Readers might remember – certainly The Weekly Standard [TWS] did – that beleaguered Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial recall candidate Tom Barrett has called into question Republican Scott Walker’s contention that the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] had reported Wisconsin had actually gained jobs in 2011, instead of the loss of jobs that had been previously reported from another source. Actually, ‘called into question’ is too mild a term; Barrett more or less called Walker a liar. From TWS’s interview with Barrett:
BARRETT: Well, of course, [Governor Walker’s] embraced the BLS statistics in the past. And he knows that these numbers that he’s rushed out can’t be verified before the election. And he wants us to believe that the Bureau of Labor Statistics made the largest mistake it has ever made. That’s what his numbers would require us to accept as fact. I don’t accept as fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics made a 57,000 job error and did it so that it would help Scott Walker. I think that Scott Walker is trotting out these numbers 20 days before the election because he knows he cannot defend his abysmal record in the state. You go around the state–the people I’ve talked to out of work, they don’t see these jobs. He might see them. He might believe they’re there. I don’t believe they’re there.
TWS: Do you think people in the Department of Workforce Development were complicit in fudging these numbers somehow?
BARRETT: I think he brought his political appointees in and said let’s have a measure that’s going to work and make me look better.
Well. Turns out that the AP kept on the story, and we’re now seeing this being reported:
APNewsBreak: Federal agency confirms Wisconsin job-growth numbers that Gov. Walker has touted
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the BLS has confirmed Wisconsin jobs grew by 23,608 in 2011. Dipko provided the AP with an email from BLS confirming that the data had been verified, but the final jobs number was not included in that email.
Note, by the way, that the second sentence is not appearing in a lot of articles on this development, which is potentially going to provide a lot of confusion for people trying to figure out why the articles based on the AP report have titles like “Feds confirm Gov. Walker’s job-growth data.” Well, more accurately, it’s going to create a lot of false hope in people who have an emotional investment in somehow salvaging the Wisconsin recall movement, given that it is promising to be one of the most epic wastes of time in American political history. Truth of the matter is, if the BLS told the WI state government via email that the job numbers were verified, and the WI state government passed it along to the AP, and the AP accepted it… well. Pretty straightforward, that.
And just in case you were wondering whether this was an attempt to run out the clock by the Walker administration, yet another version of this report states that “Dipko said the numbers would be provided to the AP on Thursday and published on the state’s website Friday.” To put it simply: this is not the way that an administration trying to cover up something would try to cover up something. It’s the way that an administration goes about burying a political opponent. It, of course, wounds me mightily to sabotage a potential left wing talking point like this at the exact moment that Wisconsin recall forces are desperately scrabbling for anything that might keep them from sliding off of their electoral cliff, but I suppose that I will simply have to grin and bear it.