In a bold address to CPAC, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty drives home a simple idea about President Barack Obama: he's kind of like the Bizarro President.
He tries to create jobs by taxing job creators. He tries to reduce the deficit by spending billions on his personal pet projects. The media compares him to Ronald Reagan when, in reality, he's been anything but.
Pawlenty expresses his deep concern that the United States is losing its edge. He notes that Americans believe that China will soon become the dominant country in the world. This is something Pawlenty says he is not willing to accept. His view of America is that of a coutnry that leads the world.
Pawlenty traces the flagging of American confidence to his experience growing up in Minnesota during the 1960s, when he watched his hometown shut down around him as stockyards and meat packing plants were closed. As jobs fled south St Paul, Pawlenty watched the struggles of his neighbours in the face of an uncertain future.
Pawlenty reminds us that the struggles of Canada's southern neighbour aren't really anything new. The early signs of it emerged in the 1960s, and continued to grow for the next 50 years, while Democrats and Republicans alike failed -- sometimes out of impotence, at others out of negligence -- to turn the tide against the decline.
Pawlenty holds Minnesota up as an example for the rest of the US to follow. If Minnesota, who has produced such political "luminaries" as Al Franken, can reduce the size of its government, it can be done anywhere.
It wasn't easy. Pawlenty had to face down a government shutdown and a long public transit strike and turnback a perpetually-growing government budget.
Minnesota Democrats had no sense of the need to shrink the size of the Minnesota state government. Likewise, federal Democrats seem to have no sense of the need to do the same with the federal government. Instead, they're growing the size of government. As so often, they have it precisely backward.
Last, but not least, Tim Pawlenty knows the way for the United States to dig its way out of its troubles: hard work. Nothing more, nothing less.
It's an awful lot more intuitive than what the Democrats are offering. They aren't even on the same planet as the solution to America's problems.