Governors Join as ‘Big Four’ to Pool Clout

NYT – Governors Join as ‘Big Four’ to Pool Clout [RSS]

It is a lobbying dream team that calls itself The Big Four: a Hollywood star turned politician, a formidable East Coast fund-raiser, a close friend of the president and the president’s little brother. They are among the nation’s most prominent Republican governors – Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, George E. Pataki of New York, Rick Perry of Texas and Jeb Bush of Florida – and they are increasingly concerned that smaller states are gobbling up more than their fair share of federal aid, particularly because of the disproportionate clout those states have in Congress. So these governors are pooling their considerable political influence to advance the interests of their states, in a move that has caught the attention of politicians and power brokers along K Street in Washington. “Very impressive,” said Bill Paxon, an influential Washington lobbyist who was thought of as a potential speaker of the House before he left Congress in 1999. “In the lobbying world, it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

The alliance represents the first time in recent memory that the governors of the nation’s four most populous states have entered into a formal agreement to jointly lobby members of Congress, according to political historians and analysts. But more than that, it brings together some of the biggest names in the Republican Party: Mr. Schwarzenegger, who provides star power to the party; Mr. Pataki, who offers a Rolodex of wealthy Wall Street donors and is the longest-serving governor in the nation; Mr. Perry, who was George W. Bush’s trusted lieutenant governor before Mr. Bush handed the job of governor to him; and Mr. Bush, who is, well, a Bush.

The men brought their combined weight to bear last week in a letter adorned with the seals of their states – informing Republican Congressional leaders, by way of introduction, that there was a new political force to be reckoned with here in the nation’s capital. As governors of the four most populous states, we represent over one-third of the nation’s gross domestic product,” the July 15 letter said pointedly. “Our states employ over 43 million people and represent the largest agricultural, manufacturing, technology, tourism and service-based economies in the country.”

Very interesting. The piece hints that Schwarzenegger put this coalition together, which would be an incredibly bold stroke for someone so new to politics.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.