To politicians, losing is agonizing. I can empathize with the pain of a lifelong dream lost, but I always wonder if a part of them isn’t just a little relieved. After all, losing does give politiicans back the freedom they surrendered when they decided to become a politician, with all of the artificiality and risk averse programming that is baked into that lifestyle.
I sincerely hope Tim Pawlenty is feeling some of that relief after seeing his presidential and vice presidential dreams slip away. Because though he has lost at the hands of McCain and Romney, he has also gained. As Citizen Pawlenty, Tim now will gain back the freedoms most of us take for granted.
THE FREEDOM TO SAY THE WORD “TAX.” As Governor, Pawlenty was strictly forbidden from saying the word “tax” in association with his own policies. To do so, would, I’m guessing, bring the Tax Pledge Police into his office with their anti-tax tasers. But now, Pawlenty no longer has to say “fee,” “revenue enhancer,” or “axtay.” He can say the word the rest of us say, “tax.” And I’m sure after working with the state’s best trauma counselors and speech therapists, he’ll eventually be able to do it.
THE FREEDOM TO ACKNOWLEDGE REALITY. As a presidential candidate, Pawlenty had to reverse his earlier acknowledgment of the reality of climate change. But now that he no longer has to raise oil industry money, he is free to say, “yes, the world’s leading scientists actually do know more about climate science than Michele Bachmann.” Imagine how good that will feel.
THE FREEDOM TO BE UNABASHEDLY MINNESOTAN. As a wannabe national figure who needed to win over southern voters to move up to the next level, Pawlenty tried dropping his g’s, adopting a southern twang, and constantly embarrassing his bride by referring to her as “red-hot smokin.” Now Pawlenty can resume being as mind numbingly dull as we Minnesotans were meant to be.
THE FREEDOM TO PARTY IN THE BACK. Because of his political ambitions, Pawlenty has constantly had to suppress his passion for the mullet hairstyle. Over the years, poor Tim would grow his neck blanket in all its glory, then he would be forced to return to Newt neck when the campaign sirens beckoned. But now, he is free to be himself, and grow a glorious El Camino for all of us to admire.
THE FREEDOM TO NOT SEE POLITICS IN EVERYTHING. In his book, Pawlenty recalls picking up his dog’s poop after being passed over by John McCain for Sarah Palin for the vice presidency in 2008 and thinking “Well, this is the only number two I’ll be picking up today.” But as Citizen Tim, Pawlenty will realize that to non-politicians who are not obsessed with holding public office, poop actually isn’t prophetic. It is not a political sign at all. No, to the rest of us, poop is simply poop. Liberating, isn’t it?
So welcome back, Citizen Pawlenty. We missed you.
Note: This post was also featured as a “best of the best” on MinnPost’s Blog Cabin feature.