By Luke Brinker
In 2010, recently elected Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, seen as a GOP rising star, gave his party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. He tore into what he depicted as the president’s dismal record on job creation, arguing that the Obama administration was pursuing policies that hindered a robust economic recovery.
“Many of us [in Virginia], and many of you watching, have family or friends who have lost their jobs,” McDonnell said. Later, he said that government’s role was to “spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs.” McDonnell went on to offer standard GOP boilerplate on the alleged failure of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
So what does McDonnell say now that the US has experienced 23 consecutive months of private sector job growth (including far-better-than-expected jobs numbers last month) – the very kind of employment he argued it was government’s role to foster?
“I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” McDonnell told CNN’s Candy Crowley yesterday.
While this information may not reach the bubble – where Nobama is to blame for everything that goes wrong and has nothing to do with anything that goes right – it’s worth noting that the public sector has lost an estimated 500,000 jobs in the Obama presidency, even as the private sector continues to gain steam. The overwhelming majority of those jobs lost were at the state and local level, the result of budget cuts by statehouses and municipalities. Of course, every state except Vermont is required by its constitution to balance its budget each year, making cost reductions inevitable, but it’s the GOP that has stonewalled the president’s efforts to support states and localities in hiring more public sector workers like teachers and firefighters. It appears, however, that stubborn things like facts won’t get in the way of the GOP’s determined effort to defeat President Obama this November.