Byron, I found Rep. Pence’s remarks a little puzzling. In your column you report thus:
“The Republican Party at the federal level is in the wilderness,” Pence told the governors.
“We have to state the obvious. There is a difference between the Republican Party at the state level … and at the federal level. The lessons that were forgotten at the federal level were put into practice in increasing measure in places like Mississippi, places like Indiana, places like Texas, at the state level.”
But doesn’t Pence’s state-vs.-federal argument depend on cherry picking? Take a look at Cato’s latest fiscal-policy report card, and you do not leave with an impression that Republican governors have been vigorous tax-cutters or spending-cutters. It is quite easy to think of big-ticket items where the Republicans in Washington were more conservative than the Republicans in the states: S-Chip, for example, or proposals to bailout state governments, or Medicaid reform.