The Michigan Example

Phil Gramm and Mike Salon provide some interesting data:

Ranking states by domestic migration, per-capita income growth and employment growth, [American Legislative Exchange Council] ALEC found that from 1996 through 2006, Texas, Florida and Arizona were the three most successful states. Illinois, Ohio and Michigan were the three least successful. The rewards for success were huge. Texas gained 1.7 million net new jobs, Florida gained 1.4 million and Arizona gained 600,000. While the U.S. average job growth percentage was 9.9%, Texas, Florida and Arizona had job growth of 18.5%, 21.4% and 28.9%, respectively.

Gramm and Salon frame this as an issue of policy and governance: the above stats show the superiority of a low tax, free trade, modest regulatory regime which John McCain favors. As I have argued, this forms the basis of a rather potent political argument for McCain, especially in Michigan, where voters have experienced Democratic ascendancy first hand. (Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm has popularity ratings worse than Bush’s.)

Barack Obama delights in calling McCain George W. Bush’s “twin” or “clone.” It may be that McCain’s best counter is to suggest that Obama will do for the country what Granholm did for Michigan. That’s enough to scare some voters — and not just in Michigan.