Judging fiscal conservatism, the libertarians at Cato Institute grade the current governors. Four get A's -- Time Pawlenty, Bobby Jendal, Mark Sanford and Joe Manchin. Mitch Daniels gets a B:
The Governors who received the highest grades in the Cato report proved that budgets can be balanced without raising tax rates even in severe downturns. Several Governors—Indiana's Mitch Daniels, South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Texas's Rick Perry, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Virginia's Bob McDonnell have reset their 2011 spending to 2007 or 2008 levels. Many Governors also responded to lower revenue collections by selling state assets that are better managed in private hands: casinos, toll-roads, state-owned liquor stores, even buildings and land.
Only 27 of 50 governors managed to get a C or better.