Have Republican governors given the GOP brand a black eye when it comes to job creation and economic output? A report at Salon out Friday makes a strong case for Yes!
It wasn’t hard to imagine that the brood of Tea Party-inspired governors elected in 2010, when voter turnout was down and anger was up against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, would flirt with a run for the White House if they won a second term.
Poor Economic Record For Kasich Crowd
For hard-right governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and John Kasich in Ohio, the allure of the White House has danced in their heads like sugar plum fairies for over four years now.
Last year, as the 2010 crop readied their runs for reelection, they were portrayed as “turnaround’ governors with state records that could be expanded to a national audience. As Paul Rosenberg wrote Thursday, “Walker, Christie and Jindal were supposed to show off GOP’s deep bench. They highlighted incompetence instead.”
Asking what Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich all have in common, Rosenberg answered, “They’re all sitting governors who’d like to be president…[Who have been] embarrassingly bad at job creation?”
From January 2011 through January 2015, Louisiana under Jindal ranked 32nd in job creation with 5.4 percent growth over four years. Wisconsin under Walker ranked 35th, with 4.85 percent growth. New Jersey under Christie ranked 40th, with 4.15 percent growth. This compares with a national average of 8.21 percent.”
And for Gov. Kasich, who continues his peek-a-boo campaign for president, Ohio only ranked 23rd. “He’s still under the national average, with Ohio’s 6.23 percent growth. Ohio has yet to get back to 2007 employment levels,” he writes. From rankings provided by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Ohio under Kasich is 37th year over year.
“This is a singularly unimpressive lot of contenders, wannabes and dropouts,” Rosenberg writes. “But it’s not an anomaly…Nor is it an anomaly that the national press, so far, routinely ignores this abysmal record. But can they continue to ignore it going forward—particularly in the age of social media?”
One comment on the article came from someone who appears to know Gov. Kasich better than mainstream Ohio media or DC Beltway pundits do. “I’m not sure why Salon loves Kasich so much — maybe it’s because they don’t live in Ohio. Come and visit, and look at the school districts slashing their budgets so that Kasich can give money to his rich friends. Look at his ‘jobs’ program which is anything but transparent. And he’s running the marriage equality ban to the Supreme Court in a case that puts him against a man who just wants to be buried next to his husband. He’s no different than the others,” JeffMarks added.
According to Kasichlore, he balanced a budget without raising taxes and has produced a $2 billion surplus. That’s all true, of course, but a deeper dive shows just how bad it has been for nearly everyone except the wealthy donor base. The wave of 2010 that ushered in chief executives like Kasich, Walker and others represents a new class of ideologically extreme politicians, who used the same political playbook that said cutting taxes, public investment and much-needed services would build the road to prosperity. “While individual presidential candidates can be expected to blow their own horns, the fact that their basic playbooks are all so similar opens them up to a broader attack: the entire framework of how they think about economic policy simply doesn’t work.”
Rosenberger notes that despite the razzle dazzle from the likes of Kasich or Walker or even Christie, none of them beats Hillary Clinton in head-to-head home state matchups. And while the author cuts Kasich some slack, he said his “modest dose of political pragmatism…is hardly what the GOP base is looking for, nor is he actually doing that well,” as one poll after another shows him mired in low single digits.
The GOP’s perceived advantage on the economy is entirely a matter of illusion, Rosenberg writes, alluding to a book—“They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010“—that makes the argument that “Democratic economic superiority extends not only to the performance of the stock markets, but also to employment, wages, economic equality, and all other major economic variables.”