Looking at the bigger picture, the 29 states governed by Republicans had an October unemployment rate weighted by their workforce sizes of 7.5 percent. The unemployment rate in the other 21 states and D.C. was 8.5 percent. Even Mitt Romney might have beaten me if I had been forced to spend time and money trying to defend the indefensible records of blue state governors like Jerry Brown in California (October 2012 unemployment rate: 10.1 percent), Pat Quinn in Illinois (8.8 percent, with 22-month job growth of only 1.2 percent), my gun-grabbing friend Andy Cuomo in New York (8.3 percent, exactly the same as December 2010), and Dannel Malloy in Connecticut (9.0 percent, with job growth of only 0.6 percent).
Tiny North Dakota and its two governors during the past four years, Jack Dalrymple and before him John Hoeven, deserve special mention. Their state almost quadrupled its oil production from 2008 to 2012 while also tripling its output of natural gas. More than any other state, North Dakota has thwarted my attempts to make energy unaffordable. I thought that shutting off as much access to drilling and exploration on federal lands as I could and unjustifiably slow-walking the permit approval process in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill would do the trick. But thankfully, at least for my reelection prospects, I was wrong. We’re obviously going to have to get a lot more heavy-handed on the regulatory front during my second term.
If those evil Republican governors had followed the reckless tax-and-spend example set by my government, the economy would almost certainly have been so bad that voters would have thrown me out of office, despite my opponent being the most ineffective Republican presidential candidate in at least the past four decades. But thanks to their fiscal sanity and growth-oriented policies, I was able to pretend that the economy was coming along.
With any luck, and with additional help from those Republicans, we’ll be able to muddle through in mediocrity for the next few years without reaching a full-blown crisis until, say, the summer of 2016. Maybe then I’ll do something about the 22nd Amendment.