Embattled governor tries to convert his greatest weakness into strengthGov. Scott Walker is heading into the recall election swinging. Interestingly enough, he's doing so going down a path no one would ever expect him taking: touting his performance on creating jobs.
In the new ad, Walker touts the fact that Wisconsin has added more than 17,000 private sector jobs in the first two months of this year.While it's true that jobs grew earlier this year, the gains came after a dismal 2011 -- as it is, the gains don't even make up for the losses we had. Upon review of the mess that we've witnessed under Walker, one has to wonder whether gains this year came simply because we couldn't lose any more jobs than we already had!
In fact, from February 2011 to February 2012, Wisconsin only gained 500 private sector jobs. Not exactly the accomplishment Gov. Walker should be touting...and as a matter of fact, he doesn't, a convenient omission on the part of the Walker campaign.
Taking a look at total jobs -- both private and public -- Walker has unquestionably failed our state. From December 2010 (the month before Walker took office) to last month, Wisconsin lost more than 7,500 jobs. Overall, we're worst in the nation in the time since Walker took office.
And while Walker frequently touts that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent this year, a lot of that has to do with the fact that the workforce itself diminished by nearly 10,000 workers.
All of these little factoids observe how things went since Walker took office. But what about how things went after his budget and other reforms were implemented?
Unfortunately for Walker, much of the jobs data from 2011 that was positive occurred under his predecessor's budget. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of the job gains from 2011 were during the waning month's of the Doyle budget, while seven out of every ten jobs lost last year came during the Walker budget:
So while Walker may tout the first two months of this year's job gains, one has to wonder: how much of it was Walker's doing? The nation overall saw job gains during that time as well. But when the nation saw gains over the course of 2011, Wisconsin slipped backwards (though Walker had an excuse at every corner to explain the losses, even when they didn't make much sense).
At best, Walker can brag about not messing things up these first two months like he did last year. If that's something Gov. Walker wants to take pride in, then his chances of surviving a recall may be dimmer than anticipated -- not that I'm complaining.