Conservatives: Freedom, Not Big Government Is Key >
36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, February 26-28, 2009

February 28, 2009--Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) offered "a little perspective from the heartland."  "The reports of the demise of the conservative movement are greatly exaggerated," Pawlenty said.  Pawlenty opened his remarks on the themes of faith, freedom and family.  "It all starts with acknowledging that God is our Creator and it is from God that we receive our values and our principles."  He then talked about applying these principles to health care, education and energy.  On health care Pawlenty said, "We have to fix it, and the conservatives should be leading the change not by saying no way but by showing a better way, a conservative way to health care reform."  Pawlenty elaborated:

"If I said to you today, on your way home from CPAC go out and buy a television set-- any one you want; any size, any characteristics, any features that you'd like.  Don't worry about the price and send me the bill.  I'll pay for it.  In fact don't even look at the bill.  How many of you would show up at home tonight with a 12" black and white? 

"Now that in a nutshell is our healthcare system.  All of us get to go to doctors, clinics, hospitals, providers; we consume goods and services in most instances having no knowledge about what it costs, having no information really about the quality of the service compared to another provider or other alternatives, and the bill goes to a third party namely the government, an HMO or an insurance company and they manage and pay for the relationship.  In what other walk of life does that work?  It defies what we know about markets, it defies what we know about human behaviour.  It's no mystery why our health care system is broken.  It defies all of that. 

"So we need to fix that and lead the charge from a market standpoint, from a consumer empowerment standpoint--demand that individuals and consumers be given good information about price, be given good information about quality and then be given financial incentives, strong financial incentives to use the system wisely.  That's how markets work.  Not having the government take it over."

Pawlenty also said conservatives and Republicans must work to challenge the notion that they are "not for the working person."  "You cannot be pro-job and anti business," Pawlenty said.  "That's like being pro-egg and anti-chicken."

Copyright © 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action