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Monday, January 14, 2008
Romney's Economic Message Flounders

According to the American Spectator:

My question is: what does this have to do with a conservative, free market view of the U.S. economy? Are we now reduced to mimicking Soviet industrial policy? And where does this end? Surely every stumbling industry in the U.S. which failed to get its house in order should line up at the door to get their slice of the pie. Really, if not Romney, at least his conservatives supporters should have the intellectual honesty to say " What?!" But such is politics and it may work.

The Wall Street Journal's campaign blog is similarly underwhelmed:

(As for what he himself has done to help Michigan, Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts whose father was governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1968, has said he hasn’t been in a position to help his home state.)

He will also pitch the argument forward, saying Michigan’s travails are a precursor to the economic woes faced by the country as a whole. As for solutions to these problems, the campaign has been mum on what — if anything — Romney will offer up.

His performance with the Massachusetts economy does not inspire confidence that the solutions will work:

On all key labor market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution. Formal payroll employment in the state in 2006 was still 16,000 or 0.5 percent below its average level in 2002, the year immediately prior to the start of the Romney administration. Massachusetts ranked third lowest on this key job generation measure and would have ranked second lowest if Hurricane Katrina had not devastated the Louisiana economy. Manufacturing payroll employment throughout the nation declined by nearly 1.1 million or 7 percent between 2002 and 2006, but in Massachusetts it declined by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country.

(Bolding added for emphasis)


But Mitt did pick up an endorsement of sorts today:

Update: More discussion of Mitt's economic performance here:

While 8 million Americans over age 16 found work between 2002 and 2006, the number of employed Massachusetts residents actually declined by 8,500 during those years.

"Massachusetts was the only state to have failed to post any gain in its pool of employed residents," professors Sum and McLaughlin concluded.

Update II: Some more endorsements for Romney, from uberliberal Kevin Drum:

I, on the other hand, also support Romney, but I support him because I think he's just pandering to the base right now and, in fact, is the most reliably centrist and technocratic of the Republicans currently running. If you put a gun to my head and forced me choose one of the Republican candidates to be president — well, I'd probably just go ahead and shoot myself. But if I didn't shoot myself after all, I'd go with Romney.

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