Tim Pawlenty goes cool teacher with his 'Pawcast' podcast

Tim Pawlenty hopes to cultivate the youth vote by talking about "doinkuses" and sports heroes from 30 years ago.

Tim Pawlenty hopes to cultivate the youth vote by talking about "doinkuses" and sports heroes from 30 years ago. Associated Press

The first thing you’ll hear on Tim Pawlenty’s podcast is the beach boogie music you’d expect from a Scooby-Doo episode about a surfing ghost.

But don’t be alarmed – you’ve come to the right place. This is the “Pawcast,” as he refers to it repeatedly. 

Pawlenty is running for governor again and the Pawcast is Pawlenty 2018’s way of speaking directly to his potential voters.

It would seem he's attempting to reach out to a younger, hipper crowd – you know, all of your nerd friends who are talking about In the Dark right now. This isn’t your buttoned-up, podium-thwacking old man politics. This relaxed, casual, using cool slang and talking to some super chill fellow Republicans, coming straight to your young earbuds.

This is basically cool teacher Pawlenty turning the chair backward and rapping with the class.

The reception was mixed. If this was an olive branch extended to the youth, their reaction amounts to “what is this olive branch and why are you giving it to me?”

He also accidentally tripped animal lovers and the furry community with the name choice.

Speculation about the content ranged from “very boring and very racist” to “a cure for insomnia.” To settle any remaining curiosity, the following is a summary of episode one:

First: beach boogie music. Then he introduces his first guest: Rep. Nick Zerwas, an Elk River Republican.

“I know a lot of people think politicians are kind of doinkuses or that they’re a little out there, but this one is an unbelievably good public servant,” Pawlenty assures the listeners. If “doinkuses” is the latest teen slang, it’s too cool for us to know about it yet.

Speaking of the youth: Zerwas sponsored a bill that would heighten criminal penalties against protestors who block highways and airports. If Governor Mark Dayton hadn’t vetoed it, you would get up to a year for nonviolently restricting access to a bus or train.

Zerwas goes on to educate the kids about the scourge of people who receive state benefits they’re not eligible for. Pawlenty says rooting out the ineligible is one way they can keep health care premiums down.

Because you know that the kids all agree: Too many people are getting access to health care.

Pawlenty also brought up sanctuary cities and counties. He’s not a fan.

“And now, to make it worse, one of my opponents, Tim Walz, who’s a congressman from southeastern Minnesota, says he wants to make the whole state of Minnesota a sanctuary state, which I think is really dangerous,” he says. He and Zerwas spend most of the discussion agreeing with each other at length.

Periodically a shock jock-style voice cuts in to tell the listener to go to, with the same zeal as a salesman for Shamwow.

And then, for the last half hour of the 45 minute podcast, Pawlenty, Zerwas and columnist Bob Sansevere talk about sports. How professional sports has changed over the past 30 years. Who their sports heroes growing up were. And which Vikings were “good” and which were “annoying.” (Cris Carter).

If you’re into sports stuff -- especially sports stuff from 30-plus years ago -- this is probably your bag. If not, you can skip for the last 10 seconds. It ends in an unceremonious wrap-up and a thank-you to the 447 people and counting who listened to the podcast on YouTube.

One thing that can be said for the podcast – it does speak directly to voters. And they’ve made their replies clear.