Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2011

WHAT THE NEW REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS HAVE IN COMMON.... Riding a wave of popular sentiment, Republican gubernatorial candidates scored big wins in some of the nation's largest and most competitive states. When the dust settled on the 2010 cycle, the GOP had picked up governors' offices they had lost in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Sure enough, all of these far-right governors immediately got to work advancing a very conservative agenda. And after a few months, what do these guys have in common? Voters are finding they may not like Republican rule after all.

Take Pennsylvania, for example.

A new poll suggests a rift has opened between Gov. Corbett and many Pennsylvanians when it comes to taxing and spending.

The survey, by Franklin and Marshall College, found six in 10 residents support a tax on natural-gas drillers. An even larger majority -- nearly eight in 10 -- opposes deep cuts to public education.

Both positions run counter to the Republican governor's stances.... Asked to rate his overall job performance, 31 percent said good or excellent, 39 percent said fair, and 13 said poor; 18 percent were undecided.

That's not a straight-up approval rating in the traditional sense, but it appears that Pennsylvania's new Republican governor -- the one who's desperate to make brutal cuts to education, while increasing spending on prisons -- hasn't exactly impressed his constituents.

This seems to be coming up quite a bit lately. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich (R) has seen his support plummet in recent months, and polls in Wisconsin have shown widespread opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's (R) agenda. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) was increasingly unpopular before his latest radical moves, and while I haven't seen any polling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), there's ample evidence he's managing to offend just about everyone.

Will this prove relevant in 2012? Time will tell, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dissatisfied with the status quo, and Dems happened to be the dominant majority.

But now those same voters have been reminded exactly why they didn't like Republicans in the first place. The likelihood of this helping Democrats next year seems high.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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"The likelihood of this helping Democrats next year seems high."

I hope you're right. We Americans ain't too bright.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Rick Snyder. Scott Walker. Rick Scott. The Stepford Governors.

Posted by: navamske on March 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican party depends on pissed-off (or pissing off), low information voters.

Without them, they couldn't get elected dogcatcher because people would be afraid of trusting them even with their neighbors dog.
Even their non-white neighbors.

For 2010, we can thank those low-information voters, and Democrats and Independents who sat on their asses.
Maybe having seen the Republicans true colors again, they may think twice about voting for them again in 2012, '14 and '16.
God, I hope so.
I don't know how much more of this stupidity this nation can stand.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 19, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

This dynamic is happening in Louisiana, too, although to a lesser extent.

Bobby Jindal signed into law a massive tax break for upper-income residents that created a permanent funding shortfall of $400 million to $600 million per year. He has spent the last several years patching his budgets together with a combination of federal funds, one-time monies, a tax amnesty, layoffs, wage freezes, and lies.

Despite this performance, nobody has emerged as a challenger to Jindal in this year's gubernatorial election. I don't mean nobody has emerged as a credible challenger. I mean nobody, period. It is possible that the Democratic Party will not even field a candidate in the election.

Nevertheless, less than half of Louisiana voters want to Jindal to get a second term. The results come from a poll conducted in January:

Nearly half of Louisiana voters are ready to re-elect Gov. Bobby Jindal no matter who runs against him, according to a survey released Thursday.

Jindal is favored by 49 percent of voters in a telephone poll of 600 voters conducted Jan. 10-14 by Market Research Insight on behalf of a group of business people. The survey found 40 percent would prefer to vote for someone else while the remaining 11 percent are uncertain.

Now, the most adorable thing about this story is the language that the Times-Picayune uses to spin the results. Nearly half of Louisiana voters are ready to re-elect Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Another way to look at it is that less than half of Louisiana voters are ready to re-elect a governor who might very well run unopposed, the usual fringe candidates notwithstanding, less than a year from now.

Posted by: L.A. Goldenrod on March 19, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

In the light of day, Republican only appeals to about 30% of the people. Selling their crap to enough people to get elected requires endless misinformation and/or outright lying.

Which brings us back to NPR. They have to get rid of any real news to survive.

Posted by: Mark-NC on March 19, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Sad to say, local unhappiness over an incumbent governor who is not up for reelection -- all of those you mentioned, and more -- could well translate into an anti-Democratic congressional and even presidential vote. As one comment puts it, "we Americans ain't too bright."

Many voters cannot tell the difference between a state senator and a U.S. senator, or a U.S. representative and a state representative. In Florida, a majority do not know if the candidate they're about to vote for is being sent to Tallahassee or Washington, D.C.

Things might be different in Wisconsin, but only because there -- unlike Michigan, Ohio, and Florida -- state government Democrats showed their spine so openly and for so long and with such intense news coverage that even low-information voters now know who to punish.

Posted by: JohnB. on March 19, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ur Civilization

I studied Anthropology in college. I remember being shocked by an artist depiction of what the ancient city of Ur [located in what is now Iraq (Wikipedia)] looked like. The illustration showed a palace in the center of the city where the priest/rulers lived surrounded by the remaining 95%+ of the population who lived in what appeared to the be half-submerged huts.

I thought to myself, "How could such an unequal civilization ever develop, with a tiny percent of the populace living in luxury and the vast majority of the people living in mud huts?".

Now I know...



Posted by: James M on March 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, both Cuernavaca setting high above Oaxaca to the south and UR are becoming US.

However, I still prefer to call those few RepuG Governors, by their proper title of Gauleiters.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

There are all too many elected Democratic politicians, including hopey-changey who seem to have bought into the reduce spending gimmick and seem all too willing. How many Democratic senators signed that stupid plea to BO begging him to address (among other spending) entitlements? Most Ds are as clueless as the Rs and seek only to hang onto their cushy gigs by any means possible, which seems to be trying to keep the neanderthals at wapo and fox from saying mean things about them.

Posted by: elbrucce on March 19, 2011 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt this will have much effect in 2012. Americans' memory has a half-life of about 15 seconds. Look at how fast they forgot that the Republicans got us into this economic crisis to begin with. By next year the unions will all be gone, the money from the unions will all be gone, the public schools will be closed, and everyone will have forgotten that any of them ever existed.

Posted by: walldon on March 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder whether these guys even care if they're one-term governors or representatives. They'll do all the damage they can, then fall back on some lobbying job, where they'll reap the benefits of their recklessness--or else they'll end up at Fox, complaining that the disaster that hit the country is the Democrats fault, and can only be fixed by cutting taxes further and shrinking the government even more. It'll take us a long time to get the middle class back to where it was, if we ever do. And the voters only occasionally seem to notice.
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."--H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Posted by: dogofthesouth on March 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

YOU HAVE A GROSS ERROR IN THIS ARTICLE! Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist was NOT a Democrat; he was REPUBLICAN; who had the good sense to change to (at least) INDEPENDENT!
Please correct your story!!!!

Posted by: Al C on March 19, 2011 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rule number one of advertising: If you have an inferior product and have an amount of money which can either be used to improve the product or advertise heavily to convince the public that the inferior product is in fact superior, go for the advertising and you'll get more bang for the bucks. In the upcoming elections the quality of the republican product will be questioned by a few informed voters, but the amount of money available for advertising those inferior products is going to be huge and dollar for dollar, there's no way that progressive candidates can match their billionaire funded war chests. The supreme court sold our democratic process to the highest bidder and until real campaign finance reform is passed our elections are going to be about bankrolls instead of policy.

Posted by: sparky on March 19, 2011 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dissatisfied with the status quo, and Dems happened to be the dominant majority."

Sigh.

Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dumb as bricks/keen to indulge their inner racism that allowed their gullible souls/worst instincts to buy into the Koch Brothers/US Chamber of Commerce/foreign money-financed continually broadcast pack of lies. Oh, and some may have also suffered a temporary case of insanity, electing to put the same folks back in charge who caused the dissatisfying "status quo" in the first place, and who offered NO vision or plan to change that status quo to anything better.

Posted by: June on March 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

There's a chance this will make a difference in 2012. But these govs are charging hard out of the gate in order to accomplish as much as possible this year, so voters won't remember any of the "bad stuff" by 2014, when they're up for re-election. Same reason Obama did healthcare as early as possible.

Posted by: chi res on March 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Asked to rate his overall job performance, 31 percent said good or excellent, 39 percent said fair, and 13 said poor; 18 percent were undecided.


So a 70% approval rating for Corbett is evidence of "Voters are finding they may not like Republican rule after all"??? That a governor can run significant policies counter 60%-80% public opinion and come out with a 70% approval rating means Democracy today is nothing more than a puppet show.

Posted by: Oh my on March 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dissatisfied with the status quo, and Dems happened to be the dominant majority."

this is only part of it....the gop voted, lots of obama 08 voters didn't...

here in ohio, the undervote in cuyahoga county [going thru a serious democratic corruption scandal] was the difference in kasich beating stickland

Posted by: dj spellchecka on March 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK


Give 'em enough rope....


Posted by: Joe Friday on March 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

dj I hate Kasich with a passion. he's only been gov here in Ohio for a little over two months and this asshole is doing everything in his power to turn the state into Missisippi.

Posted by: Gandalf` on March 19, 2011 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

@ gandalf.... i'm in cuyahoga falls...

his entire program has one goal ...moving money from the state's taxpayers to his rich friends

my only question "after 4 years, will ohio look like mississippi, an early 70's central-american banana republic ......or zimbabwe?"

Posted by: dj spellchecka on March 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

All of these governors were elected in swing states, with very pragmatic electorates. In some cases, they won over weak incumbents like Strickland in Ohio. the problem with swing states is that they swing back and they tend to be pragmatic places that doen't like extremists.

Posted by: Rich on March 19, 2011 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

2012 would be a walk in the park if there were an opposition party to the GOP. Too bad!

Posted by: wilky on March 20, 2011 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Widespread buyers remorse due to lying candidates followed by overreach by elected GOPers was the best case scenario, and now we have it. A good first step is to take down Walker in January along with 4 State Republican Senators in Wisconson, then move quickly to the next/best low hanging piece of fruitcake.

Posted by: max on March 20, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican governors have another item in common. These gov'nors want to please the KOCH brtos for paying for their campaigns to win. So these Governors have pledged to destroy AMERICAN DEMOCRACY by following the desires of the fascist KOCH BROS. If the politician who swore to uphold the US CONSTITUTION is not doing so; is upholding the desires of fascism to change our DEMOCRACY government , the politician should be charged and tried with TREASON!!

Posted by: ML Johnston on March 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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