Not because Bartlett is wrong about the deficit. Not because he's wrong about Pawlenty's proposed Constitutional amendment to require balanced budgets; in fact, it's one of the best arguments against such a scheme I've seen (key rhetorical point: a Constitutionally mandated balanced budget means, if it means anything, a court-enforced balanced budget).
But because Bruce Bartlett just can't believe the party he doesn't want to leave behind would stand for such nonsense:
In conclusion, Tim Pawlenty is not ready for prime time. He may think he has found a clever way of appealing to the right wing tea party/Fox News crowd without having to propose any actual cuts in spending, but it isn’t going to work. It’s too transparently phony even for them.I'm willing to offer a wager: not only is this not even close to too transparently phony, but it's not phony enough. I have no idea how Pawlenty will fare in 2012, but I'm willing to bet that the Republican nominee and anyone who gets close to the nomination will have deficit reduction plans this or more phony. Moreover, I'll add a bonus prediction: the Republican nominee and anyone who gets close to the nomination will have opposed any CBO-scored significant deficit reduction plan that gets to the House or Senate floor between now an 2012. Pawlenty may not be ready to cut budget deficits, but I'm afraid he knows a lot more about what the tea party types want than Bruce Bartlett does.
UPDATE: Drum had pretty much the same reaction.