Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pawlenty brainstorms

Austin Post-Bulletin:

With the state facing an historic budget deficit, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday turned to a select few residents looking for ideas.

Former 1st District Rep. Tim Penny, now president of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, joined 36 other invitees from around the state chosen for being creative thinkers. Pawlenty asked participants to brainstorm ideas on how Minnesota can reform its government to improve efficiency at a time of financial crisis.

When you get an individual involved, it becomes his issue, as well. Gestures not only lead to innovative ideas, they are also powerful symbols of inclusiveness. Which is why Republican candidates should never turn down invitations to speak to groups with whom they disagree.

Charlie Crist was the first Republican Governor of Florida to accept an invitation to speak at the NAACP convention. There's something terribly wrong about that. No Republican should turn down the chance to reach out -- even if he feels the audience will be hostile.