GOP Govs Succeeding in Spite of Obama’s Econ Policies

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released disheartening statistics showing that the nation’s employers added many fewer than expected jobs to their payrolls in May.  The unemployment rate ticked up for the first time in almost a year, from 8.1% to 8.2%.  The stock market suffered its worst day all year, and the dip in Friday’s Dow Jones Industrial average completely erased 2012’s gains.

Democrats’ constructive response to these dismal numbers was to accuse Republicans of being happy the economy was tanking.

Hey Democrats: Republicans don’t want the economy to fail, we want you to fail.  Hoping for the economy to sink is Democrats’ métier: Democrats do better when there’s more poverty and misery, because that gives them more of an opening to step in and “help,” and more of an impetus to never let a serious crisis go to waste.

Republicans expect that the economy will struggle under your Democratic policies, and we take bittersweet satisfaction when our predictions are proven correct—because it proves we’re not crazy, as you accuse us of being—but we take no joy in mass unemployment and despair.

The less-discussed flip side of Democrats’ narrative is that pointing out glimmers of hope in the economy equals endorsement of liberal economic policies.

Lately the mainstream media have been claiming that modest economic recovery in Republican-led states puts GOP governors in a bind, because they can’t showcase their states’ success without bolstering the case for Obama’s reelection.

Take the recent Time article “A Tale of Two Economies,” in which author Michael Crowley writes, “The President’s campaign argues that the economy, while still troubled, is clearly and steadily improving…  And he has gained some unlikely support: Republican governors in critical swing states like Ohio.”

Crowley reports that Ohio’s John Kasich and other Republican governors in battleground states such as Virginia, Florida, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin are touting their states’ recent economic improvement.  He implies that these governors’ defense of their policies constitutes indirect campaigning for Obama.

There’s just one problem with this formulation: These states are improving despite liberal economic policies, not because of them.

These states have begun recovering only recently, and were doing crummy like the rest of the nation until their governorships changed parties midway through Obama’s tenure.  Yet Democrats are banking on undecided voters being dumb enough to think that their states’ economic reversals are due to consistent implementation of Obama’s plans rather than thanks to the partisan changes in their governors’ mansions.

Saying that newly elected Republican governors can’t point to recent growth in their states without giving Obama credit is like saying there’s no difference between federal and state government.  This line of thinking suggests that all 50 states move in lockstep and are entirely controlled by the decisions Congress and the president make.

The fact is that the economy is improving markedly in many states that recently switched from Democratic to Republican governors.  Ohio’s unemployment rate, for example, dropped from 9.5% in December 2010, before its newly elected Republican governor took office, to 7.4% in April 2012.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate plummeted from 9.3% to 6.7% in the 16 months Scott Walker has held office. Michigan’s sunk from 11.1% to 8.3% under Rick Snyder. (Swing state Florida’s rate plunged, too, from 12.0% under fiscally liberal Charlie Crist to 8.7% under Tea Partier Rick Scott.)

Contrast that record with a state like Hawaii – which hosts one of the few governorships Democrats managed to pick up from Republicans in 2010 – unemployment has stagnated at 6.3%, and New York, which elected a new governor in 2010, but one from the same party as his Democratic predecessor, unemployment inched up from 8.2% to 8.5%.  Other Democratic-controlled states such as California and Colorado have witnessed piddly declines in their unemployment rates in the past year-and-a-half.

If I were a Democratic campaign strategist, I certainly wouldn’t push the nasty narrative that Republicans are glad the country is floundering, because voters in those recovering swing states aren’t suckers. And I certainly wouldn’t count on undecided voters in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and other recovering states being snookered into thinking that their modest growth over the past 16 months is due to Obama’s economic policies finally succeeding.

Comments

Polititainment

Madeleine Albright T(witter)KOs Conan

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bested Conan O'Brien by Twitter knockout Thursday night, ribbing the comedian with a comeback worthy of a seasoned pro.

Kimmel: Stoner idea or gov. expenditure?
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R – Okla.) fifth annual “Wastebook” was released Wednesday and some of the federally funded projects are so outrageous that they can be hard to believe. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel had the same thought and offered his audience a quiz. He read the name of a project, some real and some […]
Obama channels Chris Rock again

At rallies for Democrats in Maryland and Illinois on Sunday, Obama dropped the name "Cousin Pookie" -- a character that he used frequently to energize black voters during his 2008 campaign -- during his speeches.

Oliver beats Supreme Court's camera ban
Comedian John Oliver is sick of the Supreme Court ban on cameras in the court room and the ridiculous ways it makes television news stations have to cover those cases. But all hope is not lost. “What happens at the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to and yet the ban […]
Stewart and Colbert go after 'Fangate'

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with “Fangate” Thursday night.

White House

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Obama delivers devastating blow to red state Democrats, calls them ‘all folks who vote with me’
President Obama can’t seem to stay out of the 2014 midterm elections, no matter how much his fellow Democrats want him to. Obama spoke on Al Sharpton’s radio show Monday, which was later replayed on MSNBC, insisting that red state Democrats are still his “strong allies.” “A lot of the states that are contested this time […]

Congress

Rand Paul: ‘The war on terror is not over’

Rand Paul attempted to lay out his recently evolving foreign policy vision at his speech Thursday night at the Center for the National Interest.

McCarthy speaks out against 'Truthy' study
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is joining the growing dissent against the federally-funded “Truthy” study designed to monitor political speech on social media. In a blog post Thursday, titled “#KillingFreeSpeech,” McCarthy promises that the House Committee on Science will be conducting oversight “in the coming months on this and other questionable government-funded research projects.” “Why does the government […]
CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers to snoop
Despite a number of growing foreign and domestic threats over the summer, the CIA admitted that they had been using their resources to spy on elected officials in the Senate. Now, insiders are alleging that it’s not just what they did that is the problem, but how they went about it. A new piece by the […]
Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.

'Wastebook' finds $25B in 'unnecessary' spending
Monkey gambling, synchronized swimming sea monkeys, and mountain lions on treadmills, oh my! Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) released his fifth and final “Wastebook” Wednesday, chronicling $25 billion tax dollars spent on 100  “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects” this year. His findings are absolutely astonishing. Coburn, who is retiring this year, is not letting his fellow […]