Friday, December 27, 2013

Walker and jobs

Before Scott Walker became a national figure for taking about bargaining rights from public employees, triggering large scale protests in Wisconsin and several recall elections, he ran for governor as the jobs candidate. Creating jobs was the centerpiece of his campaign. He publicly promised that he would create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin in his first term. His campaign web site was (that url has since been taken over by an unrelated blog). This American Life used Walker's promise as the centerpiece of its story about the government's ability to create jobs. Jobs was what Walker's 2010 campaign that brought him to the governor's mansion was all about.

That first term is almost over. He's up for reelection in November and is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. So how's that job creation thing going?

Not so well:
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4,420 Wisconsinites filed initial unemployment claims in the final week of November. The next two highest states combined — Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538 — couldn’t match Wisconsin’s total. And what’s particularly notable is that these numbers come at a point when states such as California, Texas, Florida and Michigan are seeing significant declines in jobless claims.

Wisconsin sticks out like a sore thumb.
As Puddytat @DKos noted a few months ago, the 250k jobs promise has disappeared from Walker's campaign web site and most of the videos in which he mentions the pledge have been scrubbed.

Walker also seems to have deluded himself into thinking he has some crossover appeal to democrats. Yes, it is true that "roughly one in six voters who cast their ballots for [Walker] in the June 2012 recall also planned to vote for Mr. Obama a few months later." But those same exit polls showed that voters strongly disapproved of using recall elections to remove office holders in the absence of official misconduct. Those Obama supporters who voted for Walker weren't really voting for Walker, they were voting against the use of a recall, which won't be a factor next November. I don't see how his complete failure to fulfill the central promise of his original campaign for governor won't be.

 Walker may be "one Republican who can actually win the lunatic Republican primary and win the general election" but he has to be reelected in Wisconsin first. Any democrat who can't take advantage of Walker's spectacular failure to bring about his 250k jobs promise deserves to lose.