"Obama-Style Optimism" in Governors' Mansions?
William Yardley's Sunday story on the roll call of "State of the State" speeches, traditionally given by state governors in January at the beginning of legislative sessions, tried to sell "Obama-style optimism" and snuck in a little labeling disparity as well. "Faced With Fiscal Adversity, Governors Try to Embrace It," began:
Battered by the worst economic downturn in decades, governors across the country are using their annual speeches to state lawmakers to inject a little Obama-style optimism into the dour debate over budget cuts, and even to suggest that bad times require big ambition.
In Oregon, Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, is proposing $2 billion in new taxes and fees to pay for children's health care, transportation and investments in renewable energy. In Alaska, Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican, proposed that half of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2025. In South Carolina, Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican and a staunch fiscal conservative, proposed lowering state income taxes by increasing the state cigarette tax to 35 cents a pack, up from 7 cents, the lowest rate in the nation.
The State of the State speeches, given by more than 30 governors in January, mark the beginning of legislative sessions. Governors typically recount accomplishments, outline challenges and propose solutions. Even in good times there are plenty of platitudes. But now it seems that nearly every governor, regardless of political party, has a variation on "Yes, we can" as they pick up the role of cheerleader in chief.
Oregon's Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski is evidently not a liberal according to the Times, even though he lived for a week on a food-stamp diet to draw attention to the alleged hunger problem among the working poor in his state. Meanwhile, South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford is "a staunch fiscal conservative." (The paper haspainted Sanford's conservatism in unflattering terms before, with reporter Adam Nossiter in the January 1, 2009 edition calling Sanford "a fierce free-market foe of government spending.")