Republican governors don't believe their party's talking points

It’s easy to complain about “wasteful government spending” in the stimulus bill when you’re in the Congressional minority. Voting against the stimulus may even be a smart political play for Congressional Republicans.

However, Republican governors who have to balance state budgets in this shrinking economy view the prospect of massive federal government spending differently:

Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama’s economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama’s spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state’s share of the package.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist worked the phones last week with members of his state’s congressional delegation, including House Republicans. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, the Republican vice chairman of the National Governors Association, planned to be in Washington on Monday to urge the Senate to approve the plan. […]

This past week the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress to quickly pass the plan.

“States are facing fiscal conditions not seen since the Great Depression _ anticipated budget shortfalls are expected in excess of $200 billion,” the NGA statement said. “Governors … support several key elements of the bill critical to states-increased federal support for Medicaid and K-12 and higher education; investment in the nation’s infrastructure; and tax provisions to spur investment.”

Will the GOP base become disenchanted with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin because of her public support for the stimulus? I suspect Markos is right:

It complicates matters for the anti-stimulus ideologues who see starbursts in the presence of Palin.

Then again, Palin had no trouble lying about her support for the Bridge to Nowhere. Nothing will stop her from trying to rewrite history three years from now.

Speaking of Palin, I learned from Jeff Angelo that she’s created SarahPAC. Something tells me that a lot of Iowa Republican candidates in will receive generous contributions from this political action committee during the next two election cycles.

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More VP speculation

There’s a lot of chatter about John McCain picking a running mate very soon to redirect the media’s attention from Barack Obama’s foreign trip.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s star has fallen because of revelations that she used the levers of state power to try to punish a former brother-in-law. Why do elected officials think they can get away with stuff like this? I suppose the answer is that many do get away with it, but it’s still bizarre that she would abuse the power of her office with so much on the line for her.

If McCain wants to pick a woman, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison seems like the most logical choice.

Earlier this year there was some buzz about former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as a possible VP choice for McCain, but that must be out of the question now. It was Fiorina’s comment about insurance companies covering Viagra but not birth control pills that led to a embarrassing exchange between a reporter and McCain on the same subject. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is using part of that footage in a television ad aimed at women in six states and the Washington, DC area:

If McCain wants a governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana or Charlie Crist of Florida seem like the leading options. (UPDATE: Jindal took himself out of the running today.) For reasons I don’t understand, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota doesn’t seem to be mentioned often anymore.

I find it interesting that I haven’t ever seen any suggestion that Mike Huckabee is being considered. He was in Des Moines ten days ago for the Iowa GOP state convention and acted like a team player, urging support for McCain in his speech to Republican delegates. It would seem wise for McCain to at least pretend that he is taking Huckabee seriously, although maybe that would just give Huck’s supporters false hopes.

Some pundits are betting on Mitt Romney because of the money his people can raise. Also, his own presidential run makes him more of a seasoned campaigner and known quantity than some of the governors being mentioned.

Not much news on Obama’s search for a running mate has emerged lately. It seems prudent for him to wait to see what McCain does and how the public and media react before making a decision.

Bill Richardson made some good comments about McCain’s “whining” about not getting an op-ed piece published in the New York Times.

I still find it weird that there’s no sign Wes Clark or Joe Biden were even asked to submit information to the committee that is vetting Obama’s options.

I would be shocked if Obama were seriously considering Hillary Clinton at this point. I still think she wouldn’t be a bad choice for him, but given his small lead over McCain in national tracking polls and some of the key states he lost to Hillary Clinton in the primaries, Obama probably believes he doesn’t need her on the ticket. It’s obvious he would prefer not to have to deal with the Clintons.

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New VP speculation open thread

Virginia Senator Jim Webb withdrew his name from consideration as a vice-presidential candidate. That’s a relief from my perspective.

According to Marc Ambinder,

A Democrat close to Webb confirms that a request for documents preceded his declaration to the Obama campaign. The Democrat said that Webb did not want to relive the vigors of a campaign so soon after his election to the Senate.

Like I’ve been saying, Webb does not like campaigning enough to be a good running mate.

Meanwhile, John Edwards will debate “Bush’s brain” Karl Rove on September 26. Some people have interpreted the scheduling of that event as a sign Edwards knows he will not be Obama’s running mate.

I still think Wes Clark would be an excellent choice for Obama, despite the recent dustup over comments he made about John McCain.

Some smart people think he will pick Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, but I still think that it would be a mistake for Obama to choose a woman other than Hillary Clinton.

VP search teams for Obama and McCain have both begun vetting candidates. McCain is said to be considering Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

I tend to agree with Douglas Burns, who wrote that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be a good running mate for McCain.

If McCain is feeling pressure in Florida (a state he must win in order to get 270 electoral votes), he might consider selecting Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Rumors that Crist is gay could be a problem with that scenario. Crist was married to a woman in his early 20s and just got engaged to his current girlfriend.

Put your predictions or opinions about either candidate’s VP choice in the comment section.

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