A great breakdown of the difference between Republican governors and legislators from the always wonderful Molly Ball.
The way I see it, the two branches of the party refract in ways similar to a president on the campaign trail and in the White House. A pre-election president, worrying about getting votes above all, can make policy proclamations that make no sense in a governing rubric. Sounds a lot like Ted Cruz, no? Governors are also thinking about getting votes much of the time, but that pesky thing called governance gets in the way, making the scale swing in favor of pragmatism over ideological warring—at least most of the time:
The GOP governors don’t have the luxury of taking symbolic stands on principle; they have budgets to balance, deadlines to meet, and constituents to serve. From Wisconsin’s Walker to Virginia’s McDonnell to Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, many have raised taxes when that was what it took to run their states the way they saw fit. They don’t have the luxury of saying no to federal handouts — since the economic collapse of 2008, states have relied heavily on federal funds, whether in the form of unemployment benefits to their struggling populations or the massive, direct federal grants of the 2009 stimulus bill, which kept teachers employed and road projects going at a time when state budgets were hard pressed. Now, it’s the federal funds imperiled by Friday’s sequestration deadline — from defense-contractor jobs to kids in Head Start preschool — that the GOP governors can’t afford to do without.
As Sarah Palin might put it, a Republican governor is sort of like a Republican member of Congress, except with actual responsibilities.