With polls showing a drop in Barack Obama's job rating and sinking support for the Democrats' health care plans, there is evidence of collateral damage where you might not expect to find it, in the standing of Democratic governors. Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell is suddenly getting negative job ratings in both the Quinnipiac and the Franklin and Marshall polls -- his lowest marks in seven years as governor. Ohio's Ted Strickland, who has spent most of his first term working amicably with Republican legislators, scores under 50 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll and has only tenuous leads over two Republicans, John Kasich and Mike DeWine, who may run against him next year.
Obviously Mr. Barone did not get the memo that Mike DeWine is running for attorney general, which should tell you something. Just think, if the ORP and "leaders" like Jon "hug me teddy" Husted had stood up against T Shirt Ted and Big Government more, maybe, just maybe Ted would be more in the tank. But no, "hug me teddy" Husted convinced reps like Danny Bubp and others to roll over on the governor's budgets, and bango, no more Republican majority in the House. Just think, if the ORP would do more than talk about lowering taxes and balancing budgets (anyone remember the difference between Bobby Taft's rhetoric and his actual performance?), we might be in even better shape.
However, it is not just these old Dem stalwarts who are in trouble:
In the two governor races being contested this year, Republicans seem to have an advantage. Republican Bob McDonnell has led Democrat Creigh Deeds in all but one poll and picked up the support of Black Entertainment Television billionaire Sheila Johnson, one of the biggest contributors to the incumbent, Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine. New Jersey incumbent Jon Corzine, who spent more than $100 million on narrow wins for senator in 2000 and governor in 2005, is 15 points behind Republican Chris Christie. Corzine will not be helped by the indictment of multiple Jersey pols, most of them Democrats, in a case initiated by Christie when he was U.S. attorney.
There's an argument that these results hold little relevance to the standing of the national parties. Almost every state faces severe fiscal problems, and standoffs between a governor and a legislature can drag the governor's ratings way down, as in the case of California's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Moreover, a governor's personal strengths and weaknesses can override party identification; one of the nation's highest-rated governors is Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat in very Republican Wyoming.
Even so, these numbers should be troubling for Democrats. Rendell and Strickland are attractive personalities with some penchant for centrist policies. Both were suggested as possible running mates for Barack Obama (both sensibly swatted away those suggestions). Corzine is running in a state that, with a rising immigrant population and an outflow of affluent residents, has been solidly Democratic for a dozen years. Altogether these states have 69 electoral votes, and Obama won all four by comfortable margins last November.
Democratic governors in other important states also have been getting low marks from voters. North Carolina's freshly elected Bev Perdue has only 26 percent of voters willing to re-elect her. Colorado's Bill Ritter, Washington's Christine Gregoire, Oregon's Ted Kulongoski, Wisconsin's Jim Doyle, Massachusetts' Deval Patrick, and Michigan's Jennifer Granholm have been getting submajority voter approval most of the year.
These governors are mostly able and attractive people, and every one of their states voted for Obama. None of them is tarred by scandal or not up to the job, as seems to be the case with the nation's lowest-rated governors, Nevada Republican Jim Gibbons and New York Democrat David Paterson.
Heh....I guess we gave the libs enough rope to hang themselves, and they are doing it....Michael Barone sees that this might be that Americans don't like big government (gee, didn't a former actor turned political genius say that a couple decades or so ago?):
take all this as evidence -- not conclusive evidence, but significant evidence -- for the proposition that economic distress does not predispose voters to favor bigger government. Not all the reasons for these governors' negative job ratings arise from debates over the size of government, but many do -- and voters are clearly not hankering for more government.
When you put these results together with Obama's slide in the polls, they suggest trouble for big-government Democrats. Pollster Scott Rasmussen now shows Obama with only 49 percent job approval; when he asked voters which party they'd like to represent them in the House, Republicans came out ahead of Democrats.
If the National GOP had any real conservative leadership, we would be so far ahead in the polls by now. No, instead, we are still twiddling our thumbs and trying to stick out olive branches to those who stab us in the back (see DeWine, Mike; Powell, Colin; et. al.). No, what we should be doing is educating the public on what conservative solutions look like. The real problem, I think, is that those in charge of our parties have no idea what such things look like, because they just talk the talk, they don't internalize it and apply it. But boy, if only we had some transformational leadership, imagine where we would be. To think that with the joke of leadership on the national (Lindsey Graham? uh, no. John McCain? Hell no. Mitt Romney? You must be joking. Anyone seen Massachusetts socialized medicine crisis?) or the state level (Hug Me Husted and Mike DeWine? Can anyone tell me what these and earthworms have in common besides eating dirt and slithering? Answer: no spines) that we are doing this well so far from 2012, is both heartening and foreboding. I wonder how the GOP will screw it up.