Thursday, November 13, 2008

The long term GOP health will come from Governors

Is fitting that the Republican Governor's Association is meeting this week. Not since the 1960s have Republicans needed bold and fresh ideas coming from the states for political viability. Simply put, the future of the Republican Party in the United States will not come from Washington, it will come from the states and a governor.

Though things look bleak now for the Republican Party in Washington, there are several Republican Governors, or ex-Governors, that look like future party leaders to get the party back on track. Indeed, the Republican Governors have a deep bench in waiting. Obviously, there is Alaska's Sarah Palin. Add to her name Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Mississippi's Haley Barbour, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, and yes, even our own Mark Sanford shows up on some lists.

The Republican Governors have an opportunity to make a name for themselves at the state level and show how Republican ideals can work for all people in their states.

Modern history shows that is where strong Republican leaders come from. With the exception of General Dwight Eisenhower, every Republican President who served more than four years in office has been a former Governor. Theodore Roosevelt assumed the Presidency in 1901 as Vice President, but was Governor or New York before being elected Vice-President. Roosevelt was elected for four more years in 1904. Calvin Coolidge assumed the Presidency in 1923 upon the death of Warren G. Harding, however, Coolidge had made his bona fides in state government and as Governor of Massachusetts. Coolidge won four more years in 1924, despite the Harding controversies, because of Coolidge's no nonsense reputation won as a Governor. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 as a former Governor of California and won re-election in 1984. Outgoing President George W. Bush was Governor of Texas when elected in 2000.

So it makes historical sense that among those Governors meeting in Miami this week is a potential reviver of the Republican Party and President of the United States. Now more than ever, the future of the Republican Party lies outside of Washington, not within in.


  1. Wait a minute ... Richard Nixon was a former Senator and VP, Gerald Ford ascended from the House to VP and to the Presidency, and Bush Sr. was the same.

    But that still doesn't change the basic premise - Republicans normally have their best results with veteran state-level executives.

  2. Earl, I see what you are saying, but keep in mind that Ford and Bush Sr were one termers, Ford not even elected. Nixon resigned after five and half years.

    The successful Republicans who finished a second term were all Governors, save for Eisenhower.