We’re filing this under Things that Would be Funny if they Weren’t so Sad. Several states in the U.S. currently have Republican governors who came into office on promises of small government and boy, have they delivered. They’ve shrunk government to the point that the people in their states are desperate to get rid of them.
Two of the current Republican candidates for president are sitting state governors whose own states won’t vote for them for president. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Chris Christie are both polling slightly below food poisoning and flesh-eating bacteria in their home states.
Other Republicans who have trashed their states like drunken frat boys at an all night kegger include Govs. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Here, in brief, is a list of Raw Story’s Five Worst Republican Governors and the states they’ve flown into the ground.
5. Gov. Chris Christie: This bellowing, bellicose beach ball of a man has weathered hurricanes, hugs from President Barack Obama, a slew of mini-scandals and intense media scrutiny only to find himself barely able to register on polls for the Republican nomination.
No amount of softball Morning Joe interviews seem to be able to move Christie’s numbers upward past “tepid.” A Quinnipiac University poll of New Jersey voters found that 61 percent of Christie’s current constituents believe that he should drop out of the presidential race altogether.
4. Gov. Scott Walker: Twin train derailments and accompanying damage to the environment over the weekend show us exactly the kind of pro-business, anti-regulatory paradise Scott Walker’s Wisconsin has become. Walker has done historic damage to the state’s labor unions as well as its system of higher education.
Once the Great White Hope of Koch Industries, Inc. in the 2016 race, Walker dropped out in September after a wooden debate performance and a notable failure to capitalize on his initial promise.
In addition to his failure to catch fire nationally, Walker’s numbers are cratering at home. Politico reported in September that “[m]ore than six in 10 Wisconsin voters, 62 percent, do not want Walker to run for a third term as governor in 2018, according to the results of a new Marquette University Law Poll out Wednesday. Just 35 percent said he should seek a third term. Walker’s approval rating slid to a new low: 37 percent, with 59 percent of voters disapproving.”
3. Gov. Rick Snyder: Tea Party businessman Rick Snyder looked upon the economic devastation that was Detroit and decided that was a great economic model for his whole state. Snyder has ransacked public employee pensions, seized control of the city of Detroit so he could enrich a bunch of well-connected cronies and threatened to deny water to people too poor to pay the state’s inflated utility rates.
Snyder rode into office on the tidal wave of Tea Party fervor, but by 2012 his poll numbers were plummeting.
“We now find Snyder as one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him to 56% who disapprove. There are only 2 other sitting Governors we’ve polled on who have a worse net approval rating than Snyder’s,” said Public Policy Polling in 2012.
Nonetheless, Snyder managed to win a second term in 2014, but still remains wildly unpopular among many in his state.
2. Gov. Bobby Jindal: Evangelical Christian and one-time DIY exorcist Jindal’s term as governor has been brutal on his state. New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Robert Mann wrote:
History will be ruthless to Jindal on many fronts. Five years hence, however, I predict that if we remember Jindal’s tenure for anything, it will be his disastrous stewardship of the state’s finances. His ineptitude with budgets alone should disqualify him from supervising a small-town Dairy Queen, much less managing the U.S. government’s executive branch.
In the last part of his administration, Jindal’s approval numbers cratered, making him consistently one of the least popular governors in the country.
“Say what you will about how he damaged higher education and public health care and the needless turmoil he created in elementary and secondary education. Rail against how he turned his religious beliefs into law, i.e., teaching creationism in our schools. Shake your head in disgust at how he ignored or exacerbated our worst problems — poverty, income inequality, a regressive tax system and a hideous incarceration rate,” Mann said, but overall, Jindal’s legacy will be that of a bungling economic incompetent who has thoroughly damaged the state’s economy.
1. Gov. Sam Brownback: The Kansas City Star described the former U.S. congressman’s tenure as governor as a “full-time disaster,” economically. Brownback has clung to his Tea Party principles as governor, slashing taxes and gutting state programs on the promise that he would create new jobs and boost the state’s lagging economy.
Sadly for Kansans, tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics have worked as well there as they’ve worked anywhere else — which is to say, not at all. And even as the state’s economy has nose-dived, Brownback has clung more tightly to the conservative orthodoxy, that the only way to create jobs is to lavish money on the rich and force the poor to pull themselves up by their increasingly frayed bootstraps.
In September, the Star said, “(T)he state announced it had lost 3,000 total jobs in August. That’s on top of the 5,100 jobs lost in July. Here’s even more dire news: The Sunflower State in the past 12 months gained a total of a puny 1,000 new jobs. That’s the fourth worst record in the entire United States, at .1 percent employment growth for the entire last year.”
Last month, only 18 percent of Kansas voters said they approve of Brownback’s performance as governor. Ironically, 28 percent of voters in the deep red state approved of President Barack Obama’s performance as president, ten points higher than the governor.
“This could be some of the lowest approval ratings of any Kansas governor in history,” said Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University to the Topeka Capital-Journal. “It’s epic.”