Did you know that “Virginia is growing strong again?” Did you know that it is ALL thanks to our Great Leader Bob McDonnell (all hail!)? If not, then watch the launch of Bob McPleaseMittPickMeAsVeep’s new
advertisement Big Lie propaganda campaign. Is any word of this truthful? Let’s go through the claims one at a time.
1. Is Virginia really the “Best State to Make a Living?” Personally, I think these ratings by obscure magazines are mostly just silly, but politicians – Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, etc. – seem to love ’em and have been touting this for many years. So, if Virginia really IS the “best state to make a living,” as Bob McDonnell claims, then this was also the case under Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Somehow, I missed where Bob McDonnell’s ad gave Warner, Kaine, etc. credit for that. Hmmmm.
2. Virginia’s “growing strong again” with the “lowest unemployment in 3 years?” Yes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed Virginians in March 2012 (244,510) is lower than it was in March 2009 (276,028). Of course, that’s the case in most states, as the national economy has been steadily recovering from the disastrous Republican Great Recession of 2008/2009. For instance, our neighboring state of Maryland has 203,926 unemployed now, down from 211,582 in March 2009. More to the point, the national economy’s unemployment rate has fallen from 8.7% in March 2009 to 8.2% in March 2012. During that same time period, Virginia’s unemployment rate has fallen a bit faster, from 6.6% to 5.6%. Why is that? To a large extent, of course, it’s the result of Virginia’s proximity to Washington, DC, and to the heavy preponderance of federal and military spending, employment, etc. that comes with this prosperity. Combine that with the Democratic Congress’ “stimulus” funding that the Republicans all-but-unanimously opposed, plus the natural rebound from the disastrous bursting of the housing bubble and the collapse of the financial sector under President Bush, and there you have it. What, specifically, has Bob McDonnell done since becoming governor to help our economy? Got me; does anyone else have any ideas?
3. “Tens of thousands of new Virginia jobs?” Over the past three years, Virginia’s labor force has grown by about 138,000 people, while employment has grown by 170,000 people. So yeah, there’s been a small increase in the number of people employed compared to the growth in the labor force, but certainly not huge (32,000 out of a population of about 8 million). Still, that’s good news — every job counts! But again, these job gains reflect the overall national economic recovery, plus the huge impact increased federal civilian and military spending has had on Virginia’s economy. Again, what did Bob McDonnell do, specifically, to bring jobs to Virginia, above and beyond any other state? Got me.
4. “A billion dollars in budget surpluses?” As David Axelrod explained to McDonnell last May:
Look, you’re a good guy and I commend you for trying to wrestle with this problem, and you made some cuts, your predecessor made billions of dollars in cuts right before you left, but you also balanced your budget with $1.7 billion in money from the Recovery Act, you balanced your budget by borrowing $3 billion against future receipts on transportation…you borrowed money from your pension plan that you’re gonna have to return…but those bills are gonna have to be paid…Governor, when you borrow billions of dollars from future receipts and you borrow money from your pension system and you say your budget is balanced, the next governor’s gonna have to wrestle with that, I know you only have one term there, but the next governor’s gonna have to wrestle with that…
Apparently, Bob McDonnell wasn’t listening then, and he’s certainly not listening now, as he desperately tries to boost his sagging approval ratings, and to convince Willard to put him on the ticket as his running mate, in part by repeating this wild distortion/big lie. Lame.
5. “Rated America’s best state for business.” Again, that’s been the case for many years, nothing whatsoever to do with Bob McDonnell. It’s also nonsense, to a large extent, given that so much of Virginia’s economy is driven off of federal and military employment, spending, etc. Whatever.
6. “Record ag exports.” Without checking it, let’s just say this one is true. The question is, what did Bob McDonnell do to boost those exports, exactly? Anyone know?
7. “Education reform and increased funding?” This may be the biggest whopper of them all. As for the supposed increase in education funding, that’s almost totally thanks to Virginia Democrats, no thanks to do with Bob McDonnell as far as I’m aware. As for “education reform,” what the heck’s Bob McDonnell talking about? His failed push (killed thanks to the Democratic-controlled Senate) to make it easier to fire teachers? Or maybe his push to be granted power “to stack the Board of Education with pro-charter advocates in order to circumvent the preferences and authority of local school districts?”
8. “The largest investment in transportation in a generation.” Is this a really, really bad joke or what? I’ll let Ward Armstrong explain:
…this plan will require nearly $100 million dollars a year from the General Fund to service this deficit spending. Last year the budget was balanced on the backs of Virginia’s retirees. Now Governor McDonnell wants to fund transportation on the backs of our schools and our public safety officials.
As bad as our transportation problems are, we should not be robbing funds from schools and public safety to try and fix the problem; and we should not be charging roads on the state credit card.
When you don’t pay now, someone has to pay later. Unfortunately the Governor’s lack of leadership on transportation has resulted in a plan that amounts to a back door tax increase on our children.”
The fact is, Bob McDonnell has been a profile in cowardice, refusing to even consider a serious, dedicated source of revenues to pay for Virginia’s enormous transportation needs. In other words, McDonnell on transportation has been a total #FAIL, which he’s now trying to spin as a success. Can we say “big lie?”
Bottom line: this ad is a hodgepodge of nonsense, irrelevancies, exaggerations, outright lies, and crazy political spin. The more interesting question is why Bob McDonnell feels the need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars putting this garbage on our tee-vees? Is he really that desperate to be running mate to a losing presidential candidate? Based on this ad campaign, it would seem so.