Pawlenty has been going after Bachmann pretty hard and Bachmann hit back today.  She even compared him to Obama.  Bachmann’s attack is pretty clever in the way it manages to paint any rhetoric or politics of effective governance as Obama/socialist/Big Government. 

Pawlenty would do well to compare the growth of Minnesota state spending when he was governor to the growth of federal spending during Bachmann’s first two terms in Congress.  That is a good argument, but it is skipping a step.  Bachmann is seen (with some justice) as a fighter for limited government principles.  Just calling her a big mouthed loser (the thrust of Pawlenty’s criticisms) is alienating.  Better to lose with someone who shares your principles than win with someone who stands for nothing.  And anyway, we can’t KNOW that Bachmann would lose.  Pawlenty needs a compelling, fact rich narrative of how he beat the spending interests in a Democratic-leaning state.  Then he can effectively explain why conservatives should prefer the governor who beat the Minnesota Democrats to the congresswoman who mostly lost to Pelosi and Obama.  Yeah, I know that isn’t fair, but Pawlenty isn’t Obama so I’m willing to call it even.

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