"Like Al Gore Taking Credit for the Internet"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 18 2012 3:54 PM

"Like Al Gore Taking Credit for the Internet"

GREER, S.C. -- That's the approved zinger of the day, in case you were frantically trying to load WikiPedia and missing political news.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Mitt Romney told an enthusiastic crowd of more than 300 at Wofford College this morning that Newt Gingrich taking credit for job creation while was House Speaker was like “Al Gore taking credit for the Internet.”

Romney doesn't often go after other candidates this directly in his vanilla pudding stump speech, so that's the headline. He's attacking Gingrich more than he's attacking Santorum -- write your pre-debate stories now! But doesn't this attack underline how meaningless the "job creation" resume item is? We now fall into three wormholes when this comes up.

1) No one in government should claim credit for jobs created. This feels like residue from the stimulus, and the conservative backlash against it. At a Newt town hall yesterday, one voter warned the candidate that he couldn't vote for anyone who said he "created jobs." This is the attack Romney is making, too.

2) Because Bain Capital destroyed some jobs, it can't claim that it created any. This is the one that conservatives can't believe they're hearing -- creative destruction is a totally accepted, uncontroversial economic concept.

3) Government can never pass any regulation that restricts any job growth, ever. Again, this isn't new, but it's been roid'ed up by the backlash to the Obama administration.

Any discussion of "job creation" risks slipping into one of these voids. Defend the concept that government action can help create something, and you're validating something that liberals do. It's a surreal debate.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.


It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The Only Good Thing That Happened at Today’s Soul-Crushing U.N. Climate Talks

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?