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Swingin' Bill Richardson

I've been out recently, and I'll be out more in the future, arguing that the Southwest and the broader interior West are the new swing regions in American politics. Democrats in the West are groping their way toward a new formula that steers away from class warfare, while still being "progressive," and taking advantage of growing dissatisfaction with the Big Government Conservatism of George W. Bush's Republican Party.

So, it's a bit intriguing to find the Wall Street Journal's editorial board heaping praise on New Mexico's Democratic governor, Bill Richardson, for cutting taxes (sorry, no link):

Another Democratic Governor who's embraced tax cutting and benefited politically is New Mexico's Bill Richardson. Since winning the state house in 2002, he has cut the state's top income tax rate to 4.9% from 8.2% and cut the capital gains tax in half. 'This was our way of declaring to the world that New Mexico is open for business,' Mr. Richardson tells us. 'After all, businesses move to states where taxes are falling, not rising.'

But don't tax cuts produce budget deficits? Not in New Mexico, which now has a half-billion-dollar surplus and has seen tax revenues soar by 27% this year, faster than in any other state over the past year, according to the Rockefeller Institute state revenue report.

We asked Mr. Richardson how he thought his party could regain its competitiveness with the GOP on the national level. His answer is good advice for Democrats everywhere: 'We have to be the party of growth and the American dream, not the party of redistribution.'

Something new is clearly taking root in the West.

(via The Note)