Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oil and Those Western Governors

You hear a lot of talk about the West being a fertile ground for Democratic gains, and a lot of it is connected to the high approval ratings of Democratic governors in the Mountain West. Brian Schweitzer in Montana is the big star here, and Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming figures as well. Less remarked is the fact that Western Republican governors are doing quite well too. John Hoeven of North Dakota and Jon Huntsman of Utah have higher net approval ratings than Schweitzer and Freudenthal. The Republicans leading Idaho, South Dakota, and Nevada are also among the top 20 most-loved governors.

Rumor has it that there's oil out in the hills, and I'm wondering if this is a big explanatory factor in the governor-love that pervades Western states. High oil prices are good for oil-rich states, keeping the treasury flush with money, spending high, and taxes low. What Democrats really need to do is go back to the Cretaceous Period and bury a bunch of dead dinosaurs underneath Michigan and Oregon. That'll get Granholm and Kulungoski out of trouble in no time.

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