick Erickson of RedState, Gov. Tim Pawlenty broached the possibility of “asserting the 10th Amendment” to keep Minnesota from fully participating in a health care plan passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

As Minnesota Public Radio’s Tom Scheck notes, this is the sort of language commonly used by "states rights" advocates.   What he chooses not to notice is that "states rights" is itself a code-word term for resistance to black advances, and is clearly understood as such by white Southern voters as well as opponents of civil rights nationwide.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Minnesota branch of the Democrats, points out that Pawlenty’s plan to go Jeff Davis on Obama would be rather bad for Minnesota’s veterans:

“It’s sickening to think that Governor Pawlenty would even entertain the thought of using the Constitution to prevent health-insurance reform, and even scarier to think of what that would mean for Minnesota’s veterans who depend on the quality care they receive from the VA.

“As Veterans, we have served the United States , fought to protect the values laid out in the Constitution. As veterans, we know the good that will come with a public option in the health-insurance system because we’ve been successfully receiving quality health care from the VA for years. And as veterans, we cannot sit back and watch as Governor Pawlenty considers such a dangerous and offensive course of action."

But hey, why should Smilin’ Tim care about Minnesota?  He’s outta here in 2010 anyways.