The Obama campaign keeps trying to change the subject in this election from jobs and the economy to almost anything else — contraception, Swiss bank accounts, Seamus the Roof-Ridin’ Dog, whatever works. Republicans have countered these arguments, but when they do so, they run the risk of making the distractions work for Obama. Yesterday, Mitt Romney wrote a lengthy column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that put the focus of the election squarely on the issues that matter most to American voters:
Dear Mr. President,
Welcome to Ohio. I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?
Good question. Here is a graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows the level of employment, seasonally-adjusted, for the time Obama has been in office. Bear in mind that this doesn’t account for population growth in 3-plus years, but is just the number of jobs in the US economy:
We have still fallen short of the level of jobs the US had when Obama first took office. In fact, over the last two months, the number of jobs has actually declined, from 142,065,000 in February to 142,034,000 in March and 141,865,000 in April. That last drop was a significant 169,000 jobs. And here’s why that hasn’t impacted the topline jobless rate:
Obama’s policies has people fleeing the workforce. We are now at a 30-year low in the civilian population participation rate. It’s a generational disaster, and one that has largely taken place during the recovery rather than the crash:
Romney places the blame squarely on Obama:
I recognize, of course, as do all Americans, that you inherited an economic crisis. But you’ve now had three years to turn things around. The record of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed, not only in Ohio, but across the nation.
The results are a continuing tragedy for millions upon millions of people. Everywhere I go, I meet Americans who are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less. This is not the way it is supposed to be in America. This is not the way it needs to be.
Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt, but when it comes to economic affairs, you’re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation and I have a plan to get government out of the way.
Blunt is the only thing that the Obama campaign understands … and fears. This is the theme that Romney needs to hammer over the next six months. Don’t get too distracted by War on Wimmenses and dog-crate nonsense. Obama and his team know they can’t compete on jobs and the economy and will do anything to change the subject. This op-ed is a good start in focusing voter attention back on jobs, the economy, and Obama’s disastrous performance on both.