Rooster Taking Credit For Alarm Clock

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is supposedly near the top of Mitt Romney’s list of poential running-mates, and you can sorta understand why: he’s the reasonably popular governor of a state Barack Obama carried in 2008, and also has deep connections to the Christian Right, which is not exactly Mitt’s base in the GOP.

But if his remarks on CNN yesterday are any indication, McDonnell needs a little remedial education in economics:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Sunday that Republican governors deserve credit for the improving economy.

“I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” McDonnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”

McDonnell did not elaborate on what the governors have done.

The quasi-magical belief that governors can have a huge impact on economic developments has always puzzled me, but in McDonnell’s case, it is particularly strange and even ironic, since his state’s relatively robust condition clearly depends on its huge federal government presence (DC-dependent Northern Virginia’s unemployment rate is well under 5%). If his party’s desire to significantly reduce the size and scope of the federal government is implemented, none of the job-creatin’ tax-cuttin’ rhetoric the Commonwealth governor deploys will cut much ice.

A useful phrase for people who take credit for coincidental occurrences is that they are like “a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.” In McDonnell’s case, it’s worse than that: he’s taking credit for economic phenomena his party actively opposes and treats as unhealthy “socialist” competition with “real” job growth. So he’s like a rooster taking credit for an alarm clock.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.