Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a few sane republicans

There are 41 Republican Senators and 178 Republican Congressmen, precisely 3 (all in the Senate) of whom supported the recently-passed stimulus package.

There are 22 Republican Governors. Four of them recently signed a letter (with 14 Democratic Governors) praising the Obama Administration's economic plan - and according to the New York Times, more would have signed but for political pressures within their states.

The sane and brave governors were Florida's Charlie Crist (too bad he's gay, he'll never go further in Republican national politics), California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vermont's Jim Douglas, and Connecticut's Jodi Rell. Crist was even out in public with Obama recently campaigning on behalf of the stimulus package.

So, why did fewer than 2% of national Republicans vote for the deal (7% of Senate, 0% of House), but 18% of the governors have publicly praised Obama? First, the governors are dealing with the practical impacts on the ground of the economic crisis - it is screwing state budgets, for one thing. Second, they may be less surrounded by fellow ideologues than the far-right Republican rump in Congress. And third, these governors don't have the luxury that their House counterparts do of campaigning in electoral districts often tailor-made to produce and support right-wing zealots - they have to win elections at the state level, including big cities and other Democratic strongholds.

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