Tim Pawlenty, the man who many think will pick up the frontrunner baton in the 2012 Republican presidential nomination fight should Mitt Romney drop it, took to the airwaves yesterday to follow the lead of another high profile presidential contender: Sarah Palin.
On Fox News last night, Pawlenty deftly took up Palin’s almost completely fact-free attack on the waivers from the new health care reform law that some businesses providing low-payout plans have received since the law passed. The Obama administration has exempted these less than ideal health care plans from new regulations, fearful that low-income employees will lose what little coverage they have before the exchanges open in three years.
Pawlenty, like Palin and a good part of the conservative blogosphere yesterday, called the practice of granting waivers “crony politics.”
Pawlenty was picking up a meme first started by the Daily Caller yesterday with a report indicating that House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s district was receiving an inordinate number of the waivers, which are typically granted to employers who offer low wages.
Pelosi’s office didn’t respond to the Daily Caller, but the story was thoroughly debunked by Mother Jones’ Suzy Khimm, among others. The White House put out its own statement noting the waivers will not continue past 2014, and describing the process by which they’re granted.
The right has been after these waivers for a while — claiming they show a basic corruption by the White House when it comes to its signature legislative achievement — and it’s little surprise that Obama opponents latched onto the Daily Caller story after it was published.
“Unflippingbelievable! No, wait, it is believable,” Palin told the Daily Caller. “Seriously, this is corrupt.”
Pawlenty picked up the meme and took it from the Palin fringe right into the Republican mainstream.
“Another example of really crony politics, or crony capitalism,” Pawlenty told Sean Hannity Tuesday. “if you’ve got the right connections, the right lobbyist, the right interest group, you get your special deal, and the rest of us get our wallet out.”
Watch (waiver stuff starts about 6:40):