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July 10, 2014 4:40 PM Different Contexts, Same Script

By Ed Kilgore

At TPM Seth Michaels offers a useful roundup of the mixed-at-best record of Republicans in selective state governments (KS, LA, NC, TX and WI) they currently control It’s also useful to sort them out via the contexts GOPers face in each state:

In KS and NC, Republicans are self-consciously trying to introduce radical changes in state priorities and programs at a break-neck speed. The Kansas experiment has backfired fiscally so badly that Gov. Sam Brownback is now in some danger of losing his job despite the state’s very red nature. In North Carolina, the policy changes that House Speaker (and Senate nominee) Thom Tillis has called “revolutionary” are deeply unpopular, though the statewide elected offices don’t come up until 2016.

In TX, Gov. Rick Perry and his GOP legislature are in an equally powerful position, but the state’s policy background is already so conservative that the rightward shift is less perceptible than in other states.

In LA, you have the odd situation of an “innovative” conservative Gov. playing to the 2016 presidential galleries so blatantly that he hasn’t much bothered to bring his Republican-controlled legislature and even some of his appointees along with him.

And in WI, Scott Walker and the GOP legislative leadership continue to hang onto power by a thread, but appear happy to roll the dice and seek continued control via heavy spending in a polarized midterm election.

All these GOP state leaders are pretty much following the same script. How they behave and how they fare are largely a function of the environment, though as Kansas shows, it’s possible for them to screw up a one-car funeral.

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.

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