Washington Conservatives, Leave The States Alone!

Bill Scher

The 2012 Republican Party platform touted the 10th Amendment, because “The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self-government. In establishing a federal system of government, the Framers viewed the States as laboratories of democracy and centers of innovation, as do we.”

And yet, the professional Washington conservative movement just won’t leave the states alone.

In Tennessee, the Republican governor is refusing to repeal investment taxes despite a pressure campaign from the Koch brothers and Grover Norquist because “realistically, you all know our revenue is down this year.”

In Ohio, the Republican governor is fending off attacks from Norquist and defending his roughly revenue-neutral tax reform plan, which cuts income taxes but raises taxes on tobacco and natural gas drilling. Speaking slowly for the anti-tax crowd, he explained, “You have got to have a tax system.”

Why won’t conservatives listen to these “instruments of self-government,” these “laboratories of democracy,” these “centers of innovation”?

Neither Republican governor is being a tax-and-spend liberal. The Ohio governor is backing a Bush-style across-the-board rate cut which will disproportionately favor the wealthy and do nothing for those too poor to pay income tax. The Tennessee governor still brags how his state has no income tax at all.

But both actually have to govern, and that requires getting some revenue from somewhere.

Instead of the letting those governors work out those decisions between their state legislatures and their constituents, Washington conservatives are hell-bent in imposing their extreme anti-tax philosophy on them. Math be damned, and intellectual consistency, too.

Last year, the Republican Party touted their governors as the future of the party, since they “campaigned and governed in a manner that is inclusive and appealing. They point the way forward.”

But when those governors actually govern instead of pandering to blind ideologues, they no longer are treated as the face of the party, let alone get invites to run for president.

Republicans would be a lot easier to take seriously if they treated their serious governors with respect.

There is a reason why Republican Party favorability is at an all-time low. Because they have no national figures who aren’t insane or bumbling or both.

It takes effort, and some courage, to elevate and defend Republicans who put governing first. We’ve yet to see national party leaders or professional movement conservatives do that.

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