Texas Gov. Rick Perry in December. (Michael Justus/Associated Press) Texas Gov. Rick Perry in December. (Michael Justus/Associated Press)

There are many factors working in favor of picking a governor as the 2016 Republican presidential nominee. It is not merely that they are less wacky, unreliable and off-putting than Senate aspirants, although this is true.

The Post reported this week:

The wave of Republican governors elected in 2010, during the depths of the economic recession, spent the first several years in office battling the same fallout of the slow and jobless recovery that had doomed Democratic predecessors at the polls.

For many, the result was public disappointment and low job-approval ratings in the early years of their tenure.

But as the national economy has rebounded, so, too, have the political fortunes of those Republican governors — reducing Democrats’ chances of denying them reelection this year.

As the 2014 battles for the governor’s mansion in 36 states heat up, the slow but steady economic recovery has given incumbents once beset by low poll numbers something to brag about.

There are legitimate questions about how much credit is due to the Federal Reserve, to the GOP House’s ability to hold taxes to a minimum and to the normal business cycle. However, to the extent GOP governors can claim progress well beyond the national average they’ll be in good shape. (Gov. John Kasich of Ohio can claim “Ohio’s economy has added 124,500 jobs and the unemployment rate is down two percentage points”; Texas Gov. Rick Perry can tout, “Texas added 33,100 jobs in April [2013] — more than any other state — despite the federal payroll tax increase, U.S. spending cuts and a global slowdown. The state also added the most jobs nationally — 326,100 — over the last 12 months [preceding April 2013]”.) For those seeking reelection, the economic numbers will help a Republican win.

In a piece in December, the state affairs director for Americans for Tax Reform pointed out, “Since 2011, 19 of the 30 sitting Republican governors have cut taxes by a cumulative $38 billion.” That is not only a bullet point on a candidate’s resume, it is tipping the map away from blue states. “According to IRS data, during the last decade, more than three million taxpayers on net fled New York, California, and Illinois, taking over $95 billion in income with them to friendlier tax climates of states like Texas, Nevada, Utah, and Florida,” he writes.

In short, virtually every GOP governor has a record of accomplishment that far exceeds anything (which is nothing) Senate gadflies have done. Americans for Tax Reform again:

[There are] Bobby Jindal’s education reforms that will enable thousands of Louisiana children to escape failing schools; Scott Walker’s entitlement reforms, which have put Wisconsin on sound financial footing and are allowing for property tax relief; Rick Snyder’s labor reforms, which free Michigan workers from coerced unionization; and the pro-growth tax relief signed into law by Mike Pence in Indiana, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Pat McCrory in North Carolina, Sean Parnell in Alaska, John Kasich in Ohio, and Sam Brownback in Kansas.

That not only makes them more qualified for reelection against challengers, but also more qualified than Senate ideologues. Republicans will get the chance to decide in 2016 whether they want a doer or a talker. After eight years of a talker in the White House, the edge goes to the doers.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
Continue reading