Friends in low places

Lori Sturdevant is one of the deeply partisan Democratic members of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s monochromatic editorial board. In her weekly column this morning she praises Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for the public prominence he has achieved in supporting the reimportation of price-controlled pharmaceutical products from Canada.
Sturdevant recognizes the political calculation that lies behind Pawlenty’s advocacy: “With a single policy stroke, Pawlenty has gone from being the coldheart who made 38,000 people lose their health insurance [in connection with balancing Minnesota’s budget], to the champion of cheaper drugs for everybody. He’s stolen that thunder from a pair of potential DFL rivals, Attorney General Mike Hatch and U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, both of whom have longer and stronger records on the subject. He’s eclipsing Republican U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht, his former Minnesota House colleague who has been Mr. Drug Importation in the U.S. House.
“Going after the pharmaceutical industry makes Pawlenty look less chummy with big business. Doing so in the face of FDA opposition makes him look independent of the Bush administration. Doing so with the praise and help of the Minnesota Senior Federation, which has been running its own Canadian drug operation for 15 months, makes him look like a friend to the senior segment of the population that tends to vote DFL.
“Getting attacked for doing so by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota — well, for a Republican conservative who wants to thrive in a mostly moderate state, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Our friends at the Taxpayers League have attacked Pawlenty’s drug reimportation scheme as bad policy. On the merits of the issue, Sturdevant’s column has, not surprisingly, nary a word.

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