Political Animal


July 05, 2012 11:10 AM Mitt’s TGIF

By Ed Kilgore

In case you managed to put it out of your mind, tomorrow is another Jobs Report Friday, with numbers from June coming in. The general anticipation has been for another distinctly sub-par report like May’s: perhaps 100,000 net new jobs, perhaps 90,000. There are, however, some last-minute positive indicators, as Reuters reports today:

Employers outside government added 176,000 new workers to their payrolls last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Thursday, after increasing 136,000 in May.
The government will release its closely watched employment report for June on Friday. While ADP has a poor track record of predicting nonfarm payrolls, it was a welcome sign for the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 374,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 1,500 to 385,750.
“Jobless claims are a move in the right direction. The drop, combined with the ADP report earlier, suggests the jobs market is not as weak as recent data has suggested,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased 90,000 in June, according to a Reuters survey, after May’s 69,000 gain.

Keep in mind Nate Silver’s estimate that Obama needed average monthly job gains of 150,000 this year to put himself in a sound fundamental position for re-election.

Barring a boffo June Jobs Report, however, you can expect massive, sustained machine-gun fire from the entire GOP the moment the numbers come out early tomorrow morning, for the simple reason articulated by MSNBC’s First Read today:

Perhaps no one is looking forward more to tomorrow’s jobs report than Romney — as simply a way to change the subject. If you think about it, the past three weeks or so have been dominated by issues other than the economy and not-so-coincidentally, it coincides with Romney’s roughest poll patch of the general since the primaries. The president’s immigration announcement. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law. And the Supreme Court’s decision on health care. All of these issues have put Romney on the defensive, and all of them have exposed some of his flaws as a candidate. Tomorrow has the potential to get him back on the subject he wants this election to be about: the economy.

More to the point, a poor or iffy Jobs Report would enable Team Mitt to ignore all those messy subjects “the base” wants him to talk about. So long as it looks like the “economic referendum” message is a definite winner, the Right will likely give Mitt some space, despite fears that anything other than a loud campaign against Barack the Tyrant won’t produce the kind of mandate needed to return the country to its proper, 1930s policies.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on July 05, 2012 11:26 AM:

    It doesn't look good for Mitt, does it? Walter Mondale had the same problem. Back then Mondale was counting on the deep but receding recession to put him in the Whitehouse, but the economy kept looking better and better and so did Mondale's hopes.

    Barring a collapse in Europe, the economy is going to continue to recover, probably slowly but it will recover. Romney has little going for him right now except the Republican voter suppression campaign. When you play to the crazy base to the exclusion of most Americans you condemn yourself to losing.

  • Ron Byers on July 05, 2012 11:27 AM:

    And so Mondale's hopes faded away. Sorry, it is hot here in Missouri.

  • Bernard Gilroy on July 05, 2012 11:28 AM:

    As usual, the world of parody is having a hard time keeping up: The Onion

  • Ron Byers on July 05, 2012 11:44 AM:

    Are we sure The Onion is still doing parody? It sure reads like solid reporting to me.

  • HelpThe99ers on July 05, 2012 12:23 PM:


    I put together two charts that show what the average monthly job gains and losses have looked like - one since 1979 and the other since 2001.

    The 2001-to-date numbers, to put it mildly, are all over the map.


    No matter how the job report looks, it's going to be important to keep things in context.

  • j on July 05, 2012 12:45 PM:

    You people are awesome & smart.
    I have been closely following the huge huge bank scandal taking place in London, where tow of Mitt's best buddies & fund raisers were3 forced to resign, it may eve3n effect us over here.
    My conspiracy brain cannot get off the fact that one of Mitts companies in the Cayman Islands that is so super secret no-one knows anything, it has no assets.Therefore I wonder if it is kind of money launderer, if Mitts buddies were3 rigging rates and making trillions, could Mitt have been in on it? They have now pulled out of the planned fund-raiser, possible to help stop the Mitt connection.

  • c u n d gulag on July 05, 2012 1:36 PM:

    Democrats need to give the Devil his due, and acknowledge that Mitt DID INDEED create jobs - in China, India, The Phillipines, and Third World countries.

    Here? Not so much...

  • Daddy Love on July 05, 2012 1:43 PM:

    I like this one, but you got it wrong:

    "Barring a boffo June Jobs Report, however, you can expect massive, sustained machine-gun fire from the entire GOP the moment the numbers come out early tomorrow morning..."

    Even if the jobs report IS boffo, they'll come out swinging, claiming that Obama has cooked the books for "political reasons." They'll come out swinging no matter what because what else can they do? They. Have. No. Other. Shot.

  • T2 on July 05, 2012 2:22 PM:

    all Conservative/GOPers will vote for Romney. If there's more of them than there is of "us", he'll win. None of the rest of this stuff matters, unless he suddenly turns black.