Governor Bill Ritter is responsible for what happens in Colorado, and he can’t blame Colorado’s problems on the national economy–we read that in today’s Denver Post article quoting GOP candidate Scott McInnis, an article with a few important points worth dissecting.
Starting with “bad management.”
The above chart, released by the Senate Majority Press office, shows how Colorado’s unemployment rate has declined continuously from its peak at the end of June–now at 6.9%, substantially below the national average.
6.9% isn’t full employment, of course, and a lot of people in Colorado are suffering in the current recession. It makes sense politically to tie as much of that pain to incumbents as you can–but voters aren’t stupid, and they’re not going to pour their rage over a global economic crisis into the vessel of Bill Ritter without some context. Especially not when the numbers show, by at least one crucial yardstick, that Ritter’s handling the state’s economy as well as anybody could.
Ultimately, whether or not attacks on Ritter over the economy have any weight–or even backfire on the attackers–will depend on how the economy in Colorado looks next summer. Ritter only has partial control over that in good times and bad, of course, but McInnis will try to stick Ritter with the blame if the situation gets worse–or deny him credit if it continues to improve.
In this case, it would have been better for McInnis to have held his fire for some actual bad news–but he couldn’t really do that yesterday, could he?