The Spectacle Blog

Pawlenty’s Green Past

By on 3.22.11 | 5:43PM

Jim notes that Republicans concerned about environmental policy might give Tim Pawlenty a hard time in the upcoming primary. Politico also aired this view today, suggesting that Pawlenty might not be able to overcome his problems in this area, and quoting Ed Morrissey of HotAir, among others, to that effect. 

The idea that a candidate would be doomed in the primary for past support of a cap-and-trade scheme seems a little off. Would Pawlenty's state-level emissions-reduction efforts hurt him more than John McCain's leadership role in promoting national cap-and-trade did for him 2008? 

Furthermore, post-recession, the environment is not as prominent an issue as it once was, especially relative to other concerns. According to Gallup, only 34 percent of Americans worry "a great deal" about the quality of the environment, making it the second-least pressing concern on a list of 14 issues. On the other hand, health care (with 58 percent worrying a great deal) is near the top of people's concerns. Green issues probably won't be nearly the obstacle for Pawlenty that health care reform would be for Mitt Romney. 

As Jim explains, most people simply don't have strong feelings about Pawlenty one way or another. That apparently includes Republicans worried about environmental policies. While Pawlenty only has 41 percent name recognition among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 0 percent of those who do know who he is have strongly unfavorable opinions of him. 

Either Gallup is missing the conservatives irate over Pawlenty's pro-environmental policies, or those folks are willing to take him at his word that he regards his past cap-and-trade support as a "clunker" and that he's done with environmental regulations. 

That said, this video compiled by Minnesota state representative Joe Atkins isn't going to make Pawlenty look any more attractive to primary voters: 

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