“Comeback Kid”? How about “Kid Crock”?
During the Superbowl tonight, viewers in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Traverse City will see an ad that will launch the reelection campaign of Governor Rick Snyder. The ad is estimated to cost almost $1 million to produce and air. This is in addition to the nearly $700,000 he spent on a similar ad in September. When it comes to buying elections, Michigan’s governor is our foremost expert.
Here’s a preview of tonight’s whitewash of our governor’s record:
According to the ad, “Michigan now calls him the comeback kid”. It’s an interesting statement since exactly nobody that I know of has actually called him this. In fact, like the farce of Snyder being a “tough nerd”, the label of “comeback kid” is one he invented for himself. Call it relentless positive rebranding.
The ad was made by Fred Davis, the same communications genius that produced the “Chinese Girl” ad that sunk Pete Hoekstra’s senate bid in 2012. How this man is able to make a living at this is beyond me when he uses creepy, weird images like this to instill trust and confidence in our governor:
And this one:
But, beyond the freaky optics, let’s take a look at our governor’s actual performance to judge whether or not we’re actually a “comeback state” led by a “comeback kid”. First, Michigan’s unemployment rate is 8.4%, exactly the same as it was in April last year. I’m not sure how that represents a “comeback”.
Second, the national unemployment rate is 6.7%, almost two percentage points below Michigan’s. We are, in fact, ranked 48th in the country, trailing behind only Rhode Island, Nevada, and Illinois.
In the ad, Snyder trumpets the 222,000 jobs he has created. This is, of course, another whitewashing myth. Most of the job growth in our state is a direct result of the resurgence of the vehicle manufacturers, something Rick Snyder played essentially no role in. In fact, if you want to give credit there, give it to former governor Jennifer Granholm and President Barack Obama. Stephen Henderson at the Detroit Free Press explains it this way:
Truth is, if you subtract the boost in employment that owes to the auto companies’ rebound, which Snyder had nothing to do with, the governor can’t claim credit for much job growth at all over his first four years. In a Free Press oped last month, local policy guru Lou Glazer, who leads the Michigan Future think tank in Ann Arbor, noted that Snyder is on track to create fewer jobs in his first term than Democrat James Blanchard did 30 years ago, during one of Michigan’s worst economic stretches.
This reality shows that Snyder’s taking credit for Michigan being the state that has recovered the most since the Great Recession is a farce.
How about our cities and schools? Governor Snyder claims he’s spent more on schools than his predecessor but across the state, schools are in financial crises at a record rate with 13 new schools with budget deficits in 2013 and 50 schools statewide who are under water. It goes without saying that our cities are failing at record numbers, as well. In fact, when you look at the larger picture, not only is Rick Snyder not a ‘comeback kid’, he’s more accurately described as ‘Kid Crock':
Snyder’s defenders will tell you that, well, this is just the result of all those years of Democrats in control. However, if you’re going to use that argument, then Governor Snyder can’t take credit for anything positive that happens in our state, either. Which is exactly what he does in this ridiculous ad.
The Kid Crock ad says he’s lowered taxes — on businesses. What it doesn’t say is that he’s raised taxes on over half of our state’s residents and paid for his giant corporate give-aways with it.
Frankly, the idea that we have a “surplus” is offensive. That was money stolen from seniors, students, our poorest residents, and the middle class. And now he’s talking about giving us a token tax break to help us forget how much extra we’re paying in taxes now than we were before.
Finally, what about Michigan’s future? Kid Crock’s ad says Michigan has a rosy outlook thanks to all his relentless positive nerding. However, things aren’t all that rosy when you scratch the surface. Accordng to one analysis, Michigan is ranked 49th in projected job growth over the next decade (“We’re number 49! We’re number 49!”) The Grand Rapids Business Journal says that, “While Snyder maintains a laser focus on ‘relentless positive action’ and uses selected statistics to paint an optimistic picture of the present, Michigan’s economic outlook by 2020 is more miserable than merry.”
Those “selected statistics” appear to include fudging the numbers on his almost-never-mentioned-after-it-was-launched “Michigan Dashboard”.
It’ll be a fun game tonight, for sure. The ads are often the most entertaining part. But when this 60 seconds of historical revisionism and myth-making lies comes on, be sure to post this piece to your Facebook page and Twitter feed. Let’s not let Kid Crock get away with it.