Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was a keynote speaker at this evening’s gathering of Iowa College Republicans in Des Moines. The event opened with a College Republican’s joke about Al Gore, Bill Clinton & Barack Obama winding up at heaven’s door on the same day — the punch-line of which was Obama, saying to God, “I believe, sir, that you’re in my chair.”
Pawlenty, once he started speaking, quickly connected with the crowd with references to Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga.
The moment Pawlenty uttered Charlie Sheen’s name the giggling began. “Now, we may not in this room have ‘tiger blood’ like he does,” Pawlenty began and the crowd laughed. “But we do have something else in common with him. There’s going to be a lot of winning on the Republican side in 2012.” The crowd clapped; a few cheered.
A few moments later, as Pawlenty told the College Republicans Obama had “duped” their generation in the 2008 election, Pawlenty made a cultural reference to another entertainer with whom the crowd is quite familiar. “What the younger voters have figured out this is really a broken relationship. He made soaring promises, set grand expectations. He’s broken those promises. He’s failed to fulfill the expectations. If this was a Lady Gaga song, the relationship between the youth vote and Barack Obama would be ‘Bad Romance,’” Pawlenty said, as the crowd began to react, a bit more slowly than they had at the Sheen reference. “You know what I’m talking about.” The crowd applauded.
Listen to the entire speech: TPawCollegeRs
Toward the end of his speech, Pawlenty offered a brief critique of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. “We’ve got a president now who has projected uncertainty, delay, equivocation and, in my view, very misguided and confused and incoherent national defense and foreign policy on behalf of this great country,” Pawlenty said.
After the speech, I asked Pawlenty for specific examples of what he considers Obama’s “misguided” foreign policy and Kathie Obradovich of The Des Moines Register followed up by asking what the “Pawlenty Doctrine” might be. Listen: TPawforeignPolicy
Pawlenty, in answer to my question, cited as examples the way the U.S. handled the crisis in Egypt and the Obama Administration’s decision to junk the anti-missile defense systems planned for Poland and the Czech Republic. “Those are just examples of, I think, an incoherent, uncertain, inexperienced hand on the throttle of our foreign policy,” Pawlenty said. “And it’s not only misguided, it’s dangerous.”
As for the Pawlenty Doctrine, “in general, we need to commit our military only in those circumstances where our vital interests or our security interests are at stake and that there’s a clear plan and that we’re willing to see the plan through to success. And the rule has to be when the United States goes to war, the United States wins and this idea that we’re going to have unclear goals and subordinate our options to the United Nations and the Arab League is preposterous.”