Political Animal


June 25, 2011 10:05 AM Pat and Pawlenty

By Steve Benen

There’s still a sizable contingent of religious right activists in the Republican Party base, especially in Iowa, and Tim Pawlenty wants to impress them. That includes, apparently, making stops at the studios of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

GOP Presidential Candidate Tim Pawlenty appeared live on “The 700 Club” today with Pat Robertson.

Can he resonate with evangelicals? He talks about how his wife Mary “led him to the Lord.”

The former governor, talking about his wife’s religiosity, emphasized to Robertson, “She believes what we believe,” suggesting that as far as Pawlenty is concerned, he and Robertson are on the same page.

That’s a problem.

As best as I can tell, Pawlenty’s appearance on “The 700 Club” generated almost no attention at all from the political world, but perhaps some enterprising campaign reporter can ask the presidential candidate if he had any qualms about palling around with a hateful TV preacher who blamed 9/11 on Americans.

Indeed, Robertson is one of the most hateful people in American public life. So why is Pawlenty palling around with him?

There is no one comparable on the left for Robertson-style radicalism, but if there were, and a Democratic presidential candidate was cozying up to him, wouldn’t that be a news story?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • FRP on June 25, 2011 10:24 AM:

    By calling out the hypocrisy of such luminary characters as those who are apparently given grace by some power to castigate afflicted innocents while in the comfort of an insulated studio , to the point of clinical senselessness , will have the effect of bringing the faithfully blind to the view that evil never rests . It will be a comfort to all future Gbagbo's forever and ever , Amen .

  • JW on June 25, 2011 10:24 AM:

    Lest We Forget: People Magazine March, 1988

    "The newly minted officers aboard the U.S.S. Breckinridge didn't know whether to take the affable young marine seriously or not. It was January 1951, and they were on their way to the fighting in Korea. In the ship's wardroom, 20-year-old Marion G. "Pat" Robertson, a second lieutenant straight out of officer's training at Quantico, Va., was telling them that his father, A. Willis Robertson, was a U.S. Senator from Virginia and that he was going to have Pat reassigned. Sure enough, when the First Marine Division docked in Kobe, Japan, Robertson, his college buddy Edwin Gaines and four other young officers were taken off the ship and detailed to OtsuÑostensibly to train soldiers coming off the front lines.

    Such, at least, is the recollection of Paul "Pete" McCloskey, a former seven-term Republican Congressman from Northern California who was one of the young marines on the Breckinridge. "The most distinct memory I have of all this," says McCloskey, 60, "is Pat standing on the dock at Kobe with this big grin on his face, saying, 'So long, you guysÑgood luck.' " That memory was vividly revived years later when Robertson, by then a well-known TV evangelist, began making public reference to being a combat veteran. Says McCloskey, a decorated Marine officer who was wounded in action in Korea, "I don't condemn Robertson for what he did 37 years ago, but I sure as hell don't like him lying about it now..."

  • revchicoucc on June 25, 2011 10:26 AM:

    "So why is Pawlenty palling around with him?"

    Because he has a large and loyal television audience, probably more loyal than large.

    Liberal and progressive Christians, indeed, have no one comparable, partly because it costs too much money, partly because the theological and political nuance found in lib and prog Christianity, and partly because the hateful demogoguery of people like Robertson disgusts us.

  • FRP on June 25, 2011 10:30 AM:

    Fake men of a fake religiosity having fake memories of fake combat . Why do I feel fake sympathy ? Cuz I am only huumaan .

  • Prup (aka Jim Benton) on June 25, 2011 10:30 AM:

    C'mon Steve. If candidates can appear with Bryan Fischer, or Bradlee Dean -- and if Rick Perry can appear at the Dominionist-dominated The Response -- without the sane people being up in arms, how do you expect them to be upset about the (relatively) benign (because of senile irrelevance) Pat Robertson? Ten years ago Robertson probably was 'one of the most hateful' but with the emergence of Fischer, Dean, Hagee, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Ken Blackwell, Janet Folger Porter, Maggie Gallagher, and others, today Robertson would find it hard to get 'grandfathered' into the top 64 and would hardly, at his worst, have a shot at the Sour Sixteen.

    I do agree that we should be protesting at candidates appearing with hate mongers, but start with the dangerous ones, and only then go to the toothless hyena dreaming of better days and uglier kills.

  • walt on June 25, 2011 10:35 AM:

    Beyond all the garden-variety hypocrisy on the American right, what this shows is that it's still okay to hate America for being tolerant, cosmopolitan, open, and diverse. On the other hand, it's not okay to hate America for being racist, imperialistic, or plutocratic. One preacher, Robertson, will always get a pass. Another, Jeremiah Wright, will be pilloried relentlessly.

    Obviously there are more than two kinds of Christians in this nation but the gap in public respect between these two ought to remind us how hideous our stated ideals can be when contrasted with their flagrant abuse by "patriots".

  • c u n d gulag on June 25, 2011 10:37 AM:

    Did 'Pawlenty of Pandering' try to impress him with his ability to leg-press thousands of pounds, just like Ol' Rev Pat?

    And echoing some of what other have said above, Robertson's now a middle of the road hateful asshole.

    Either he's mellowed, or the newbies are outcrazying him.

    My money's on the latter.

  • jim filyaw on June 25, 2011 10:42 AM:

    what's next? a meeting with the texas tub of lard, john hagee? while he's making his grand tour, he might want to consider stopping off in witchita and saying hello to fred phelps.

    pawlenty is the first republican who could make dan quayle seem brainy.

  • Okie on June 25, 2011 10:49 AM:

    I agree that "there is no one comparable on the left for Robertson-style radicalism."

    But let's not forget the fuss that the Right made over Obama's pastor.

  • Daddy Love on June 25, 2011 10:52 AM:

    Pat's got money; T-Paw's got no principles. A match made in GOP heaven.

  • slappy magoo on June 25, 2011 11:10 AM:

    There doesn't need to be a comparable controversial figure on the left, the right picks people, sometimes seemingly at random, and tells their base that person IS a dangerous controversial figure. Then the right threatens to kill him, sometimes they succeed, and the right claims this wouldn't have happened were the left not so divisive and shrill.

  • jcricket on June 25, 2011 12:53 PM:

    Sucking up to Pat Robertson is the kiss of death with all sane people. He's yesterday's flame thrower.

    Yeah, I know. We're talking about the R's.

    Even so, if Pawlenty can't get anyone more current than Pat to raise his profile, then the best he can hope for is to be a VP pick.

  • gocart mozart on June 25, 2011 1:41 PM:

    Pat did effectively say that "God damned America" shortly after 9/11. Shame he is not liberal and black otherwise there would be repercussions for something like that.

  • Forrest X Leeson on June 25, 2011 5:29 PM:

    The "media" could go after Jeremiah Wright freely because in context what he said was basically reasonable, and so they could issue a correction if there was negative reaction to their coverage. When there's no escape to the facts in the event of blowback it's tactically unwise to attack.

  • bluestatedon on June 27, 2011 7:45 AM:

    Tiny Tim Pawlenty has always been a complete fraud, and his pathetic pandering to right-wing stooges in his futile quest for Iowa Christianist votes simply makes it obvious. He never had a real chance to get the nomination, and the fact that his numbers in Iowa haven't budged a smidgen even after all his asskissing is testament to that.