Thanking GOP governors for saving his bacon.
What follows is what President Obama should have said when he addressed the nation on January 21 as he was inaugurated for the second time — if his plan had been to level with the American people.
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On this historic occasion, it’s of utmost importance that I express my gratitude to all of those whose hard work brought about my reelection.
On Election Night, I thanked one of those groups, namely the Obama For America campaign and its paid and unpaid staff which worked tirelessly, day after day, night after night, going door to door convincing voters in blue states and swing states that the economy really was turning the corner. I regret that I had to treat you so dismissively after my victory was assured by terminating your employment and health insurance so quickly.
Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t regret it at all. We needed the money you thought you’d be paid to launch our next public opinion manipulation project, our conflict of interest-infested Organizing For Action. Isn’t it cool how we’ve taken those millions of email addresses we’ve accumulated during two presidential campaigns and just dropped them into the new organization without bothering to get anyone’s permission?
My opponent, whom we successfully portrayed as evil, heartless, and cruel, showed that he really is a nice guy after he lost by keeping his people on board longer than we did — but you know what Leo Durocher said about nice guys. As for the possibility of working for our new group: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Anyway, we knew that the economy as a whole wasn’t really recovering (by the way, it still isn’t), but that’s not what mattered then. As Vince Lombardi once said: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” Lombardi also didn’t believe in cheating and cheating again to win — but poor Vince didn’t understand how urgent it is that I “fundamentally transform the United States of America” while I have the opportunity.
That brings me to the second group of people to whom I owe thanks. I have yet to recognize their critical role in my reelection, and I really should express my gratitude publicly for what they did. Those people are the evil Republican and conservative governors who, despite my best efforts to stop them, worked so diligently during my first term, especially the past two years, to turn around or further improve their own states’ economies.
First and foremost, there’s Rick Perry in Texas. Did you realize that employment in his state was 440,000 higher in October 2012 than it was just 22 months earlier? Despite having my Environmental Protection Agency wage regulatory war on the Lone Star State, Texas, which has 8.3 percent of the nation’s population, accounted for 12.5 percent of its job growth and had an October unemployment rate of only 6.6%. Don’t rest on your laurels, Rick. Now that I don’t have to face reelection again (unless I can do something about that pesky 22nd Amendment), you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Three other smaller states had job-growth records either better than or close to that seen in Texas: North Dakota, Utah, and Oklahoma, which added a combined 150,000 jobs during the same period. Collectively (I really love that word), those four states grew their combined workforces by 4.4 percent. Meanwhile, the other 46 states plus DC only managed to grow their employment by less than 2.1 percent.
Looking at the bigger picture, the 29 states governed by Republicans had an October unemployment rate weighted by their workforce sizes of 7.5 percent. The unemployment rate in the other 21 states and DC was 8.5 percent. Even Mitt Romney might have beaten me if I had been forced to spend time and money trying to defend the indefensible records of blue state governors like Jerry Brown in California (October 2012 unemployment rate: 10.1 percent), Pat Quinn in Illinois (8.8 percent, with 22-month job growth of only 1.2 percent), my gun-grabbing friend Andy Cuomo in New York (8.3 percent, exactly the same as December 2010), and Dannel Malloy in Connecticut (9.0 percent, with job growth of only 0.6 percent).
Tiny North Dakota and its two governors during the past four years, Jack Dalrymple and before him John Hoeven, deserve special mention. Their state almost quadrupled its oil production from 2008 to 2012 while also tripling its output of natural gas. More than any other state, North Dakota has thwarted my attempts to make energy unaffordable. I thought that shutting off as much access to drilling and exploration on federal lands as I could and unjustifiably slow-walking the permit approval process in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill would do the trick. But thankfully, at least for my reelection prospects, I was wrong. We’re obviously going to have to get a lot more heavy-handed on the regulatory front during my second term.
If those evil Republican governors had followed the reckless tax-and-spend example set by my government, the economy would almost certainly have been so bad that voters would have thrown me out of office, despite my opponent being the most ineffective Republican presidential candidate in at least the past four decades. But thanks to their fiscal sanity and growth-oriented policies, I was able to pretend that the economy was coming along.
With any luck, and with additional help from those Republicans, we’ll be able to muddle through in mediocrity for the next few years without reaching a full-blown crisis until, say, the summer of 2016. Maybe then I’ll be able to do something about that 22nd Amendment.