It has become clear what the Obama campaign's strategy for trying to win states like Michigan and Ohio is and will continue to be. In three steps, it's as follows: 1) Pretend that the states' Republican governors, John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Snyder in Michigan, who both succeeded free-spending Democrats who presided over stagnant economies, have had nothing to do with their increased employment, lower unemployment rates, and improved business climates (as well as balanced budgets in fiscal 2012 involving no tax increases, though Snyder may ruin that in Michigan this year); 2) Instead give the credit for all of these favorable developments to Obama and the governments' bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors; 3) Don't say anything about how other states run by Dems, particularly Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut, are lagging because they have instead tried to apply Washington's tax-and-spend model to their states' fiscal situations.
Of course the AP, aka the Adminisitration's Press, is all too willing to make the administration's laughable claims appear credible. It did so in two separate items this week, one giving basic details about the job-market situations in Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina, and the other covering Obama allegedly improving chances of winning Ohio, Michigan, and a dozen other "swing" states. There was no mention of the Buckeye State's or Wolverine State's chief executives in either article.
An April 18 unbylined "By the Numbers -- Now and Then" item said the following about the three states job markets:
Unemployment was 8.8 percent in February, the most recent month for which there are statistics, above the most recent national rate of 8.2 percent for March. That's down from Michigan's 9.6 percent level of joblessness in November 2008.
... The most recent unemployment figures for Ohio showed a 7.6 percent jobless rate, 0.6 percentage points better than the national average. Unemployment there in November 2008 was 7.1 percent.
... Unemployment in North Carolina was 9.9 percent in February, 1.7 percentage points above the national March average. North Carolina's unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in November 2008.
While it may be nice to know what unemployment was in November 2008, that information wasn't known on Election Day. it would have been more useful to note what it was in:
- September 2008, the last reports issued before Election Day. The rates at the time were: National -- 6.1%; States -- Ohio, 7.2%; Michigan, 8.7%, North Carolina, 7.0%.
- September 2010, also the last reports issued before midterm Election Day. The rates at the time were: National -- 9.6%; States -- Ohio, 10.0%; Michigan, 13.0%, North Carolina, 9.6%.
- As a handy reminder, the most recent reported unemployment rates for March are as follows (states were just released on Friday, April 20, and therefore differ from AP's reported numbers above: National -- 8.2%; States -- Ohio, 7.5%; Michigan, 8.5%, North Carolina, 9.7%.
The point, of course, is that it was known that the rates were heading up before the 2008 election, were known to be absolutely awful before the 2010 congressional and gubernatorial elections, but have improved significantly in the past two years in Ohio and Michigan, while showing no improvement in the Tar Heel State. The fact that Tar Heel State Governor Bev Perdue is a Democrat would appear to be related to the state's relatively weak situation compared to Ohio and Michigan, or at least worthy of a mention by the self-described "Essential Global News Network," and would lead a news service dedicated to journalism and not spin to at least ask itself, "Is something else at work here besides Dear Leader's policies?"
Yesterday, the AP's Paul Wiseman went the next step and essentially tried to make the case that Ohio and Michigan and a dozen other states are in play and perhaps heading Obama's way in November because of their improving economies. It's as if voters are too dumb to realize that Republican governors are in most cases the ones who have led the turnarounds in their individual states, while national tax-and-spend, trillion-dollar deficit-driven, crony capitalist policies haven't changed all that much, despite the GOP's control of the House since January 2011:
Swing-state unemployment down, Obama's chances up
... In 2010, the economic misery helped Republicans retake control of the House and gain seats in the Senate. But the GOP can't count on a repeat when voters return to the polls - with much more at stake - on Nov. 6.
After an agonizingly slow recovery, several swing-state economies are finally accelerating:
- The job market is improving in Michigan and Ohio. In Michigan, unemployment fell to 8.5 percent in March from 10.5 percent in March 2011. And in Ohio, it dropped to 7.5 percent from 8.8 percent over the same period, putting it well below the national average of 8.2 percent. A Fox News poll released Friday showed Obama leading Romney 45 percent to 39 percent among registered voters in Ohio.
... Many blue-collar workers in Ohio and Michigan credit the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler for saving tens of thousands of auto industry jobs, says Paul Allen Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University. The bailout began under President George W. Bush, but Obama expanded it. "There's a feeling the administration went out of its way to protect jobs that are very important," Beck said.
Too bad the facts don't line up with the "feeling" Prof. Beck cited:
- In Ohio, the Establishment Survey says there has been some job growth in Greater Cincinnati, which has relatively little auto-based employment, and contraction in Metro Cleveland, which has relatively more. Metro Cleveland's unemployment rate based on the Household Survey is below the statewide average, but that would appear to be because people are leaving, people are disproportionately dropping out of the workforce, or both.
- In Michigan, auto industry-heavy Metro Detroit's unemployment rate is 9.4%, which the average in the less heavily auto-reliant rest of the state is about 8.0%.
If the GM and Chrysler post-bailout sagas were driving employment growth, we wouldn't be seeing the just-noted results in either state.
But never let it be said that the Obama administration -- or the Associated Press -- will let the facts get in the way of a good campaign myth.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.