The Ohio Jobs Crisis is the noose that slides tighter around Ted Strickland's electoral prospects with each monthly jobs report.
The most recent report showed Ohio's unemployment rate doubling during Strickland's term and sitting at 11%, its highest level in over a quarter century.
Jobs, the economy, and taxes are far and away the number one issues to Ohioans, with 66% of Ohioans naming them their most important issue (K-12 education is next at 10%), so it's no wonder Governor Strickland is a bit vexed when reporters ask him questions about where Ohio stands with the jobs crisis...
The money quote: "Last month we had, uhhhh, about a, almost a $5000 month when that many jobs weren't created."
Yeah. I know. The Governor may need to write these lines on his hand next time.
Jim Geraghty over at NRO's Campaign Spot seems to think the bumbling Strickland may have been trying to spit something else out:
I presume the governor was trying to emphasize that the state actually created 4900 jobs in the previous month, but the unemployment rate actually increased because the number of people looking for work increased — i.e., people who were not part of the workforce got back in and started looking.
And yet, Ohio's labor pool is still 62,000 workers short of where it was one year ago.
But don't think Strickland's efforts to distribute rose-colored glasses to the electorate will work. As I've said many times here on 3BP, a Jobs Crisis is personal. It effects your family, your neighbor, and your community. Simply trying to convince voters everything is going well, as Strickland is clearly trying to do, won't work.
And an Associated Press article entitled "Ohioans aren't buying happy talk about economy" from this weekend highlighted just that:
For four years now, Julie Bittner has rung up customers in this little store on the charming grassy square at the heart of Twinsburg in Summit County. And from her view by the front window, she has watched the fortunes of a ransacked autoworkers' mecca slowly drain away. Streets once teeming with people are now deserted. Some days, she says, not a soul comes through the door.
She's seen the headlines. The recession is ending. Unemployment is stabilizing. From Wall Street to Washington, the message comes: America, the worst is over. Let the spending begin. But in places like Twinsburg, where for so many the misery goes on unabated, people aren't buying the rhetoric. If brighter days are ahead, they say, they're still awaiting the dawn.
According to an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in early April, many Americans' impressions of the economy, and their own financial straits, haven't budged in a long time.
"Who are they trying to kid?" Bittner asked. "Are they trying to make you think it's better so you'll go out and spend?"
And what did Governor Strickland have to say way back on March 9th?
"The freefall has been stopped....[Ohio is] in the process of recovering."
Strickland's rhetoric even convinced the Columbus Dispatch to run a headline stating as such.
But those watching this high profile gubernatorial race can rely on a slightly older bit of analysis in order to understand what matters to Ohio voters.
From Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Aaron Marshall's recent article highlighting the depth of Ohio's job crisis:
Across the street from where Strickland goes to work every day at the Statehouse sits a statue of former Republican Gov. Jim Rhodes, a fellow son of southern Ohio who made enough sense to voters that they made him governor four times. You can look it up.
An inscription on one side of the statue's base quotes Rhodes as saying, "The greatest contribution a governor can make is to create jobs in the private sector."
If that's the prime measuring stick that voters use this November, there could be a different guy going to work across the street at the Statehouse next year.
That man is John Kasich.
This post was crossposted on Rightosphere.