Political Animal


November 16, 2012 3:14 PM About Those Triumphant Republican Governors

By Ed Kilgore

As expected, there’s been a whole lotta talk since Election Day about how a new, exciting future for the Republican Party lies in the hands of its problem-solving, idea-hungry governors, who kicked butt on November 6 and are rarin’ to go fix their national party. The meme has been greatly promoted during the current meeting of the Republican Governors’ Association in Las Vegas, where political reporters have gathered to glean wisdom from the mighty solons of conservative state governance.

Here’s a very typical quote that New Jersey’s Chris Christie fed to Politico’s Kevin Robbilard:

“The leaders of the Republican Party are going to be Republican governors,” [Christie} said. “One of the reasons you have 30 Republican governors in America, and why we’re the only organization to add Republican strength — House lost members, Senate lost members, we lost the presidency, we went up from 29 to 30 Republican governors — is because people see us getting things done.”

Well, to be a bit more accurate about it, Republican governors made a net gain of one position because 8 of the 11 governorships up in 2012 were held by Democrats. Of these eleven races, the Cook Political Report rated six as competitive (either tossups or leaning one way or the other). Democrats won five of them. It wasn’t exactly a butt-kicking, was it?

Christie went on to say this:

“I don’t think this is a core philosophical examination we have to go through,” he said. “What this is is about doing our jobs, and people expect that if they give you the privilege of serving. Do your job.”

And that shows what all this gubernatorial frenzy is really about: just another way to deny the GOP has to change.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • troglodyte on November 16, 2012 3:27 PM:

    Credit Christie with a moment of pragmatism. Considering that the Congressional Repubs spout drivel about how government shouldnt be doing anything, hearing a prominent Repub talk about "governing" as a worthwhile task is welcome.

  • Josef K on November 16, 2012 3:47 PM:

    Christie: Do your job.

    But they are. They're making life easier and more profitable for their paymasters.

    What do they (Christie included) care about the poor slobs who actually voted them into office?

  • Snarki, child of Loki on November 16, 2012 4:26 PM:

    Wow. Added ONE more governor.

    How many mayors added to the GOP column? Water commissioners? Dogcatchers?

    That's a real political powerhouse there. A force to be reckoned with, you betcha.

  • beejeez on November 16, 2012 4:54 PM:

    Here's a deal: Whether you're a Republican or Democratic governor, just keep your party out of how you run things. Chances are, your name recognition or the likability of your public image or the color of your pyjamas has more to do with your holding office than the grand ideological agenda of your state's voters.

  • Anonymous on November 17, 2012 12:23 AM:

    kudo to beejeez above.

    also, i think there are plenty of good democratic governors like Cuomo(NY) , Patrick(MA) and Brown (CA) might transform the anti-tax Reagan state back to fiscal sanity.

  • Anonymous on November 17, 2012 12:25 AM:

    Vermont will create a single payer system in its state. California passed cap and trade scheme. There are a lot of innovative Democratic governors/states.

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