Saturday, July 04, 2009

Overstimulated Statehouses

"People," Gail Collins asks in today's New York Times, "what is going on with governors in this country? Are we doomed to see them go bonkers one by one, state by state?"

As the President heads for Russia next week, he leaves behind troubled American statehouses, from Schwarzenegger's in California handing out IOUs like a busted riverboat gambler to those of Sanford and Palin, who resisted Washington's stimulus money and are now heading out of office, maundering about higher levels of arousal in Argentina and Alaska.

In New York, the legislature is being held hostage by Gov. David Paterson, who got the job after Eliot Spitzer resigned over professional stimulus, while former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, awaiting federal trial for corruption, loses out to Palin for the Sitting Duck Award, granted annually to the most ridiculed newsmaker in the nation.

Affairs of the states have been roiled by collapsing economies and rising pressures on chief executives to manage their way through crises rather than primp for the TV cameras in search of higher office. For some, like Bobby Jindal after his disastrous rebuttal to Obama's address to Congress, that may be a blessing in thin disguise.

Meanwhile, the antics of Palin, Sanford et al are distracting millions of mourners who won't win the lottery for tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial next week. Compared to some governors, the Gloved One was a model of sanity and much more entertaining to boot.

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