The Republican governors gathered Saturday night for a dinner in Washington, D.C., in advance of their Monday fundraising gala and in the midst of the winter meeting (with their Democratic colleagues) of the National Governors’ Association.
Saturday’s event with many of the nation’s prominent GOP governors in attendance (Sarah Palin and Arnold Schwarzenegger were not present, however) was time for some celebration and for an economics tutorial from featured speaker Steve Forbes.
There were two causes for celebration: first, an announcement from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour that $10.25 million had been raised by the Republican Governorss Association (RGA), and second, a revived sense of unity and purpose among Republicans in Congress and across the country. In introductory remarks, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford singled out Minority Leader John Boehner (R- OH) in the crowd for kudos for doing a “remarkable job to hold the troops together” in opposing the stimulus bill in the House.
The dinner followed a spat earlier in the day between Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Sanford. O’Malley had lashed out at Republicans (“fringe governors”) who were considering whether to accept all of the money available to them from the recently passed stimulus bill. O’Malley had declared that if these governors didn’t want to do their part “they need to step aside and not stand in the way of the nation’s interests.” Sanford had retorted that it was the supporters of the stimulus who represented the “fringe.” And in his introductory remarks Saturday night Sanford struck back again, observing, “I don’t see folks who are really wired to step aside.”
But most of the Saturday evening event was devoted to an economics lesson from Forbes. Forbes called out those he held responsible the current economic mess. Topping his list: former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whom Forbes claimed were beguiled by theories of “hidden worldwide demand” for liquidity. He said they were guilty of promoting a “very speculative monetary policy” which had worldwide implications including a bubble in commodity prices.