It’s not so good to be a governor anymore

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Buzz Cut:
• It’s not so good to be a governor anymore
• Power Play: Cruz, Rubio duke it out
• Bolton pushes foreign policy quiz for candidates
• Hillary jumps on Obama refugee bandwagon
• To boldly go where no garbage dispute has gone

With the departure of Bobby Jindal, the number of governors and former governors in the GOP field is down to six from its original nine, and it’s probably only a matter of time for those who remain.

So what the heck happened to the conventional wisdom that Republicans like governors and would prize executive experience in the post-Obama political world?

In part, it’s about the personnel and the political moment. A low-lumen workhorse like Scott Walker couldn’t break through in the summer carnival. An intense legacy aversion thwarted Jeb Bush. John Kasich was never going to be a good fit for the conservative GOP. Chris Christie was haunted by ghosts from the past, as was Rick Perry.

But aside from their individual challenges, the governors had a common problem: America is a lot smaller of a place than it used to be.

The old working model for the GOP was having a governor promise to bring his winning ways to Washington. The only two Republican winners since Watergate were big-state chief executives who promised to do in D.C. what they had done in Sacramento or Austin.

(Overall, Republican governors are 7-5 in general election contests. Senators, by comparison are 4-6.)

It’s understandable. Americans have always hated Washington and have long-prized the idea of the wisdom of common people. Plus, executive experience was a huge plus in the minds of practical-minded primary voters.

But it is harder now to be an outsider.

Rather than being able to build a record in the relative obscurity of regional or local media coverage, governors are plugged in to the national conversation that simply wasn’t the case in 1976 or even 1999. Your bad press conference or compromise legislation is rocketing around social media and cable news before you can get to the microphones to explain yourself.

Ask Mike Pence who saw his presidential potential consumed in a brief media maelstrom over a religious liberty law in his home state.

Governors may have the advantage of going toe-to-toe with President Obama this cycle: Perry on the border surge, Christie on Ebola, Walker on government worker unions, etc. But in each case, the downsides are considerable.

While a senator or reality host running for president can talk about topics in the abstract. Governors have to make real policies and have real power. The ongoing flame war between the president and sitting governors Kasich and Christie proves the point.

There’s precious little space in which a governor can match the hotter rhetoric of his colleagues out of office without running into practical policy considerations back home. Rather than a place to build a resume and experience out of the harsh glare of national politics, it is national politics.

The Republican Governors Association is meeting in Las Vegas this week. A year ago, the smart money would have said that one of its current or former members would be on track for the GOP nod by now. That’s not going to happen, and the reason tells us a lot about the way the digital age is changing politics.

Trump tops, Rubio rising in N.H. - WBUR: “After losing a few percentage points in a WBUR survey two weeks ago, Trump is more firmly on top in the latest poll (toplinecrosstabs), with 23 percent of likely Republican primary voters choosing him or leaning his way… Carson was in a near tie with Trump in September, but he’s 10 points behind now…Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s is rising. Rubio started to shoulder through the GOP pack in the last WBUR poll, and now he’s supported by 13 percent of respondents, in a dead heat with Carson.”

Colo. Q Poll: Carson way out front, Trump third - Quinnipiac University: “With 25 percent of the vote, Dr. Ben Carson is the clear leader among Colorado Republicans… Trailing Carson in the Republican race are Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 19 percent, Donald Trump with 17 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 14 percent, Carly Fiorina with 5 percent, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 3 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 2 percent and 11 percent undecided.”

Power Play: Cruz, Rubio duke it out - The battle between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio has gone from oblique shots to open blows. In just 60 seconds, Chris Stirewalt explains how opening jabs by these Senate colleagues are likely to intensify. WATCH HERE.

[One of the super PACs backing Cruz is blistering Rubio over immigration with radio spots in Iowa.]

Now that’s commitment! - The Cruz campaign is urging supporters to move to Iowa in the months of December and January. An email offers free lodging near Des Moines to “Iowa Strike Force” volunteers.

Jeb pitches war plan - In a speech today at The Citadel in Charleston S.C., Jeb Bush will underscore the gravity of the choice voters make next November: “This brutal savagery is a reminder of what is at stake in this election. We are choosing the leader of the free world. And if these attacks remind us of anything, it is that we are living in serious times that require serious leadership.”

Bolton pushes foreign policy quiz for candidates - Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton’s Foundation for American Security and Freedom launched an a new campaign called “The Bolton Test.” The ad, which appeared in key publications early primary states, is a litmus test of defense and foreign policy questions directed at GOP presidential candidates and their supporters. The $50,000 buy is also slated to include an addition $15,000 online component.

Have we arrived at the virtual reality moment? Maybe so. Americans are beginning to change the way they think about the medium (including changing their homes’ designs). The Atlantic looks at what may be the tipping-point moment. “In the coming months, consumers will be confronted with a flood of virtual-reality headsets, ranging in price and quality from Google’s literal cardboard boxes to Oculus’s sophisticated and still-handmade headsets. Before Thanksgiving, Samsung will release Gear VR, a headset that works with Samsung phones, to offer the first higher-end virtual-reality hardware on the market. By next spring, Oculus, PlayStation, and HTC will debut their own dedicated VR platforms. Other players, notably Apple, may reportedly join the fray thereafter.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 45.2 percent//Disapprove – 50.5 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 29.3 percent//Wrong Track – 63.5 percent

Backing her former Boss’s plan to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees despite the Paris attacks, Hillary Clinton condemned Republican efforts to halt the influx. Clinton tweeted: “We’ve seen a lot of hateful rhetoric from the GOP. But the idea that we’d turn away refugees because of religion is a new low.”

[In light of Hillary Clinton’s invocation of 9/11 to explain her ties to big banks, Tim Carney offers a needful history lesson on her relationship with Wall Street.]

Terrible Colorado poll numbers - The Quinnipiac University poll out today found that Clinton is in dire shape with the general electorate in swing state Colorado:.  “Carson tops Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton 52 - 38 percent in a general election matchup, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. In fact, Clinton trails all leading Republican contenders by margins of 11 percentage points or more…”

Obama says Republicans are ‘scared of widows and orphans’ - The Hill: “Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning in the Philippines, Obama scoffed at attempts to block refugees following the Paris terror attacks as ‘political posturing’ that ‘needs to stop.’ ‘Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,’ Obama said of Republicans. ‘At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.’… The Republican-controlled House is rushing to hold a vote this week to put a temporary hold on resettling Syrian refugees. The plan appeared to gain some bipartisan support, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggesting a pause ‘may be necessary’ pending the result of a classified briefing with lawmakers this week.”

“The president is most passionate when he’s attacking Republicans. Maybe he’s like Hillary Clinton who’s proud of the fact that Republicans are her enemies. Perhaps he ought to focus his passion and energy on our real enemies.” – Carly Fiorina on “The Kelly File.” Watch.

Say what you will about people who murder cartoonists… - The sharp-eyed Daniel Halper caught a revealing slip: “… in Paris, France, Secretary of State John Kerry justified the terror attack earlier this year that targeted the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. This latest attack, by contrast, was different, said Kerry. ‘In the last days, obviously, that has been particularly put to the test,’ Kerry said, according to a State Department transcript. ‘There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that.’” Kerry therein mined a rich vein previously explored by military historian and philosopher Walter Sobchak, clearly (and very profanely) rendered here.

The great Peggy Noonan brings her discussion her new book, “The Time of Our Lives: Collected Writings” to the American Enterprise Institute this evening. The AEI event is at 6 p.m. ET. Sign up to attend or watch online here.

AP: “A 50-year-old Spokane man is facing assault charges after his neighbor says he swung a Klingon sword at him during an argument about trash. KREM reports court documents say the defendant’s wife got into an argument with the neighbor Saturday and accused him of putting trash in their bin. She says she returned his trash to him, but he threw the bag at her as she walked away. The neighbor says the woman’s husband came rushing outside swinging a multiple-blade weapon. The neighbor says he put up his hands up to block the blade and was able to pull the weapon away from the man, but fell backward of the porch. The woman says her husband swung the Klingon sword after the neighbor barged into their home but did not actually attack him.”

“Remember, [President Obama’s] the one who decided against the begging, the advice, the recommendations of all his top advisers, to do nothing at the beginning of the Syrian civil war...So now he's attacking people who are worried about the danger from the very people Obama and forced into refugee status.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.

Chris Stirewalt is the digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up