Exposed In VA, GOP Govs Take Fraudulent Anti-DC Campaign to Scottsdale
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Danny Kanner, DGA Communications Director
DATE: November 20, 2013
RE: Exposed In VA, GOP Govs Take Fraudulent Anti-DC Campaign to Scottsdale
At the RGA’s annual conference in Las Vegas just one year ago, incoming Chair Bobby Jindal attacked 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney for dividing the American people and argued that Republicans “need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education.”
The rhetoric made a lot of sense. But what was the first thing Republicans did heading into the 2013 off-year elections? They nominated Tea Party hero and renowned social crusader Ken Cuccinelli for governor in Virginia.
Cuccinelli had spent a career focused on a divisive social agenda that alienates women, young people, immigrants, and gay Americans. And when he did propose an economic plan, it was the same-old Republican scheme – cut taxes for the ultra-rich and major corporations and pay for it by raising middle class taxes and gutting core investments in education.
Like Romney before him, Cuccinelli was rejected by voters.
Now, exposed in Virginia as identical to the Republican Party that was defeated across the country in 2012, Republican governors will gather in Scottsdale this week to communicate the only message they have left: “At least we’re not like those guys in DC!”
But the message simply bears no resemblance to reality. Republican governors, particularly those elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, have spent the last three years implementing the economic and social agendas that House Republicans could only dream of getting done. In doing so, they’ve fostered the same hostility, divisiveness, and partisan tone seen every day in Washington. And they have the miserable approval numbers to prove it.
Despite their Scottsdale rhetoric, here’s the truth about Republican governors:
I. They’re Implementing The Agenda The House GOP Could Only Dream Of Getting Done
Jindal’s attacks on Romney notwithstanding, Republican governors are implementing their former standard-bearer’s agenda state-by-state. For example:
- Scott Walker, Tom Corbett, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, Sam Brownback and Paul LePage – to varying degrees – raised middle class taxes and gutted education to pay for tax cuts for the ultra-rich and major corporations;
- Rick Scott, Corbett, Kasich, and Walker forced medically unnecessary ultrasounds on women making the most personal of health care decisions;
- Rick Perry, Kasich, and Walker defunded Planned Parenthood and closed women’s health centers;
- Pat McCrory, Perry, Walker, Kasich, and Corbett disenfranchised voters for partisan benefit; and
- Snyder, Kasich, and Walker launched divisive attacks on workers.
This is the same right-wing agenda that voters rejected in 2012 and that House Republicans would be implementing today if not for a Democratic Senate and Democratic president. On policy, Republican governors are still no different than Mitt Romney or Republicans in Washington.
II. They’ve Fostered The Same Hostility, Divisiveness & Partisan Tone In Their States That Exists In DC
By pursuing a deeply unpopular agenda that does nothing to create jobs or strengthen the middle class, Republican governors have fostered the same hostility, divisiveness, and partisan tone in their states that’s seen in Washington every day. Rather than bringing people together to solve problems, these governors consider it more important to pick ideological fights. For example:
- 100,000 protestors descended on the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, to fight back against Scott Walker’s attacks on collective bargaining rights. The partisan spectacle played out on television sets all across the country.
- John Kasich lobbied individual senators to pass Senate Bill 5, a deeply controversial attack on collective bargaining rights in Ohio. The resulting ballot-fight attracted thousands of protestors and massive national attention. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Kasich’s effort in the end, but the damage had been done.
- Despite repeatedly saying that a so-called right-to-work law was “not on my agenda,” Rick Snyder signed it within hours of a lame-duck legislature passing the bill. Again, Snyder’s dishonest attack on workers drew massive rallies at the Capitol in Lansing and an extended fight in the courts.
- In what became a national event, gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis filibustered a legislative attack on women’s health care rights in the Texas Senate. With the support of right-wing Attorney General Greg Abbott, Rick Perry ultimately signed the divisive law despite the well-deserved uproar that surrounded the entire process.
All of these incidents made the federal government’s shutdown saga look tame.
And like the shutdown, these ideological battles haven’t just divided Democrats and Republicans – they’ve exposed a rift within the Republican Party. It was Republicans in the Louisiana legislature who killed Bobby Jindal’s radical scheme to raise the sales tax in order to pay for a complete elimination of the state income tax. And again, it was Republicans in the Ohio legislature who dramatically scaled down a similar proposal by Kasich.
It’s gotten so bad that Kasich’s policies have invited a third-party challenger on his right who is drawing six percent of the vote according to a recent poll, leaving Kasich tied with Democrat Ed FitzGerald. And in Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett’s extreme policies and utter incompetence have led 44 percent of Republicans to say he shouldn’t even run for reelection.
But that’s far from the only bad news facing the RGA headed into 2014.
III. The Public Has Soured On Them
Because of their failed, top-down economic philosophy, radical social policies, and inability to bring people together to solve problems in a civil way, Republican governors are suffering in public opinion polls. Here’s a sample:
|Arizona||Jan Brewer||31%||[BRC, 8/27/13]|
|Florida||Rick Scott||33%||[PPP, 10/1/13]|
|Georgia||Nathan Deal||44%||[PPP, 10/10/13]|
|Kansas||Sam Brownback||35%||[SurveyUSA, 10/23/13]|
|Louisiana||Bobby Jindal||28%||[PPP, 8/21/13]|
|Maine||Paul LePage||41%||[PPP, 11/12/13]|
|Michigan||Rick Snyder||44%||[EPIC MRA, 9/11/13]|
|North Carolina||Pat McCrory||39%||[PPP, 11/13/13]|
|Ohio||John Kasich||42%||[PPP, 11/12/13]|
|Pennsylvania||Tom Corbett||19%||[F&M, 10/31/13]|
|South Carolina||Nikki Haley||44%||[Winthrop University Poll, 10/27/13]|
|Wisconsin||Scott Walker||49%||[Marquette University Law School Poll, 10/29/13]|
This is particularly dangerous for those governors up for reelection in 2014. Rick Scott, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, Tom Corbett, Scott Walker, and Paul LePage are all running in states President Obama won twice, and are statistically tied or behind in hypothetical matchups against their Democractic opponents. Strong Democratic candidates in South Carolina, Kansas, and Georgia are all in striking distance of Sam Brownback, Nathan Deal, and Nikki Haley, according to recent polls.
As Chair of the RGA, Bobby Jindal failed to deliver on his Las Vegas rhetoric. And more importantly, he failed to win the one competitive election of 2013 despite dumping more than $8 million into the Virginia race – giving the DGA victories in eight of the nine elections since 2010 in which the two organizations have gone head-to-head.
With Chris Christie preparing to take over, Republican governors are deeply vulnerable to defeat because they’ve pursued an agenda that was rejected by voters in Virginia and across the country in 2012 on both economic and social policy; they’ve fostered a partisan climate comparable to the one in Washington; and the public has soured on them.
While Christie was able to distract from the substantive issues of his reelection campaign through sheer force of personality, Kasich, Walker, Synder, Scott, and crew just aren’t Chris Christie – they’ll be forced to defend their records. That’s awful news for the RGA and a reality that should cause great concern in Scottsdale this week.