What is your take on the country’s mood and what are voters looking for?
“They’re frustrated and worried about whether they’re going to have jobs. And they’re really worried about government overreach and government spending. There are a lot of folks who are independents or Democrats – maybe conservative Democrats – who voted for President Obama and thought he might be more pragmatic or centrist than he’s turned out to be. They feel that he’s conducted a bait-and-switch operation on them, and now they’re going to fix it by voting Republican come November.”
Has President Obama lost these voters forever or can he win them back?
“He’s certainly lost them, or a big chunk of them. Whether he can get them back or not remains to be seen. A few years is a long time in politics.”See the problem there? Pawlenty characterizes the voters in a way that seems entirely self-serving and also without much merit. You don't see many polls where voters seem to say that in a recession, their major concern is an active government. He also makes an assumption about why people voted for Obama - that they thought he would be a centrist.
In fact, Obama has been remarkably centrist, which has caused him headaches with his base. Pawlenty here describes the voters in a way that is easy to challenge. Now, it's his job to make assertions like these - he's going to run against Obama.
Jeff Zeleny, though, is a reporter. Instead of asking Pawlenty to provide examples of a bait-and-switch, or to justify this characterization, he asks him: "Has the President lost these voters forever or can he win them back?"
The question accepts that the last answer has merit. It acknowledges the existence of these mythical disgruntled disappointed "conservative Democrats" that want Obama to reduce the deficit and be more moderate. He simply serves as a facilitator for Pawlenty to continue to make a case predicated on Pawlenty's imagination.
And this, of course, is the New York Times. The Poster Child for the Liberal Media.