Define ‘peacetime’

DEFINE ‘PEACETIME’…. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R), back on the presidential campaign trail, isn’t sitting down for a lot of media interviews — but he loves writing op-eds. Romney’s latest ran in New Hampshire’s largest paper this morning.

When I took office in Massachusetts, we faced job losses and a fiscal crisis that had the potential to shake the faith of the credit raters in our bonds. […]

Barack Obama is facing a financial emergency on a grander scale. Yet his approach has been to engage in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history. With its failed stimulus package, its grandiose new social programs, its fervor for more taxes and government regulations, and its hostility toward business, the administration has made the debt problem worse, hindered economic recovery and needlessly cost American workers countless jobs.

The nonsense-per-sentence ratio is awfully high here, but a couple of things are truly egregious.

First, the “biggest peacetime spending” binge? I realize Romney struggles to keep up with current events, but this isn’t “peacetime”. There are still wars ongoing in Afghanistan and Iraq, and U.S. forces joined coalition partners in an offensive against Libya last month. Sure, foreign policy and national security aren’t Romney’s strong points — remember that humiliating op-ed he wrote on nuclear arms policy? — but as slow as he is on the uptake, I’d like to think he knows what “peacetime ” is, and what it isn’t.

Second, Romney “faced job losses” when he “took office”? As it turns out, he was governor of Massachusetts for one term, and during that time, his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country.” Adding insult to injury, “By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.”

How bad is Romney’s record? During his tenure, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth. There’s a reason he didn’t seek re-election — Romney was wildly unpopular in his home state after his only term.

And finally, when it comes to Romney’s critique of the president’s record, Romney supported the stimulus he’s now criticizing, and far from “failing,” the Recovery Act helped rescue the economy from collapse. The president’s most “grandiose new social program” looks an awful lot like Romneycare; president’s tax agenda enjoys broad bipartisan support nationwide; and to argue that the administration’s agenda “hindered” the recovery has no basis in reality.

Put it this way: the only reality in which Romney’s economic critique makes sense is the one in which the United States is currently enjoying “peacetime.”