(Photo by Jessica Kramer, via Flickr.)

You’ve been reading a lot lately about the extreme, slash-and-burn partisan agendas of new Republican governors across the country — who are engaging in a no-holds-barred assault on progressive-leaning institutions, no matter how many lies they have to tell, rules they have to break, or genuinely pressing public needs they have to ignore.

Why these governors have decided act with all the nuance and finesse of a smash-and-grab robbery in a jewelry store isn’t yet clear.  Is it because the right wing is aware of the huge swings in the past couple of elections, and so they figure they’d better act while they can?  Or because they’re so cynically sure that time and apathy will help the public forget what they do now?  Or do they just feel like bringing the same approach to state government that last week’s earthquake/tsunami brought to the coast of northern Japan is an awesome idea?

Whatever the reason, the good news for the moment is, prospective voters are noticing.  Aside from the massive protests and recall movement stirred up by Scott Walker in Wisconsin, GOP governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania is already down to a 31% approval rating, and Ohio’s John Kasich has so badly tarnished the Republican party’s image there that not only would he lose a gubernatorial rematch by more than 10 points, Barack Obama has surged to a lead in early presidential matchups despite unimpressive personal support.  Indeed, it’s gotten to the point where Jonathan Chait of the New Republic is referring the the GOP statehouse gang as “Obama’s Midwest strategy.”

The bad news is… well, I think I just said it.  The primary beneficiary of the Republican misrule is likely to be the re-election prospects of President Obama, whom plenty of folks in these parts will tell you is aiming to take America to the same place as the GOP, only not so fast.

Granted, I remember saying to my more left-wing friends not only in 2008 but also back when Bill Clinton was running in the 1990s that I wasn’t sure if the Democratic nominee would keep the national car from going over the cliff, but at least he’d take his damn foot off the gas pedal.  But I thought I was joking…