Pawlenty eyes the White House

The governor’s potential bid comes after higher education finances drop.

While it has yet to be officially confirmed, all indications point to a 2012 presidential run by MinnesotaâÄôs two-term Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He is staffing up his newly launched political action committee, Freedom First PAC, with veterans of the Bush and McCain campaigns. In order to fund his increasingly national travel schedule and buy political chits with donations to other campaigns, Pawlenty will be raising fistfuls of money for his PAC at a dinner later this month in Washington, D.C. Major donors will pay $5,000 a plate for the privilege of dining in the same ballroom as the governor. While the governor wines and dines with the political and economic elite, his current constituents are largely opposed to his apparent career ambitions. A new poll shows that 55 percent of Minnesotans are against a presidential bid, with just 30 percent supporting the attempt . ItâÄôs not difficult for University of Minnesota students to see why. Under his stewardship, the UniversityâÄôs appropriation from the state was cut by $151 million. Consequently, tuition will bring in a larger share of the UniversityâÄôs budget than state aid for the first time in the UniversityâÄôs history. This is truly unacceptable and irresponsible for a public institution founded with federal land grants. Our institution and others around the country are the legacy of past leaders who had the foresight and long-term perspective to invest significant resources in affordable, public higher education. With his record of university budget cuts, it is worth questioning whether Pawlenty has the qualities necessary to leave his own positive legacy for future generations.