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100 Days After Autopsy, GOP Governors Stand As Symbols Of An Unchanged Party

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TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Danny Kanner, Communications Director
DATE: June 26, 2013
Re: 100 Days After Autopsy, GOP Governors Stand As Symbols Of An Unchanged Party
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, Republican Party leaders undertook a comprehensive review of their standing with the American people. Following a lengthy process, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus issued a “blistering assessment,” saying the Party was viewed as “narrow-minded,” “out of touch,” “stuffy old men,” and the “party of the rich.”
The harsh critique was well deserved. In fact, Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal concurred in January when he declared that Republicans needed to “stop being the stupid party” and “change just about everything.”
But despite being hailed as the saviors of their Party and paying lip service to the changes they needed to make, Republican governors have since demonstrated that they’re not the solution to the party’s electoral woes – they’re the problem. On issue after issue – from undermining women’s health and economic security, to advocating for policies hostile toward Latinos and gay Americans, to demanding tax giveaways for the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and investments we need to grow – Republican governors and candidates for governor have failed to heed the advice of their own Chairmen.
And that’s no accident. Republican governors aren’t the common-sense job creators they pretended to be when they were elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 – they’re merely the ideological twins of the House Republicans who have grinded progress to a halt in Washington. Unfortunately for the people of their states, the consequences of Republican governors’ extremism are real and damaging.
Here is how Republican governors, in both words and deeds, are perpetuating the accurate but bleak portrait of their party 100 days after the much-publicized autopsy:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Said He Would Sign Controversial Ultrasound Bill. “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he will sign a measure that’s quickly working its way through the Republican-controlled Legislature that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound…’I don’t have any problem with ultrasound,’ Walker told reporters after a school choice meeting in Milwaukee. ‘I think most people think ultrasounds are just fine.’” [Associated Press, 6/11/13]
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback Signed “Sweeping Anti-Abortion Legislation” Declaring That Life Begins “At Fertilization.” “Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed sweeping anti-abortion legislation Friday, giving his state a new law to block tax breaks for abortion providers, ban sex-selection abortions and declare that life begins “at fertilization. Many provisions take effect in July, though the tax changes will be effective for 2014. The measure cleared the Republican-dominated Legislature by wide margins earlier this month.” [Associated Press, 4/20/13]
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple Signed “Nation’s Toughest” Abortion Restrictions, Designed To “Discover The Boundaries Of Roe v. Wade.” “North Dakota’s governor positioned the oil-rich state Tuesday as a primary battleground in the decades-old fight over abortion rights, signing into law the nation’s toughest restriction on the procedure and urging lawmakers to set aside cash for an inevitable legal challenge. Minutes after Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed three anti-abortion measures – one banning them when a heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – unsolicited donations began pouring into the state’s lone abortion clinic to help opponents prove the new laws are unconstitutional. ‘Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade,’ Dalrymple said in a statement, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion up to until a fetus is considered viable – usually at 22 to 24 weeks.” [Associated Press, 3/26/13]
Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s Running Mate, E.W. Jackson, Compared Planned Parenthood To The KKK. “The newly minted Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia once compared Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and bemoaned black voters’ ‘slavish devotion’ to the Democratic Party — past statements that are likely to inflame the culture-war politics of the state’s 2013 elections… ‘The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was,’ Jackson says in the video.” [Politico, 5/19/13]
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Said Educational Problems Arose As More Women Began Working. “Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America’s educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers. Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade.” [Washington Post, 6/4/13]
Texas Governor Rick Perry Vetoed Texas Equal Pay Bill. “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has vetoed a bill meant to prevent wage discrimination against women. An aide to state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D), who authored the equal pay bill, HB 950, said Perry’s office called on Friday to say he had vetoed it.” [Huffington Post, 6/14/13]
Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoed Temporary Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers. “Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to get temporary Florida driver’s licenses, a decision that may bolster his standing among immigration hard-liners but could hurt him among Hispanic voters. The vetoed measure, informally known to supporters as the ‘Dream Act Driver License’ law, passed the Legislature by a nearly unanimous vote. It would have applied to young people covered by President Barack Obama’s 2012 policy affecting noncitizens brought to the U.S. illegally as children, which suspended any deportation action against them for a two-year period.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/4/13]
Pennsylvania Governor “Corbett Says He Can’t Find Any Latinos To Hire.” “Gov.Corbett tried to reach out to Latino voters last week when he spoke at a roundtable in Philadelphia. Instead he may have stumbled into his own ‘binders full of women’ moment. Corbett addressing a group at the Union League was asked by the moderator whether he had Latinos on his staff. Corbett said no, adding ‘If you can find us one, please let me know.’” [Commonwealth Confidential, Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/22/13]
Cuccinelli Running Mate E.W. Jackson Said He Was “In Fundamental Agreement” With Ken Cuccinelli. “E.W. Jackson, the GOP lieutenant governor candidate in Virginia who’s made headlines since his selection earlier this month, said in a radio interview Friday that he and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli see eye-to-eye on the issues. ‘Look, we are in fundamental agreement,’ Jackson said, when asked on the radio station WMAL whether he and Cuccinelli would “run as a pair.’ ‘I’ve heard that this ticket is probably more homogeneous than almost any ticket in the history of Virginia, so there’s no stark disagreement between us.’” [Politico, 5/31/13]
E.W. Jackson: Homosexuality Tries To “Poison” And “Sexualize” Children. In October 2012, Right Wing Watch reported about E.W. Jackson’s appearance on a radio show with Peter LaBarbera and John Kirkwood. Jackson said of homosexuality: “Look, it also attempts to poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age. It really is insidious and I agree with you, it is a super sin.” [Right Wing Watch, 10/25/12]
Jackson Called Homosexuality A “Horrible Sin” That “Destroys Societies.” In October 2012, Right Wing Watch reported on a Jackson interview with Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality and pastor John Kirkwood. Jackson said, “Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” [Right Wing Watch, 10/25/12]
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Vetoed Same-Sex Marriage Legislation, Despite Polls Showing Majority Approval. “Gov. Chris Christie has followed through on his promise to reject a bill allowing same-sex marriage in New Jersey by quickly vetoing the measure Friday and renewing his call for a ballot question to decide the issue. The veto came a day after the state Assembly passed the bill. The state Senate had passed it on Monday. Christie, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, had vowed “very swift action” once the measure reached his desk… Democrats are hoping that support for gay marriage – 52 percent for gay marriage, 42 against it, in New Jersey, according to one recent voter poll – will continue growing.” [Associated Press, 2/17/12]
Perry Opposed Boy Scouts’ Decision To Allow Gay Members; Issued Statement Expressing His Disappointment. “Gov. Rick Perry, who has written a book about the values taught by scouting, issued a statement expressing his sadness that the Boy Scouts of America has voted to allow young gay men to join their ranks. Perry, who became an Eagle Scout, has urged the organization to fight the trend towards gay inclusion… ‘While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision.’” [Dallas Morning News, 5/23/13]
RGA Chairman and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Proposed Elimination Of Louisiana Income And Corporate Taxes, Paid For With Increased Sales Taxes. “Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to eliminate Louisiana’s income and corporate taxes and pay for those cuts with increased sales taxes, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday. The governor’s office has not yet provided the details of the plan.” [Times-Picayune,1/10/13]
Jindal Plan Would Have Raised Sales Tax 47% – Combined Average State And Local Sales Rates Would Have Been Highest In The Country. “Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate the state’s income and corporate taxes would raise the state sales tax to 5.88 percent, eliminate about 200 exemptions and include a rebate for middle- and low-income residents as well as for some retirees… The planned increase in the sales tax would raise the current rate by about 47 percent and would come on top of local sales taxes. Residents in New Orleans, for example, would pay a combined rate of about 11 percent under the plan. The proposal also calls for increasing the state’s cigarette tax from 36 cents to $1.41 per pack. Louisiana already has one of the highest combined average state and local sales tax rate in the country and the increase would put the state at the top of that list, according to information from The Tax Foundation.” [Times-Picayune,3/14/13]
Ohio Headline:Kasich Plan Just Shifts Ohio Tax Burden Around, Economists Say”
“Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s plan to impose new taxes on services and oil and gas production would weigh heavily on the poor, while opening the door to more cronyism, according to several free market economists interviewed by Ohio Watchdog. Despite shifting tax burdens around, Kasich’s budget does nothing to reduce the size of a government that one recent study found to be the largest in the nation relative to its state’s economy.” [, 2/14/13]
Kasich’s Sales Tax Plan Would Have Included 82 Previously Untaxed Services. “Marine towing services such as towboats on the Ohio River will face a sales tax under Gov. John R. Kasich’s budget proposal. So will insurance agents, dating services, tax preparers and travel agents. If you plan to pay to park your trailer somewhere in Ohio, be prepared to add 5 percent sales tax to your bill. And the state may have gotten rid of the estate tax, but if you die, your funeral service will be taxable. The governor’s plan to broaden the sales tax to include 82 previously untaxed services, including admission to sports and cultural events, will take effect in September if they all survive legislative scrutiny.” [, 2/7/13]
Brownback Called For Cutting Income Taxes While Extending Heightened Sales Tax Rate. “Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback swung for the fences Tuesday night, calling for even deeper income tax cuts while holding onto a penny sales tax that was intended to bridge the state through the recession. The Republican chief executive told lawmakers he wants to slash income taxes for the state’s lowest wage earners by more than a third while keeping the current state sales tax rate at the current level of 6.3 cents on the dollar.” [Kansas City Star, 1/15/13]
   VI.         MINIMUM WAGE:
Christie Vetoed Minimum Wage Increase. “Gov. Chris Christie rejected a bill today to raise the minimum wage and countered with a proposal of his own, virtually ensuring Democrats will ask voters in November whether they favor a $1-an-hour increase. Christie said the Democrats’ bill, which would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and tied future increases to the rate of inflation, would have hurt the state’s economy.” [Star-Ledger, 1/28/13]
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez Vetoed Minimum Wage Increase. “Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed a proposal by the Democratic-controlled Legislature that would have increased New Mexico’s minimum wage to the fourth highest in the nation. Martinez followed through on an earlier threat and rejected the measure on Friday that would have boosted the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour from $7.50. The governor said the proposed increase would have cost the state jobs.” [Associated Press, 3/29/13]
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Blamed Slow Job Growth On Failed Employee Drug Tests. “If Gov. Corbett learned anything from his 2010 campaign, it should have been the perils of anecdotal claims about Pennsylvania’s unemployed residents.  But there was Corbett Monday, explaining during his monthly ‘Ask The Governor’ show at why the state is lagging in job growth. ‘There are many employers who say, look, we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them,’ Corbett said. ‘And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that.’” [PhillyClout, Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/30/13]
Maine Governor Paul LePage “Faces Backlash Over ‘Vaseline’ Comment.” “Gov. Paul LePage used crude language Thursday to express his frustration over the state budget, targeting a Democratic opponent with a sexually vulgar phrase to describe how he believes he is taking advantage of the people.” [Associated Press, 6/21/13]