In an article published on Townhall today, RNC Chairman candidate and former Ohio governor Secretary of State Ken Blackwell urges congressional conservatives to oppose the reinvestment and recovery stimulus plan promoted by President-elect Obama. Though he offers standard conservative arguments against the plan — including a screed against the growth of “big government” — Blackwell seemed most concerned about the political benefit Democrats might see from successfully boosting the economy.
He warned that the bill, which calls for 80 percent job creation in the private sector, could create 600,000 new federal jobs — a problem because it would make it that much harder for for Republicans to win back Virginia:
While only a few details are known, one overlooked issue is that it could create a major electoral advantage for Democrats at taxpayer expense. That would be unacceptable for what is being touted as a nonpartisan measure, and gives Republicans yet another reason to oppose it if not restructured. […]
But most federal employees, that are not political appointees, vote Democrat. Since Washington, DC is the seat of government, whenever new federal bureaucrats are created many live in Maryland and Virginia. In 2008, Virginia went Democrat for the first time since 1964, and Mr. Obama won it by 130,000 votes. Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House.
Blackwell cites House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) as his source for the 600,000 “bureaucrats” figure. In fact, Obama’s council of economic advisers predicts that the plan would create about 240,000 government jobs, compared to, for example, 700,000 in mining and construction. And of course, there’s no reason to assume the bulk of government jobs would be created in the D.C. area, though the District — which has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the nation — could use the new jobs.
The bottom line is that, in an economy that lost 1.2 million jobs last year, Blackwell’s biggest concern is to block the creation of new jobs because those newly-employed Americans might vote Democratic.