Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two faced GOP

marjorie says...

I thought this Huffington Post's headline about the GOP was pretty good:

The Two Faces of the GOP

The headline was a short spin on this New York Times article, which contrasts Republican Senators with Republican Governors in light of support for Obama's economic stimulus bill. It's the ideologues versus the pragmatists--the two faces of the GOP.

The two faced GOP, more like it.

Where was the GOP when George Bush spent a fortune making war? Not to mention, congressional Republicans weren't in lock-step when the Bush administration bailed out Wall Street last year to the tune of $700 million. Plenty of them voted for that one.

It's only when a bail-out package for normal everyday people on the ground gets crafted that they turn their head.

Not only did Obama win, but the American electorate also ensured he had enough votes in Congress to push through real measures. This together is a signal of public support for letting the Democrats govern. Anyhow, I thought this passage in the NYT article was highly interesting:

Governors, unlike members of Congress, have to balance their budgets each year. And that requires compromise with state legislators, including Democrats, as well as more openness to the occasional state tax increase and to deficit-spending from Washington.
Across the country, from California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger to Florida’s Charlie Crist and New England’s Jim Douglas in Vermont and M. Jodi Rell in Connecticut, Republican governors showed in the stimulus debate that they could be allies with Mr. Obama even as Congressional Republicans spurned him.
“It really is a matter of perspective,” Mr. Crist said in an interview. “As a governor, the pragmatism that you have to exercise because of the constitutional obligation to balance your budget is a very compelling pull” generally.

The disconnect between Republican members of Congress and governors recalls the mid-1990s, when Republicans took control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. After an initial public show of being partners in a “Republican revolution,” the partnership all but dissolved when governors strongly objected as the more dogmatic conservatives in Congress tried to cut domestic programs and then shut down the federal government in an unsuccessful showdown with President Bill Clinton.

What the article describes is the fact that Republican governors have to deal with economic reality, ultimately--unlike their counterparts in Congress.