Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
A number of times over the past eight years, governors have been broadly bipartisan (or even nearly unanimous) in their opposition to Bush administration policies. Real ID and new Medicaid regulations come to mind as a couple of examples. In that context, I thought these remarks from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, in the Indianapolis Star were interesting:
"He's a very smart guy, and he's very thoughtful. I had the impression that he really was paying some attention," Daniels said. "He made a very, I thought, gracious statement in his talk, which was that 'I'll try to listen especially carefully when we disagree.' I was very positively impressed."
Daniels said he was most impressed that Obama even bothered to set up the meeting with governors -- a move that widely is believed to be unprecedented during the presidential transition period. The governor took the meeting as reason to believe Obama will do a better job of listening to governors than previous presidents have.
"It was a really good sign," Daniels said. "You know, respect for the states and for federalism is always honored in the breach in Washington. Everybody gives a great speech about the laboratories of democracy, and this is where the rubber meets the road. Every Washington politician knows how to give that speech, but they never do it.
"When it comes down to it, they always want to keep their mitts on the money and issue unfunded mandates and tell the states what to do. I thought this was a very positive sign that maybe this administration is going to be a little better about that."
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