Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Virginia has added a net 71,500 jobs since he took office. Richard Nixon congratulated Neil Armstrong on the moon and had a speech at the ready if the landing failed. What would McDonnell have announced if Obama’s economy hadn’t improved?
The inference is made that the “chief jobs creation officer,” Bill Bolling, is somehow responsible for those 71,500 jobs. He may deserve some credit for the advertised 110 economic development projects, 7,154 jobs, and $1 billion in capital development that have been announced since McDonnell took office. But those 71,500 since February, that’s a stretch. Nixon never claimed credit for the moon landing and most of us know it happened and how. It’s pretty easy to throw around numbers, though, particularly in the absence of critical analysis.
“This is not a victory lap. Too many people are still out of work.” – McDonnell’s Chief Jobs Creation Officer, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Nixon was prepared for the worst and you’d bet Tucker Martin had McDonnell ready too. But neither Nixon nor Bill Safire relished the opportunity to take a swing in the event of tragic news. That is no guarantee with the GOP these days. In fact, taking the opportunity to talk down the economy is evident at every turn.
Announcing success is one thing; delivering it is another. Well now, here’s the ticket to claim real credit. Let’s have a matrix of the projects, jobs, and capital investment Bill’s divined, nail it to the wall, and a year from now visit the outcomes. We don’t even have to care about the number of projects that actually get underway. We can focus on the number of jobs and amount of investment realized from these initiatives. That way we don’t have to be confused by growth that occurs from outside factors, like that resulting from Obama’s efforts. We can even use a charter school grading scale.