Christman Blog: The Overlooked Answer

Yes, that was “Ask the Governor” you saw on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, and the Huffington Post, and the Philly and Pittsburgh news sites.

The video from Monday’s taping of Ask the Governor is now viral.

While critics of Governor Tom Corbett bask in the glow of his comments about job applicants and drug use, it should be noted that when asked about Pennsylvania’s slide from 7th to 49th in job growth since 2011, there was a better, more cogent answer proffered.

Job growth measures the rate of increases in hiring, a figure that can fluctuate wildly depending on how a state fared through the “Great Recession.” Now, make no mistake, the economic woes of the past 5 years have affected us all, and there are many Pennsylvanians still feeling the serious burn of the near-depression. That being said, Pennsylvania did fare better than many other states and that was the main focus of Governor Corbett’s answer Monday:

“The statistic of 49 percent (sic) is really an indication of year-to-year, the rate of growth, how fast you are growing and we have been doing better in Pennsylvania than other states , but other states were so far down that they grew – percentage wise – in their area, fast. It looks like it’s fast…they had more ground to make up than we did,” Corbett said.

Of course, the reference to drug-abusing job applicants that followed this answer is now the headline, and likely will be for several more days, but it’s important that the governor’s broader answer not get lost in the revelry of backlash since Monday. As always, the real story is bigger than the headline.

(Brad Christman is the News Director of Radio Pennsylvania and co-hosts “Ask the Governor”)