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."
Wednesday, December 4 2013 10:20 AM EST2013-12-04 15:20:11 GMT
KHQ.COM - If you've ever walked down Frederick near Monroe in north Spokane around this time of year, you've seen it.>>
KHQ.COM - If you've ever walked down Frederick near Monroe in north Spokane around this time of year, you've seen it. How could you not? "Once you start, it has to look halfway decent or else you shouldn't be doing it," Al Materi told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.>>
Tuesday, December 3 2013 5:02 PM EST2013-12-03 22:02:15 GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. - Cynthia Phan has been wondering about and searching for her father since she can remember.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Cynthia Phan has been searching for her father since she can remember. She was born in Vietnam during the war from a Vietnamese mother and an American father, serving in the U.S. army. When her father returned to the U.S., all he left was his photo and a love note; those two things have driven Cynthia for 40+ years to find the man she could call father. >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:47 PM EST2013-12-05 01:47:37 GMT
Law Enforcement Professionals from Spokane, Spokane Valley, the State Patrol, Department Of Corrections, and A.T.F. (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) met with more than 100 inmates.>>
Law Enforcement Professionals from Spokane, Spokane Valley, the State Patrol, Department Of Corrections, and A.T.F. (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) met with more than 100 inmates who will qualify as armed career criminals when they leave prison. They met with the inmates hoping that they understand that they cannot possess or be around firearms.>>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:44 PM EST2013-12-05 01:44:28 GMT
KHQ.COM - Up to 1,000 employees from Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital are on strike.>>
KHQ.COM - Up to 1,000 employees from Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital are on strike. They went on strike Wednesday morning. It's the first strike in Spokane by hospital employees in decades. >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:47 PM EST2013-12-04 23:47:34 GMT
On December 2, 2013 the Stevens County Sheriff's Office was asked to conduct a welfare check on a woman from the Tacoma area who never returned home from the Loon Lake area. >>
On December 2, 2013 the Stevens County Sheriff's Office was asked to conduct a welfare check on a woman from the Tacoma area who never returned home from the Loon Lake area. Deputies say 51-year-old Susan Yager was staying at a cabin on the lake during the holiday weekend, and when she never returned home, family and co-workers called Stevens County for a welfare check.>>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:30 PM EST2013-12-04 23:30:38 GMT
KHQ.COM - On Wednesday afternoon a Washington State Patrol trooper crashed while driving to stop a wrong-way driver on Hwy. 195 just 3 miles south of Spokane.>>
KHQ.COM - On Wednesday afternoon a Washington State Patrol trooper crashed while driving to stop a wrong-way driver on Hwy. 195 just 3 miles south of Spokane. The northbound lane was partially blocking for a short time, but it was opened shortly after. This is the 4th wrong way crash on Hwy. 195 in as many months.>>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:15 PM EST2013-12-04 23:15:22 GMT
SPOKANE, Wash. - Around 8:30am Wednesday morning crews responded to a barn fire at 5700 N. Havana. No one was inside the barn but it was full of arcade games.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Around 8:30am Wednesday morning crews responded to a barn fire at 5700 N. Havana. No one was inside the barn but it was full of arcade games. The building was part of a business the homeowner ran called Bullseye Amusements. The homeowner was the one who noticed the fire. LAUNCH THE SLIDESHOW INSIDE>>> >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 5:04 PM EST2013-12-04 22:04:15 GMT
KHQ.COM - CDA Police are asking for your help locating 49-year-old Michael Morehead. He was reported missing back on Nov. 22nd.>>
KHQ.COM - CDA Police are asking for your help locating 49-year-old Michael Morehead. He was reported missing back on Nov. 22nd. Monday detectives pinged his phone and determined he is somewhere in the Fernan Saddle area. READ MORE DETAILS INSIDE OF THE STORY>>> >>