Tim Pawlenty goes nativist on English-only

Still lagging badly as a possible presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty is now making a strong pitch for the xenophobe vote. At a news conference yesterday, Pawlenty hinted that the state should consider making English its official language.

"As we have more diversity of languages in the country and there may be some question about how are official documents going to be created.... I think it may be helpful to make it clear that that will be English," Pawlenty said.

The governor will be out of office before the Minnesota legislature will have a chance to take up any English-only legislation, so Pawlenty's remarks are either a thoughtful parting suggestion to his home state or a calculated hint at what kind of president he'd be. Either way, it was a strange thing to say right after meeting with the Chilean ambassador.

Pawlenty's comments come on the heels of the vote by Lino Lakes to become the first city in Minnesota to ban the use of city money to translate public meetings and documents. Now that it has passed, information is emerging that the resolution was helped along by ProEnglish, a Virginia-based group led by Michigan opthalmologist John Tanton.

Tanton  has founded a number of anti-immigration groups -- one is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- and has been quoted warning of a "Latin onslaught" on American culture.

Apparently ProEnglish didn't initiate the Lino Lakes measure, but they did step in and help draft it once it was started.

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