Tim Pawlenty and the Debt Limit; or, the Difference Between a GOP Primary and Reality

Greg Sargent had the bright idea to call up the Financial Services Roundtable, now run by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and ask what they wanted Congress to do about the debt limit.

“We are in favor of raising it, and we will be encouraging policy makers to increase it,” Scott Talbott, the senior vice president for public policy for the Financial Services Roundtable, told me today. He added that the group was gearing up to communicate the demand for action to Congress, an effort that could include sending letters to every member. “We will communicate with the entire Congress,” he said.

Flash back now to the summer of 2011, when Pawlenty was running for president.

At a Bloomberg lunch with reporters, Pawlenty compared the debt standoff to his time as governor of Minnesota, in which he shut down the government when negotiations with the Democratic legislature broke down. Asked whether he would be willing to “blow it up” in the debt negotiations with Congress and risk a default, he said “I did blow it up, in Minnesota.”

TPM asked Pawlenty whether Republicans should raise the debt ceiling if their only two options are default or a deal that includes higher taxes. He replied that the party cannot and will not offer any concessions on revenue and that America may need a “dramatic moment” to effect the “quantum change” the country needs.

There’s a lot of talk about the difference between fiscal realism – the stuff the business community wants from Republicans – and the fiscal fantasy that the base demands. Rarely do you get such a crystalline example.