Taking Back the States: Massachusetts' Deval Patrick, New York's Eliot Spitzer, and Ohio's Ted Strickland Head a New Crop of Democratic Governors Who Can Renew American Progressivism

By Klein, Ezra | The American Prospect, January-February 2007 | Go to article overview

Taking Back the States: Massachusetts' Deval Patrick, New York's Eliot Spitzer, and Ohio's Ted Strickland Head a New Crop of Democratic Governors Who Can Renew American Progressivism


Klein, Ezra, The American Prospect


If the states, as Louis Brandeis put it, are the laboratories of democracy, then it's only fitting that the 2006 election, which ushered in a host of eager new experimenters, fell just a week before Brandeis' 150th birthday. For the first time since 1994, Democrats now control a majority of governorships in the country--28 in all. Even as Washington faces the prospect of continuing gridlock, these new governors enter oace with the potential to spark a progressive restoration across the country--and emerge a particularly potent presidential farm team.

The action in government has been in the states for a while now. "The federal government has increasingly devolved decision-making to the governors," says Peter Dreier, the E.P Clapp distinguished professor of polities at Occidental College in Los Angeles. This was, in part, an ideological shift: The Gingrich Revolution trumpeted its renewed federalism, enhancing state authority over everything from welfare to Medicaid. States can't deficit spend, so handing them once-federal responsibilities under the rubric of a restored federalism promised to shrink the expansiveness, generosity, and responsiveness of government services. Federalist lipstick? Meet small-government pig.

But it's not easy being a service-slashing ideologue on the state level. "Republican governors tend to be more liberal than Republican senators and congressmen," Dreier explains. "Governors can see the consequences of federal cutbacks and unfunded federal mandates. They see the consequences of letting cities deteriorate. They have to pay for the Medicaid patients. They have to pay for the consequences of housing cuts."

So Republican governors operate in tension with Republican congresses. They need federal appropriations to invest in infrastructure, keep their fiscal status sound, and provide popular services their party finds ideologically objectionable. As Bush's budget director, Mitch Daniels was a supply-sider so committed that Grover Norquist named him 2002's "Hero of the American taxpayer." But after becoming governor of Indiana, he promptly broke Norquist's heart by raising taxes. Daniels, a crestfallen Norquist cried, "was closing Indiana for business!" Which is to say, he was governing.

Democratic executives, however, can envision a much more synergistic working relationship with the rest of their party. "With Congress now in the hands of Democrats," says Dreier, "the Democratic governors will have willing partners in trying to help the governors solve the problems of education, housing, the environment, and so on." Congressional Democrats, both ideologically in sync with their statehouse partners and cognizant of the political benefits their successes make possible (today's governor could be tomorrow's president), can use their control of the federal purse to further, not impede, the priorities of their gubernatorial allies.

That vastly brightens the prospects for the new crop of Democratic governors, three of whom in particular appear candidates for actually using their states as "laboratories of democracy." Ohio's Ted Strickland wants to reinvent a battered economy, New York's Eliot Spitzer is determined to tame a cumbersome bureaucracy, and Massachusetts' Deval Patrick is shaping the nation's first near-universal health-care system.

And maybe, with a dash of congressional cooperation and a bit of luck, they can actually deliver.

In 1942, the economist Joseph Schumpeter introduced the concept of "creative destruction," capitalism's chaotic process of crushing established companies and replacing them with nimbler, more temporally attuned competitors. In Ohio, however, Schumpeter's logic has broken down. As the Toledo Blade reported, since 2000, Ohio's "businesses eliminated 216,100 manufacturing jobs, 21 percent of its base. But they hatched a mere 40,000 jobs for a net loss of 176,100." Destruction has eclipsed the creativity.

Into this sad story strides Governor-elect Ted Strickland. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Taking Back the States: Massachusetts' Deval Patrick, New York's Eliot Spitzer, and Ohio's Ted Strickland Head a New Crop of Democratic Governors Who Can Renew American Progressivism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.