GOP's Midwest Woes

St. Paul was chosen as the site of the GOP convention this week because the Upper Midwest has been a big battleground in recent presidential ...
by | September 2, 2008

Great_lakes_2 St. Paul was chosen as the site of the GOP convention this week because the Upper Midwest has been a big battleground in recent presidential elections. Jonathan Martin of Politico uses the occasion to ask what ever became of Republican governors in the region.

Ten years ago, Republicans held governorships in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania , Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.

Today each is in the hands of a Democratic chief executive.

Martin explores some of the GOP's problems in the Great Lakes region, such as demographic changes, industrial decline and party leadership that in some states has outlasted its welcome.

But for Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, an upper Midwest state with the Humphrey-McCarthy-Mondale-Wellstone progressive tradition, the party must take a populist tack.

Citing the loss of manufacturing jobs and a demographic shift to the south and west, Pawlenty noted that "in times of decline, there is a tendency to turn to government."

"You can't blame people -- they're looking for solutions," he said. "But I don't think the Republican Party has done a very good job recalibrating to address these changing trends.

"The party could use some freshening," he acknowledged. "We need new leadership, energy level and new ideas."

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