Paul Begala has a good article in Newsweek that asks the sensible question: Romney talks about his family, and his business success, but he never talks about his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. Why is he ignoring “the only time he has ever held public office.”
Perhaps it is because when he was campaigning for the governorship, he touted his business acumen and promised to get the state economy going again. Romney sold himself to the voters as a turnaround artist — a CEO who could lure jobs to the Bay State. He pledged to use his business skills to “encourage businesses to come grow and thrive in the most robust portion of the economy, Massachusetts.” Instead Mass went from 37th out of 50 to 47th in job creation in the US.
Perhaps that’s why Romney doesn’t dwell on his record as governor. His state really was 47th in job creation, behind only Ohio and Michigan, both of which were being ravaged in the manufacturing meltdown, and Louisiana, which had been devastated by Katrina. Romney even trailed Mississippi and Alabama in job growth, breaking the iron law that Mississippi and Alabama have to be last in pretty much everything except cockfights and kissin’ cousins. While the country as a whole enjoyed 5 percent growth, Romney’s Massachusetts grew at 0.9 percent.
Massachusetts was the guinea pig for Romney economics. The results weren’t pretty. In addition to almost zero job growth, the state saw a modest decline in real median income, meaning that the folks who had jobs were bringing home less.
The Romney recipe of cutting education and job training, forcing higher fees on the middle class, and protecting the rich from tax hikes didn’t work in Massachusetts. But his approach to health care did. Paradoxically, the best thing Romney did as governor—and it was a great thing—is the one thing he dares not talk about as a presidential candidate. Too bad, because a solid 62 percent of the folks who actually live under Romneycare—and its dreaded individual mandate—say they like it.
Romney promises to institute the same economic policies that failed him as governor, and failed us when Dubya was president.
What else does Romney promise to do? According to Andrew Tobias, Romney is “promising to keep us safe from our most serious enemy — Russia. (Huh?) And to snatch health insurance from people with preexisting conditions. And to back a Constitutional amendment enshrining discrimination against gays and lesbians.” He is also in favor of “cutting taxes for billionaires — to zero, in the case of the estate tax — and in slashing regulation. (Because what could possibly go wrong when banks or mortgage lenders or oil drillers or coal miners or food producers are unregulated?)”
UPDATE: More data on Romney’s economic record in Massachusetts, which makes him look even worse.