Tuesday, March 01, 2005
CATO just came out with their grades of the governors for fiscal performance. They give out gold stars for cutting taxes and spending and for bringing budgets into long-term balance, and demerits for the opposite - raising taxes, hiking spending, creating structural imbalances. Check out who won the top ten grades:
Arnold Schwarzenegger (GOP - California)
Bill Owens (GOP - Colorado)
Jeb Bush (GOP - Florida)
Mark Sanford (GOP - South Carolina)
Tim Pawlenty (GOP - Minnesota)
Bill Richardson (DEM - New Mexico)
John Baldacci (DEM - Maine)
George Pataki (GOP - New York)
Mike Rounds (GOP - South Dakota)
Phil Bredesen (DEM - Tennessee)
Some of those grades are inflated because everyone is graded on their entire term in office, not just their most-recent term. Owens, Bush and Pataki have all seen their scores decline since they were first elected.
I count at least 3 top contenders for the GOP nomination or VP slot in 2008 (Owens, Sanford, Pawlenty) and 2 more who would be but for extraordinary circumstances beyond their control (Bush's family name and Schwarzenegger's country of birth). I also count 2 top contenders for the Democratic nomination (Richardson and Bredesen).
Much-discussed possible nominees (or VP nominees) who didn't grade so well?
Romney (#15, GOP - Massachusetts)
Ehrlich (#18, GOP - Maryland)
Vilsack (#22, DEM - Iowa)
Warner (#27, DEM - Virginia)
Note that only 35 governors are rated; the others are too new to merit a rating. So #18 Ehrlich is smack in the middle, and #27 Warner is towards the back of the pack.
I suspect at least two of these guys (Romney and Warner) will be trying hard to improve their scores in the next 2 years, when CATO does their next ranking.