By York Van Nixon III
MSNBC moderator Brian Williams wasted little time throwing in a rabbit for conservative hounds to sink their bleached teeth into for first blood. Barking dogs expecting a cottontail found a Texas rattlesnake hissing with a cowboy drawl and ready with a fully loaded hog leg (six-shooter) to render a death penalty to Republicans waffling on the Second Amendment and expecting more than tall tales about turning sagebrush into above minimum wage jobs.
Williams: Governor Perry, we’re going to begin with you. You’re the newcomer here on stage. You probably saw this coming a mile away. You have touted your state’s low taxes, the lack of regulation, tough tort reform as the recipe for job growth in the Lone Star State, but Texas ranks last among those who have completed high school, there are only eight other states with more living in poverty, no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage. So is that the kind of answer all Americans are looking for?
When Perry responded that “we created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas. At the same time, America lost 2.5 million.” Williams followed up with a prevailing opinion that most jobs created were “low-wage jobs” and “. . . that unemployment is better in over half the states of the union than it is right now in Texas.”
PERRY: Well, the first part of that comment is incorrect, because 95 percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.
Since Perry became governor in 2000, the percentage of workers earning minimum wage or below has increased from 6 percent to 9.5 percent.
Governor Perry did not dispute the actual figures but he did suggest they did not give an accurate account of his Texas success.
At that point, Romney and others touted records on job creation in their respected states. But it was former Nevada Governor Jon Huntsman who won the peeing contest. He boasted, “And I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah, we were the number one job creator in this country during my years of service. That was 5.9 percent when you were creating jobs at 4.9 percent.”
Missing from most of the debate were the second-tier GOP hopefuls: Bachmann, Santorum, Paul, Cain, and Gingrich. Questions to them were limited to anything but jobs. Also missing from the debate were solutions to unemployment besides the Republican answer to all ills, cutting taxes on corporations and reducing the size of government.
Many columnists are labeling last night’s GOP debate as “disappointing.” But that appellation is more distressing than the answers expressed by all participants. Expecting immediate cures for a problem affecting the middle class from a party that sees supply-side economics as a panacea is naive. An electorate unwilling to vote with their minds instead of their eyes deserves four more years of George W. Bush.