The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 30, 2013

RNC report points to governors, but who will lead?

The Republican National Committee (RNC) task force report painted a stark portrait of a party divided between its struggling federal wing and its thriving gubernatorial wing. The GOP's path to rehabilitation may indeed run through the states, but some of the report's assertions about the governors' successes are questionable at best.

Take this one, for starters. The report said: "Eight of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment in America have Republican governors." Factually that's an accurate statement. It is also a misleading statement.

The implicit message is that Republican governors know how to manage the economy. Well, what about states with the highest unemployment? Republicans dominate that group as well. Of the 10 states with the worst unemployment rates, seven are led by Republicans, two by Democrats and one by an independent.

Neither ranking provides an answer to the question of whether Republican economic policies would do more than the Democratic policies to boost the national economy.

Here's another statement from the report: "America is changing demographically and unless Republicans are able to grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction."

The reality is that, over the years, some Republican governors have done a better job of appealing to minority voters than many of the party's presidential nominees. But they are more likely to be the exception than the rule even among governors.

Rick Perry of Texas won 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 2010 reelection. Then Perry got hammered by Mitt Romney and others in the Republican presidential race for being soft on illegal immigrants.

Another sitting governor who can point to strong support from Hispanics is Florida's Rick Scott. He won 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2010. But Florida is an outlier because Cuban-Americans consistently supported GOP candidates (until President Barack Obama narrowly carried them last November).

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