Will Republican governors be the biggest winners in the shutdown?

posted at 3:21 pm on October 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

One of the toughest tasks after the end of the 2013 budget standoff is trying to choose a winner.  There aren’t many options, thanks to the fumbling on all sides of the impasse.  It’s not House Republicans, obviously, but after the numerous rejections of reasonable appropriations over the two weeks of the shutdown, it’s not Senate Democrats, either.

Nor does the White House have a claim on it, as much as Barack Obama wants to claim the mantle today by, er, blaming bloggers and pundits for Washington’s ills, a rather startling display of impotence from the Oval Office.  Obama had plenty of opportunity to position himself as an executive negotiator and to demonstrate care over the impact of the shutdown, if for no other reason than to contrast that with Republicans refusing to budge.  Instead, the Obama administration went far out of its way to be petty, especially through abusing the National Park Service, and declaring that presidents shouldn’t be forced to negotiate on budgets.

Everyone inside the Beltway is a loser in this episode — but that lifts those outside of it, as National Journal’s Matthew Cooper notes:

Republican Governors (Winners) – Chris Christie looked like a mensch when he came through D.C. during the crisis telling Fox News: “Everybody plays brinksmanship and people who I have spoken with across the country, they’re tired of it and no one’s going to come out this unscathed in Washington nor should they be.” But every Republican governor who harbors presidential aspirations, whether it’s Christie, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, or others, looks like Churchill compared to this crowd. Americans elected three people straight from the Senate in the last 100 years – Warren Harding, John Kennedy, and Barack Obama. It’s hard to see why they’d dip into the Senate pool (or, Ayn Rand forbid, the House) pool after this mess. But the men from Trenton and Baton Rouge look a lot better by comparison.

Cooper misses two that are more likely to catch national attention — Susana Martinez, whose popularity as governor in New Mexico is astounding, and Scott Walker, who has demonstrated tremendous tenacity as governor in Wisconsin.  We could also include Indiana’s Mike Pence, a conservative House favorite who went back home to add executive experience to his resume.

Cooper casts Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell as winners, but that’s not terribly likely.  Even though they cut the deal in the end, the question will be why they didn’t do so earlier.  Plus, the sight just got kicked down the road a few months, which means we’ll get even more chances to experience the pettiness that was on display over the last few weeks.

Both Cooper and Michael Hirsh think that another big winner was … Hillary Clinton?

In the innermost sanctum of Clintonland, it is difficult to imagine that Hillary and Bill, two of the savviest politicians in the country, are not pinching themselves to make sure that it’s all real. Perhaps they’re dancing a jig together, or knocking back shots and howling at the moon out of sheer, giddy joy at their good luck. (OK, Hillary’s not howling, but Bill might be.) Or maybe they are just quietly kvelling over the latest turn of events.

Because the trend lines are unmistakable, and they’re looking better all the time: If she wants to run in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton could have the easiest walk into the White House of any candidate in either party since, well, one has to go back a very long way. Maybe to Reagan in ’84. LBJ in ’64, or Eisenhower in ’52, or even FDR in 1932, 1936 and 1940. The presidency is looking like it’s hers to lose, more than ever.

The reasons are becoming more obvious with each passing crisis of Republicanism, but are even starker now in the wake of the GOP’s embarrassing implosion over the shutdown and debt-ceiling fight. This is an opposition party in such a state of extreme dysfunction that talk of a third-party split in 2016 is almost irrelevant. Why would you need a third-party split to win—as Bill did, recall, cheating George H.W. Bush out of a second term in 1992 thanks to the Ross Perot candidacy—when the base and establishment of the GOP are no longer on speaking terms?

Remember when poor Mitt Romney, who even in the best of fettle was not a very smooth or relaxed guy, twisted himself into an unrecognizable pretzel to win over the base? When a man who’d been a fairly effective Massachusetts governor felt he had to disown his greatest achievement, universal health care, and virtually emasculate himself before the general election in order to triumph in the primaries, thus losing all credibility (or at least identity) by the fall? When Romney believed he had to out-Santorum Rick Santorum, the man once voted the second dumbest senator, and go even more conservative on immigration than not-ready-for-prime-time Rick “Oops” Perry?

Well, guess what, it’s only gotten worse for reasonable Republicans who might have a shot at winning a general election against a popular Democratic nominee. Whatever rational, impressive candidate lays claim to the GOP nomination in 2016 — say, the popular, newly trimmed-down but currently-all-too-moderate New Jersey governor, Chris Christie — is now going to have to out-Cruz Ted Cruz. And that’s just not possible. Finding a place to the right of Ted Cruz, as brazen a demagogue who has come along in American politics since Huey Long, is like reaching the edge of the Internet and then trying to go beyond. You can’t do it. Nor would you want to try. Nor could you ever win a general election doing so.

It’s not going to be necessary.  Washington is going to be the big drag on Senatorial bids in 2016, and Cruz will not have enough time to overcome that.  Republicans do best when they find authentic and accomplished conservatives among the gubernatorial ranks (Reagan and Bush 43 come to mind), and putting another Clinton on the ticket will make the Democratic ticket the Beltway Forever campaign. If Democrats were smart, they’d also be looking outside the Beltway for their next presidential nominee after this episode.


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Quite possibly my favorite Khillary screenshot to date.

Just need somebody to hastily photoshop those glasses on.

Jeddite on October 17, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Oh yeah, there she is: Khillary Klinton 2016

Jeddite on October 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM

… and Scott Walker, who has demonstrated tremendous tenacity as governor in Wisconsin.

Mr. Immigration Reform/Path to Citizenship guy? Yeah … um, no.

M240H on October 17, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Hillary Rodham Clinton could have the easiest walk into the White House of any candidate in either party since, well, one has to go back a very long way. Maybe to Reagan in ’84. LBJ in ’64, or Eisenhower in ’52, or even FDR in 1932, 1936 and 1940. The presidency is looking like it’s hers to lose, more than ever.

Eh? Why are you posting articles from 2007??

Also, noteworthy that Rand Paul managed to stay out of the way of traffic from both sides on this. If he’s not a winner, he’s at least not lost very much.

Gingotts on October 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

The more Hillary does public appearances and interviews, the more her picture is shown, and ladies and gentlemen, that will destroy her candidacy in very short order.

Johnnyreb on October 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

One of the toughest tasks after the end of the 2013 budget standoff is trying to choose a winner.

Ed, not only is it far too early to try to undertake this prognostication, there is a reason why it appears so tough….

….because there really isn’t a winner in the mix – just various levels of losing to be assigned and debated.

Well, ok, if one is willing to call a Pyrrhic victory a victory nonetheless – but to me, those victories are claimed or assigned to those who lost the least.

It’s not unlike the Charlie Sheen definition of ‘winning’….

Athos on October 17, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Why not Herbert of Utah? He’s the guy who cracked open the Interior department and got the National Parks reopened in the shutdown. Utah has weathered the “Great Recession” quite well–I see plenty of advertising for Jobs.

Utah, along with Texas, is home to a huge number of fleeing california companies. The state is fiscally sound, with the top priority refilling the rainy day fund.

Of course, those are blessings we get from being able to essentially ignore the Democrats. Compare and Contrast Utah and Texas–both run by one party Republican states, versus California and Illinois, one party Democrat states.

There’s no contest. Why not Herbert, along with Perry, in the mix?

Vanceone on October 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Is that a picture of John C. Calhoun?

Oil Can on October 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Isn’t Hillary always the winner in everything political?

Thats the narrative, right?

Lying, cheating, sexual predator husband, winner: Hillary
Botched foreign policy, winner: Hillary
4 dead Americans, including a horrific lie at the feet of the 4 dead caskets and their family, winner: Hillary
Quit her job to rack of bogus trophy’s, winner: Hillary

I mean, its almost as if she is anointed to win…

Odie1941 on October 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Martinez is an amnesty person. I live an hour from the Texas/NM border. If she’s so popular-why do I see so many of her citizens working here?
Hmmm.

annoyinglittletwerp on October 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Because Democrats NEVER need to win over the base. They NEVER need to worry about losing the moderates. Because no matter how socialist-utopian insane they are, no one will ever call them on it because they’re too busy Loving Big Brother.

Darin on October 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Is that a picture of John C. Calhoun?

Oil Can on October 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

I thought it was this guy.

M240H on October 17, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Republican governor and Democrat governors alike are going to find their states facing monumental difficulties and a massive drain in resources and it has little to do with the current budget debate since the budgets will not include the upcoming amnesty impact.

Obama is beginning his Immigration Reform push. The package contains not only amnesty for all of those in the nation illegally, it also contains a push to triple legal immigration to 33 million over the next decade. This figure does not include ‘guest workers’ or, of course, the future wave of illegal aliens, not does it account for the chain migration that will follow the legalization of at least 11 million currently illegal immigrants.

Even conservatives are lending their support to immigration reform. Amnesty. The difference is simply that the legislation being prepared in the House will take a ‘piecemeal’ approach to passing comprehensive immigration reform. From what lawmakers like Ryan and Cruz have said in the last month or two, the differences with The Gang of Eight bill are a matter of numbers not substance, and only the fig leaf of passing a bill requiring ‘border security’ but not including a front loaded mandate to link any amnesty to enforcement and results first before amnesty is currently on the table.

So the fact is that we will likely see a massive new amnesty program to the tune of 11 million plus individuals, increased legal immigration, increased number of worker visas, and more illegal immigration since those who choose to break our immigration laws are rewarded handsomely for that lawlessness, and unbridled chain migration. Every newly legalized immigrant will be required under Obamacare to have health insurance, and since most will claim poverty, they will require subsidies for that as well as being eligible to sign up for most welfare programs. It’s also a little optimistic to expect people who’ve successfully ignored the law and been rewarded for it to become model citizens and begin to pay their fair share of taxes. The CBO has estimated that the cost of adding the 11 million illegal aliens in the pipeline for amnesty will be about $2 Trillion over the first decade. So much for bending the cost curve down. Doesn’t matter what side of the immigration debate you’re standing on… the states and the federal treasury will be heavily impacted.

thatsafactjack on October 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

You’re overlooking the pent up desire to elect the first female president. Fresh off the disaster of electing an unqualified hack as the first black president liberals are in a froth to check the next great box on affirmative action.

Think about it, how many posts have you seen advocating for electing the most qualified person (who happens to be female) as President? Me neither.

Rufus on October 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

OT

Not the best day for me to see a car on the road with vanity plates “LENIN”. I really wanted to start being Mad Max.

freedomfirst on October 17, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Both Cooper and Michael Hirsh think that another big winner was … Hillary Clinton?

Ugh. This is so frickin’ tiring. In the present era of government by crisis each crisis is, was and in the future will be Bush’s fault. And each crisis is yet another opportunity to somehow, no matter how convoluted the effort must be, try to figure out how it affects Hillary. Blah, blah, blah.

DaveDief on October 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM

If Democrats were smart, they’d also be looking outside the Beltway for their next presidential nominee after this episode.

The thing about this is that the Democrats prefer to embrace the cult of the charismatic ideologue as their standard bearer. While that does seem to put Hillary at the top of the heap at this point, her baggage from 1992 on, and most recently Benghazi, should bring pause to any logical thinker.

Also, IMHO, when it comes to the Democrat Party, it’s far less about ‘inside the Beltway’ or ‘outside the Beltway’ and all about loyalty to the Party and the progressive-fascist agenda.

Athos on October 17, 2013 at 3:46 PM

If she wants to run in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton could have the easiest walk into the White House of any candidate

Er…..didn’t the EXPERTS say the same of Hillary! back in 2007?

Or have they forgotten, seeing as “it was such a long time ago”?

REMEMBER BENGHAZI!

GarandFan on October 17, 2013 at 3:47 PM

I can already tell by some of these comments that none of these governors are gonna have unified support amongst the base. They all have faults that some people will use as litmus tests. 2016 looks like it’s gonna suck.

cdog0613 on October 17, 2013 at 3:49 PM

If Cruz rankles everyone inside the beltway, does he still count as inside-the-beltway?

crrr6 on October 17, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Yeah.. I’ll never vote for the blowhard from New Jersey and Jindal has basically fallen off the radar (despite being the head of the RGA). I think that his strategy late last year to critize Romney right after the election was unhelpful. However, Martinez is a really nice possibility. She apparently has a 70% approval rating in New Mexico.

Illinidiva on October 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

If Democrats were smart

They wouldn’t be Democrats…

mankai on October 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

If Cruz rankles everyone inside the beltway, does he still count as inside-the-beltway?

crrr6 on October 17, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Yep.. but one that is a smarmy a$$ you cannot play nice with his colleagues.

Illinidiva on October 17, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Illinidiva on October 17, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Likes the Martinez the moderate-but disses Cruz the conservative.
Figures. //

annoyinglittletwerp on October 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Ted Cruz is one of the few Republican’s(spit) that I would support for President. Anyone else, I stay home.

Mr. Arrogant on October 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Finding a place to the right of Ted Cruz, as brazen a demagogue who has come along in American politics since Huey Long, is like reaching the edge of the Internet and then trying to go beyond. You can’t do it. Nor would you want to try. Nor could you ever win a general election doing so.

Hm. Two things come to mind, involving Reagan (Cruz isn’t Reagan, of course, but stay with me…)

A. For some reason, I read this in the 1979 voice of George H.W. Bush, decrying that barn-burner who’s staking out radical positions outside the reasonable center of the GOP platform.

B. Say, has Cruz ever mentioned “welfare queens,” the “evil empire,” or other crazy talk like that? Voters will never go for such an ideologue…

/s

cs89 on October 17, 2013 at 4:08 PM

The governors do look better, at least to me, as a reasonable choice for the next president. Someone with experience at… you know… governing… seems a far more prudent choice for the head of the Executive Branch than someone who’s only experience has been as a law maker and/or an administrator of a government agency. Particularly on the heels of our current president, elevated, as he was, from the back bench of the senate.

However, it’s difficult to choose a governor who might be called a ‘winner’ in terms of garnering credit and support for 2016 since we have three years ahead of us that are going to present massive challenges to all of the governors. A few weeks can be the equivalent of light years in politics. Three years is too far out for me to begin seriously choosing potential candidates despite the decent record some of our governors have produced thus far and the current object lesson in why we don’t generally choose our presidents from the legislature.

thatsafactjack on October 17, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Ugh. This is so frickin’ tiring. In the present era of government by crisis each crisis is, was and in the future will be Bush’s fault. And each crisis is yet another opportunity to somehow, no matter how convoluted the effort must be, try to figure out how it affects Hillary. Blah, blah, blah.

DaveDief on October 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Agree

Tomatoes could solve the food shortage… Hillary looking good

Mutant aliens discovered in Utah… Hillary looking good

Hillary hasn’t done Cr@p that I can find

She’s an empty book

entagor on October 17, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Dems like to double down

cmsinaz on October 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Blood clot.

In both the medical and Jamaican reference.

1921 C DRUM on October 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Perry, Pence and Jindal are the big winners. But IMO Jindal is the only one will relevant experience to tackle successfully unwinding Obamacare and providing better alternatives.

Perry has that whole “part time legislatures” mantra that may just be as good if he can carry it to Washington.

as an aside, it’s rather funny typing Obamacare and seeing it spelled checked on an iphone with a pop up reading “no replacement found”. Another obamacare404

can_con on October 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Yeah, I think one electing one president a century based on hope, aspirations and demographics, rather than record of accomplishment, capabilities and a positive agenda for the country is enough, thank you very much.

The country is in wreckage based on eight years of this incapable buffoon in the White House. Hillary was a big part of this monstrosity, including getting an American Ambassador killed and covering it up.

I don’t think this is a cakewalk at all to the presidency for her. Rememeber, a lot of people other than her adoring media get to vote in our elections. At least for the time being anyway.

So methinks you better put off the coronation.

Marcus Traianus on October 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I’m not at all sure how a gigantic big government screw-up across the board, including a healthcare roll-out disaster, benefits the heiress-in-waiting of socialized medicine who gladly and harshly represents bigger, angrier, more left-wing, & intrusive government but I’m not a smart man.

From a flaming liberal transformationist standpoint, Hillary is Obama on steroids minus the ability to fake being likeable.

While Obama may often pull a fast one and smile for the cameras, Hillary is a shrieking harpy of the first order all the time, who doesn’t even try to appeal to anyone not a hardcore card-carrying, lefty nutter.

I think if any 2016 would-be’s benefit from this whole debacle its a Governor from somewhere, and not a career beltway figure, especially one as radical, polarizing and carelessly incompetent as Hillary Clinton.

Sacramento on October 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

Both Cooper and Michael Hirsh think that another big winner was … Hillary Clinton?

In Beltway Punditland, EVERYTHING makes Hillary Clinton a winner. The script is pre-written.

Seriously, look at this quote and tell me if that isn’t unsupportable wishful thinking:

Because the trend lines are unmistakable, and they’re looking better all the time: If she wants to run in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton could have the easiest walk into the White House of any candidate in either party since, well, one has to go back a very long way. Maybe to Reagan in ’84. LBJ in ’64, or Eisenhower in ’52, or even FDR in 1932, 1936 and 1940. The presidency is looking like it’s hers to lose, more than ever.

And then there’s this bit of nonsense:

Finding a place to the right of Ted Cruz, as brazen a demagogue who has come along in American politics since Huey Long, is like reaching the edge of the Internet and then trying to go beyond. You can’t do it. Nor would you want to try. Nor could you ever win a general election doing so.

How exactly is Ted Cruz a demagogue? Does he run on a platform of blaming Big Oil or The Evil Wealthy?

Any reasonable definition of demagogue fits Barack Obama a whole lot better than Ted Cruz.

This is just more inside-the-beltway rationalization.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Oh yeah, there she is: Khillary Klinton 2016

Jeddite on October 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That is so gross. But funny, because it’s true.

SailorMark on October 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I doubt Christie is any more likely to win the nomination today than he was a month ago.

I have some doubt that some doubt that Kasich will be re-elected Governor. Certainly I — who voted for him in 2010 — won’t. But maybe he’s Lincolnesque, and statewide losses can’t stop him.

I like Jindl. But I liked him a month ago.

NCC on October 17, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Hillary may be big winner but she far from a savvey politician. Her strength comes from being wife of Bill the darling of the Press. Otherwise she has the tinniest ear of any politician on the national stage. Since we are into winners and losers I will go against the conventional wisdom. Who is the biggest winner on the Democrat side aisle? Corey Booker. Remember that name in 2016. If he decides he wants President he will steamroll Hillary.

jerryofva on October 17, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Likes the Martinez the moderate-but disses Cruz the conservative.
Figures. //

annoyinglittletwerp on October 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I don’t like Cruz because he comes off like a smarmy, know-it-all. He is the kid who totally made sure that the teacher gave homework over the weekend or tattled about something.

B. Say, has Cruz ever mentioned “welfare queens,” the “evil empire,” or other crazy talk like that? Voters will never go for such an ideologue…

Because Reagan had a pleasing personality. Style and tone matter alot. Cruz doesn’t have that sunny, optimistic personality. He is a snobby, Ivy League know it all. Basically, I think that he and Obama have lots in common in terms of personality. They must put something in the water at Harvard.

Illinidiva on October 17, 2013 at 5:26 PM

If she wants to run in 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton could have the easiest walk into the White House of any candidate in either party since, well, one has to go back a very long way. Maybe to Reagan in ’84.

You are out of your mind.

John the Libertarian on October 17, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Cooper misses two that are more likely to catch national attention — Susana Martinez, whose popularity as governor in New Mexico is astounding…

This was true of Sarah Palin also, she used to appear on Glenn Beck, as governor of Alaska, and we never could have known she would have been made into a joke by Tina Fey and the MSM. She was popular with republicans and democrats because she fought corruption in her state. She was effective as governor until they sent all the reporter that should have been vetting Barach Obama to Alaska to see if there was any dirt on her there, and creating rumors.

Fleuries on October 17, 2013 at 7:43 PM

(OK, Hillary’s not howling, but Bill might be.)

No, Hillary’s not howling. She’s cackling like the witch that she is. God willing, she’s as (in)evitable as she was way back in 2008.

kscheuller on October 17, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Palin /West ; Cruz Senate majority leader; Burgess Speaker of House

ChuckTX on October 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

ChuckTX on October 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Peery/Pence. Palin for AZ senator. Cruz for SML.
*Palin’s never going to be president. You need to let it go.*

annoyinglittletwerp on October 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM

…why did my pecker…just hide?

KOOLAID2 on October 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Governors know how to manage and execute; most senators spend their lives taking pot shots at others. I’d vote for any R governor over any D, any day (OK, I’d vote for a R senator) but definitely would prefer gubernatorial experience.

As for Mrs. Clinton, that’s a lousy photo but she’s been hiding lately – the few, possibly recent photos, show her looking much better.

MN J on October 18, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Hillary might be feeling good right now, but she’ll never be able to win the White House in 2016. After the constant campaigner-in-chief’s last election in 2014 is over, they will finally fully drop the O’care bomb on the American people. And that my friends will assure that no Dem will inherit the White House in 2016.

supersport667 on October 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

This was true of Sarah Palin also, she used to appear on Glenn Beck, as governor of Alaska, and we never could have known she would have been made into a joke by Tina Fey and the MSM. She was popular with republicans and democrats because she fought corruption in her state. She was effective as governor until they sent all the reporter that should have been vetting Barach Obama to Alaska to see if there was any dirt on her there, and creating rumors.

Let’s not forget all the legal pressure they put on Palin until she made the career-killing move of quitting her job. (You can spin and explain her actions all you want, but the MSM is gonna make sure that all the general voting public knows of Palin is “QUITTER”.)

Martinez and Haley would do well to test the political waters for a ’16 White House bid. We have three years? Try two. These days you’re considered late if you’ve not declared candidacy even a year and a half before Election Day.

TMOverbeck on October 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM