As the Republican Party here in Minnesota and across the country tries to regroup and redefine itself in the hope that it can regain relevance, Governor Tim Pawlenty appears to have the solution.

That solution? Well become a Democrat, OBVIOUSLY!

Republicans need to be farsighted on such issues as energy, health care and education, and broaden their appeal to working-class families and small-business owners, he said.

While that is a bit of an exaggeration, there is a grain of truth as Pawlenty appears to be embracing issues that are certain to send the base of his party into a crazed frenzy. None get base conservatives quite so worked up as the anthropogenic climate change debate and the concepts of green jobs and renewable energy.

This past Monday, Pawlenty threw the base under the bus by embracing green jobs and openly advocated for initiatives to bring those jobs here to the state. While differing on the details, Governor Pawlenty is distancing himself from the deniers that make up his base and is looking to take as his own issues that Democrats have been calling for all along. Last February, Tarryl Clark (DFL) called for similar investments in green jobs:

According to an analysis by the Blue-Green Alliance and the Renewable Energy Policy Project, Minnesota could develop about 18,400 new “green” jobs in manufacturing, construction, management, maintenance and financing of wind, biomass, geothermal and solar power projects. According to the analysis, Stearns County’s share of this growth could be around 1,200 jobs.

The analysis points out that Minnesota already has 450 firms that “are currently active in the industrial sectors that could provide the component parts” to reduce emissions by 15 percent worldwide.

Here in Minnesota, we’re ahead of much of the country when it comes to developing the kind of energy standard that can create these new jobs. Last year’s approval of a standard that will require utility companies to have 25 percent of their energy mix come from renewable sources by 2020 was a triumph of bipartisanship.

The Legislature also ordered the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to develop a strategy to maximize the economic benefit to citizens from the renewable-energy standard. Since then, DEED has produced promotional materials and traveled to trade shows to educate potential manufacturers and investors in renewable energy.

Greater energy independence, more jobs, a cleaner environment and bipartisan support—it’s hard to argue with benefits like that. Maybe renewable energy won’t solve all of our state’s economic troubles, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

The response from the base to being thrown under the bus? Well, Andy Aplikowski, who is interested in taking over the Republican Party of Minnesota is none too pleased (not that he ever is). He is officially throwing Pawlenty out of the party:

As I said, anyone who drinks the green kool aid does not deserve to lead the conservative movement or the Republican party.

I crown both Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty Lunacrats!

Where as, they believe in lunatic the policies of Al Gore that not only have science and common sense debunked, but any one with a functioning brainstem whose career doesn’t rely on public ignorance, can spot how the Earth has seen cooler temperatures this year and is forecast for 30 years of cooler temperatures. Be it resolved that neither of them ascend to any official leadership position of the free market oriented Republican party or conservative movement.

So, with Aplikowski throwing everyone out of the party except for himself, would it really be unrealistic to assume that Pawlenty will soon be joining the Democratic Party? Not likely, but if he continues to tack to the left in response to recent election results it should make 2010 a whole lot easier for the DFL as Republicans will have fractured beyond repair.

For less snark and more substance about what Pawlenty actually wants to implement with his green jobs initiative, I encourage you to check out Jeff Rosenberg at Twin Cities Daily Liberal or Holly Cairns at MNBlue.