Crisis Equals Popularity

I’m dumbfounded by the fact that Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s popularity rating has reached it’s highest level after the 35W bridge collapse.  The list of people who might be culpable for the collapse is a long one, (and that City Pages link is an excellent rundown of the suspects) but he’s at the top of the list for anybody who’s not a partisan Republican with a strong anti-tax bent.

I would love to think his rating is high because he indicated maybe increasing funding for transportation via a dedicated revenue source like a gas tax is a good idea, but history tells me people are simply suckers for leaders, no matter how incompetent or politically bankrupt they may be, after a crisis unfolds.

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5 Responses to Crisis Equals Popularity

  1. Jeff H says:

    To be fair, Pawlenty did speak out pretty strongly against the bridge collapse.

  2. Nathan D says:

    Jeff, what was he gonna say: “Eh, no big deal.”??

  3. pipelineblog says:

    You have to know Jeff to appreciate the dryness of the humor. Fortunately I do, and laughed heartily at the comment about Pawlenty’s courageous stand against the bridge collapse.

    There was an NPR report in the days after the collapse that featured Norm Coleman grandstanding in a press conference, boldly telling the crowd “We will rebuild!”. Then the NPR voiceover of the reporter came on and said dryly, “There was never any doubt the bridge would be rebuilt.” You had to hear it, but it was hilarious.

  4. Mike Berre says:

    Much of the reason may have been due to the interviews he did after the collapse. He was calm, gracious, acknowledged criticism without being defensive. The style you want to see after something like this.

    The next few months reality will set in but in the week after he was pretty good.

    On the radio RT Rybak (mayor of Mpls) does not sound well. His nasal tone makes him sound a little whiny. He is right about the rush in decision making but his voice mannerisms filter his message.

  5. pipelineblog says:

    I agree with that, Mike. Pawlenty did manage the week after fairly well, especially in contrast with Carol Molnau’s reaction. And, Pawlenty has shown willingness to talk about both the gas tax and building light rail potential onto the new bridge.

    Rybak does have a little bit of the deer in the headlights look about him, which is understandable. But I do have to give Pawlenty credit–he is smooth under pressure.

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