PAWLENTY SAYS U.S. ‘NEEDS’ A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN…. By all appearances, the federal government won’t shut down this week, after a compromise measure came together late Friday. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), the increasingly-silly presidential hopeful, is likely to be disappointed by the progress.

ThinkProgress caught up with Pawlenty following his speech this weekend at the Tea Party Patriots Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. Pawlenty declared that shutting down the federal government is “an option I think Republicans have to consider.”

The former Minnesota governor went further in the interview with ThinkProgress, declaring that the current shutdown showdown was a “line-in-the-sand moment,” the likes of which “are what we need.” Pawlenty called for a shutdown lasting a month or longer — “a dramatic month,” as he termed it — in order to force Congress to make tough decisions.

Pawlenty may not care, but the most “dramatic” aspect of a shutdown would be the effect it has on the economy, veterans’ benefits, and Social Security services.

As part of the same appearance, the former governor also lauded the right for “standing up to the ruling class.” As Steve M. explained, “[T]he Koch brothers and BP and Rupert Murdoch aren’t in this ‘ruling class.’ Teachers in Wisconsin are.”

I almost feel sorry for Republican presidential candidates. The truly ridiculous things they’re forced to say to pander to the unhinged right are just cringe-worthy.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.