How Tim Pawlenty ditched his Arctic explorer bestie and turned his back on climate change
This is like something out of Mean Girls: Former Minnesota gov Tim Pawlenty used to pal around with this amazing Arctic explorer dude, Will Steger, having slumber parties and plotting how to get the GOP to believe in climate change. Then Pawlenty fell in with a clique, the GOP Presidential Hopefuls, and if he wanted to impress his new friends, he had to turn his back on his old one. And they didn't even talk anymore! And they sat at different lunch tables! And Pawlenty wrote mean things about climate change anonymously on the bathroom wall!
Seriously, Steger seems like a mensch and is trying not to say anything too mean, but there is a lot of pathos here:
The governor backed out of the trip and then skipped his final scheduled forum with Steger. Later, he ignored the recommendations produced by the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (of which Steger was a member) that he had convened with much fanfare just a little more than a year earlier. And he began using global warming as a punch line, not a talking point.
Pawlenty's split with Steger—and climate change 180—was striking. When the Republican National Convention came to St. Paul in September 2008, Pawlenty played the role of host to a convention dominated by chants of "Drill, Baby, Drill!" Steger spoke at a protest rally a few blocks away, sharing the stage with the punk-rock group Anti-Flag.
Steger says he has no hard feelings toward Pawlenty, whom he calls "a friend." But they haven't spoken since the Ellesmere expedition, and in an interview with Mother Jones, he used the word "baffled" repeatedly to describe his reaction to the governor's new dogma. (Pawlenty, contacted via his political action committee, did not respond to a request for comment.)
Mother Jones has the whole story.
- Tim Pawlenty's Big Chill, Mother Jones
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