Washington, D.C. may have its flaws, but after listening to the Republican governors-elect who visited the city this week, you’d think the place was built by the decedents of displaced exiles from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Speaker-in-waiting Rep. John Boehner of Ohio invited about a dozen of the newly elected governors to the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday, and when given the chance, they gave the city on the Potomac a good old-fashioned tongue lashing.
“Our children are being held hostage,” said a fiery Ohio governor-elect John Kasich in reference to the expanding federal debt. “If we have to be responsible and balance our books, they better get their books in order in Washington.”
Whether it be the health care law, the stimulus, or the possibility that federal tax rates will spike in 2011, these governors-to-be unloaded round after round on the federal government — and the Washington culture that enabled it like a bartender who doesn’t know when to tell the drunk to call it a night.
According to these future governors, the keys should have been taken away a long time ago.
“We have seen through the stimulus package that federal intrusion doesn’t work,” said South Carolina Governor-elect Nikki Haley. “We have higher unemployment. We have more debt. We have deficits in our states. Stop. Get out of the way, let the states handle it. For the federal government to be so arrogant as to think that they know what’s best for our states is wrong for the people of this country.”
Like a mama grizzly that will claw your face off the minute you get between her and her cubs, Haley wants Washington to keep its fingers out of the Palmetto State.
“We want them to get out of the way,” she said. “That’s what we want.”
Knocking the nation’s capital has long been a national pastime in America, and the governors-elect are in good company. President John F. Kennedy called it the city of “northern charm and southern efficiency”; President Harry S. Truman quipped that if you want a friend in Washington, “get a dog”; and nearly everyone in the history of modern American politics has hired someone with an ominous voice to utter the phrase, “Washington is broken” for a YouTube ad.
It was apparent during their visit to D.C. that the future governors have made the timeless act of mocking and blaming Washington an art form. To them, the town is little more than a roadblock that exists just to make their jobs more difficult.
Oklahoma Governor-elect Mary Fallin, for instance, made clear her intention to stand up “to Washington when Washington does things that will kill jobs or pass unfunded mandates on down to the states.” She would know. Fallin has been a member of Congress since 2007.
When asked if they could say just one nice thing about the town, however, the governors clammed up.
“It’s a great city to visit,” conceded Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett, seeming eager to get home.
Kasich, the most vocal anti-Washington crusader on hand, could only muster mild praise of the local architecture.
“Anything nice to say about Washington?” Kasich asked, shortly after he called the city “Disneyland north” while he made his way out the door.
“I love the monuments!” he shouted, escaping into an elevator.