Pawlenty’s Honest-yet-Ridiculous Debt Plan

Give the candidate some credit. While even Rand Paul is saying, hypothetically, Treasury could shuffle around money to pay Social Security, Tim Pawlenty reiterates his opposition to the debt limit increase and admits that would put foreign debt payment ahead of everything.

Pawlenty said he doesn’t believe the U.S. will default on its obligations. If the country does exhaust its borrowing authority, he said he would favor reimbursing foreign creditors before sending military personnel or Social Security recipients their checks.

“Of course the outside creditors” should be paid first, followed by the military, he said.

That’s honest! But at the same time, according to my colleague Jacob Weisberg, Pawlenty said that some experts doubted that default would be so bad and compared the impact of a debt obligation reshuffle to the just-concluding government shutdown in Minnesota.

What’s the strategy in this? Pawlenty’s in single digits in national and state polls. The percentage of Republican voters who want some kind of debt deal is higher than the percentage of support for Pawlenty. Why not go after that vote instead of going for the “default’s a-ok” vote, currently julienned by Bachmann, Paul, and everyone else? You don’t think Pawlenty actually believes this?