GOP Governors Distance Themselves From Congress - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

GOP Governors Distance Themselves From Congress

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - As congressional Republicans sink in popular opinion, GOP governors -- including some who might contend for their party's presidential nomination in 2016 --  are happily using the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their beleaguered colleagues on Capitol Hill.

A record 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs, according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, but outside Washington, Republican governors' are faring much better.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is cruising to re-election in deep-blue New Jersey by a 34-point margin over his Democratic challenger.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enjoys a 49-39 percent favorable/unfavorable rating in a state President Barack Obama carried easily last fall, and other Republican governors in blue states -- John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin among them -- have stayed afloat as well.

In short, Republican governors are succeeding where their counterparts on Capitol Hill are failing. And that's why it's pretty difficult right now to find GOP governors willing to praise their party's antics in Congress.

Christie put it especially succinctly in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer's editors on Friday: "If I was in the Senate right now, I'd kill myself."Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the head of the Republican Governors Association who might seek the GOP presidential nomination for himself in 2016, gave voice to the divide on Tuesday: "As Republican governors, we want to reclaim our brand from Washington, D.C.," he said on CNN. "For too many years, we've outsourced what it means to be a Republican -- we defined that in Washington, D.C." Indeed, one of the biggest problems for the Republican Party as a whole is the degree to which the party brand has been defined by GOP lawmakers inside the Beltway.

The ongoing federal government shutdown and threat of default on the national debt --  not to mention, Congress' failure to advance comprehensive immigration reform -- has only turned Republican governors more sharply against Washington.

"My approach would be, as the executive, is to call in the leaders of the Congress, the legislature, whatever you're dealing with, and say, 'We're not leaving this room until we fix this problem, because I'm the boss, I'm in charge,'" Christie said at the outset of the shutdown. Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval warned of "catastrophic" effects for his state unless the shutdown is ended, noting that he was directing his frustration "toward the Congress, all of them, as well as the president, there are starting to be some real consequences here in my state."

And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took to the pages of The Washington Post on Wednesday to favorably compare his own actions as governor against the ongoing dysfunction in D.C. "Our reforms are working, and we continue to work with the legislative branch to do more to improve the lives of the people we represent," Walker wrote. "That's what we're doing in the Badger State. And that's why Wisconsin continues to be open for business."

The shutdown has the added effect of creating a dividing line between Republican governors and Republican members of Congress heading into the 2016 presidential election, as well.Governors are already thought to have an advantage over legislators in presidential nominating contests, able to marshal their accomplishments as executives versus lawmakers, who must often explain a number of less-than-ideal votes they've taken over the years.

To that end, presidential hopefuls in Congress -- Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz among them -- will be forced to answer for their votes on the shutdown. Not just the ones that contributed to the shuttering of the government, but the eventual votes that facilitate an end to the funding impasse. Those votes are ripe enough fodder for a rival candidate to use during the 2016 primaries.

But more to the point, the crop of Republican governors have the option of railing against Washington, as deeply unpopular of a symbol among conservatives as it is among the broader public right now. Or as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- another Republican said to be eyeing the White House in 2016 -- told NBC's Brian Williams, the spectacle in D.C. is "embarrassing." "We still have the partisanship," he said. "And so, my hope is that at least on a few things, we can find enough common ground to move on those and fight the fights in the places where there's big disagreements."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    PHOTOS: Flash flooding & mudslides trap people in Okanogan County

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:12:14 GMT
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers tells KHQ that as of 5:00pm Friday evening, Highway 20 is back open and no homes are threaten after numerous mudslides washed out roads and stranded drivers Thursday night and Friday morning. >>
    OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.- Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers tells KHQ that as of 5:00pm Friday evening, Highway 20 is back open and no homes are threaten after numerous mudslides washed out roads and stranded drivers Thursday night and Friday morning. >>
  • PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    PHOTOS: CASH REWARD offered for information leading to the arrest of these FUGITIVES

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:41 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:41:09 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitives listed on their website as of August 21, 2014. If you recognize any of these fugitives, you are asked call 1-800-222 TIPS.>>
  • Dog recovering from gun shots looks for loving home

    Dog recovering from gun shots looks for loving home

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:00:29 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Just for a second, forget everything you think you know about Pit Bulls. Forget that you think they are vicious or that you've heard they attack children. Approaching this story with an open mind might just change your opinion of what can actually be a very sweet, people-loving breed. A very special pit bull is lucky to be alive after enduring two gun shot wounds and abuse that left her blind in one eye.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Just for a second, forget everything you think you know about Pit Bulls. Forget that you think they are vicious or that you've heard they attack children. Approaching this story with an open mind might just change your opinion of what can actually be a very sweet, people-loving breed. A very special pit bull is lucky to be alive after enduring two gun shot wounds and abuse that left her blind in one eye.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane County Sheriff's Office gets new helicopters thanks to donation

    Spokane County Sheriff's Office gets new helicopters thanks to donation

    Saturday, August 23 2014 2:35 AM EDT2014-08-23 06:35:27 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- In mid-August the Spokane County Sheriff's office announced they're getting new helicopters. The new helicopters will replace the aging Air One chopper that the Sheriff's office uses right now. On Friday we got a first hand look at one of the two helicopters, which were donated by the U.S. Army and cost taxpayers nothing.>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- In mid-August the Spokane County Sheriff's office announced they're getting new helicopters. The new helicopters will replace the aging Air One chopper that the Sheriff's office uses right now. On Friday we got a first hand look at one of the two helicopters, which were donated by the U.S. Army and cost taxpayers nothing.>>
  • Gleason Fest 2014 set for Saturday, August 23rd

    Gleason Fest 2014 set for Saturday, August 23rd

    Saturday, August 23 2014 1:57 AM EDT2014-08-23 05:57:35 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- You've been watching the ALS ice bucket challenges all week, but on Saturday, August 23rd, the mother of all ALS events is set to take place: Gleason Fest 2014. Named for Spokane native and former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason, the event will be held in downtown Spokane at Division and Main.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- You've been watching the ALS ice bucket challenges all week, but on Saturday, August 23rd, the mother of all ALS events is set to take place: Gleason Fest 2014. Named for Spokane native and former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason, the event will be held in downtown Spokane at Division and Main.>>