Here’s how you can tell that Mitt Romney messed up badly with his recent attack against firefighters, teachers, and policemen: even the right wing’s favorite union-buster, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, thinks that Romney went too far.
Romney stuck his foot in his mouth on Friday while responding to President Obama’s suggestion that “the private sector is doing fine.”
“[Obama] says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers,” Romney declared. “Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
According to Walker, however, it’s Romney who missed the message:
“I know in my state our reform allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers and teachers; that’s not what I think when I think of big government,” Walker told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday.
Video of Walker’s comments is below, at the 1:50 mark:
Of course, the Obama campaign also disagrees with Romney’s assessment. It released a web video on Sunday night that slammed Romney for cutting public sector jobs in Massachusetts, just as he proposed doing on Friday.
Finally, as The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent points out, there is substantial polling data suggesting that the American people also disagree with Romney’s extreme position.
Way back in the mists of ancient history, when Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, pollsters took the judicious step of polling its individual provisions. The relevant findings:
* A CNN poll in October of 2011 found that 75 percent of Americans supported “providing federal money to state governments to allow them to hire teachers and first responders,” including 72 percent of independents.
* A New York Times/CBS poll in September of 2011 found that 52 percent, and 51 percent of independents, think it’s a “good idea” to “provide money to state governments to avoid layoffs.”
* A National Journal poll at around the same time found that 70 percent thought “providing funds to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, and other first responders” would be “very effective” or “somewhat effective” in creating more jobs.
On the plus side for Romney, he has accomplished the rare feat of creating a bipartisan consensus on a heated political issue. Unfortunately, the consensus is that Romney is completely wrong.