Today’s monthly jobs numbers were significantly worse than expected:
Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today...
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +154,000 to +143,000, and the change for April was revised from +115,000 to +77,000.
In this context, take a look at the new ad that was released this morning by Mitt Romney’s campaign. It is perhaps the clearest sign yet of how Team Romney views this race:
The ad claims Romney will focus on the economy, the deficit, energy and trade with China, before adding:
“But there’s something more than legislation or new policy. It’s the feeling we’ll have that our country’s back, back on the right track. That’s what will be different about a Romney presidency.”
This may be the most explicit version we’ve seen of the Romney camp’s intended message: if you’re angry or frustrated by your current circumstances, or about how things are going, vote the guy in charge out, and it will make you feel better. The game plan: to get swing voters to cast their vote almost entirely as an expression of frustration and disillusionment with the economic status quo, and by extension with Obama himself, without thinking too hard about the true nature of the alternative Romney is offering.
Or, as Steve Kornacki put it recently: “If you don’t think the economy’s in good shape, don’t ask questions — just vote the guy in charge out.”
With jobs numbers like today’s, it just may work.
* Romney campaigning in areas where economy is recovering: A great factoid from Ginger Gibson:
Mitt Romney is traveling the country, selling a message of economic woe and hardship, but he’s frequently taking that tale to places that are a lot better off than the rest of the nation. Of the 22 general election stops Romney has made, 14 have been in counties with lower unemployment rates than the nation, according to March figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The question, as always, is whether voters will decide that the economy is at least moving in the right direction, and if they do so in key swing areas, whether it will blunt Romney’s efforts to get them to vote Obama out as an expression of frustration.
* Romney’s refusal to take on Trump a sign of his strength: Narrative of the day: Anonymous Romney advisers tell Buzzfeed how strategically clever and how tough they’ve been in taking the fight to Obama in an effort to appeal to red meat conservatives, with one example being the refusal to disavow Donald Trump.
As I noted here the other day, the story Team Romney is now telling is that standing up to Trump’s birtherism would represent surrender (a la John McCain) to the liberal media, and not doing so is actually a sign of his strength.
* The myth of the businessman-president: Timothy Egan has a terrific rumination on Romney’s recent discussion of a voter’s desire for a business background requirement for presidents:
Well, there goes Teddy Roosevelt, the writer, rancher and police commissioner, not to mention his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt, the assistant naval secretary and politician, or Dwight Eisenhower, the career soldier. Ike’s résumé, which includes defeating the world’s most concentrated form of evil in Nazi Germany, would not be not enough to qualify him for the presidency...history shows that time in the money trade is more often than not a prelude to a disastrous presidency. The less experience in business, the better the president.
One wonders whether Dems will begin making this case a bit more explicitly, by pointing out as often as possible that the greatest presidents had no business experience, while some of the most awful ones did.
* Barrett on offensive against Walker in debate: Last night was the final debate of the Wisconsin recall battle, and Tom Barrett seized on new allegations about non-cooperation with investigators by Walker’s previous office, and news of a 13th Walker aide granted immunity, to hammer Walker as corrupt and divisive.
The Dems’ closing message has focused almost entirely on Walker’s alleged misconduct and dishonesty, and on the idea that only by ending the Walker experiment can Wisconsin reunite and move forward again. Bill Clinton arrives today.
* What’s at stake in Wisconsin: A sobering and important post by David Dayen on the sharp drop in public union membership in Wisconsin, on how this was Scott Walker’s plan all along, and why it means losing to Walker next Tuesday could spell serious trouble for the fate of organized labor across the country.
* Romney’s muddled energy message: Amy Harder on how Romney’s energy policies have been far more similar to Obama’s than he’d have you believe.
* Elizabeth Warren’s missteps: I agree with Chris Cillizza: In the wake of the latest Boston Globe reporting on Warren’s Native American heritage, she can still maintain that she’s been consistent and/or that she’s forgotten long-ago details, and no one has proven she benefited from minority status, but her overall handling of this mess has been inexplicably bad from a political standpoint.
It’s worth noting that polls still show the race deadlocked, just as they did before the story started.
* And the real goal of the `austerians’: Paul Krugman on the real goal of conservatives who insist austerity and deficit hawkery is the solution to our problems: It’s all about using deficit panic to dismantle social programs and shrink government, and has nothing to do with solving the unemployment crisis.
And it isn’t even about....solving the deficit, either! What’s really remarkable is how often media figures get taken in by this ruse. Ask yourself this: How many articles on Romney’s ad above vowing to take on the deficit will also tell readers that experts think Romney’s proposals to cut taxes on the wealthy would ... explode the deficit?