The Washington Post has a front-page story today about the Republican Governors Association meeting being held in Florida this week. Not surprisingly, the guvs are gloomy, and they are pointing fingers at their colleagues in the Administration and Capitol Hill for making a mess of the Republican brand.
But governors, get a grip. Don't expect salvation from Washington. While Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America deserved much credit for bringing the GOP back from the abyss in 1994, its arguments to devolve power to the states and limit the federal government were salable only because people could point to bold, reform-minded governors who were really shaking things up. Think John Engler on education, Tommy Thompson on welfare, and on and on.
Who are the reform governors now? Tim Pawlenty is good on pay-for-performance, and Bobby Jindal got a small voucher program through his Southern legislature. That's an OK start. But??it's not much to brag about.
What the GOP most needs are at least a handful of governors to make bold, competent moves in policy areas voters care about, including education. So who's it going to be?