The Campaign Spot

How Do You Get Romney’s Ship Moving in Ohio? Rowe.

Leading off the Wednesday edition of the Morning Jolt . . .

Endorsing Romney in Ohio May Be Hard Work, but Don’t Call It a Dirty Job

I don’t know if I want to say “game-changer,” but this certainly seems like an endorsement with the sort of blue-collar resonance that is worth more than most of the television commercials, mailers, robocalls, and so on.

Politics can be a muddy business. Enter “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe.

The Discovery Channel personality and Ford Motor Co. pitchman will offer his support Wednesday to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a public event in Bedford Heights. Romney’s campaign announced the Rowe endorsement late Monday when confirming Romney’s Cleveland-area itinerary for the final day of a two-day bus tour through battleground Ohio.

Rowe made headlines this month for an open letter he wrote to Romney, seeking a “national conversation” on skilled labor and “about what we value in the workforce.” Rowe opened the letter by pledging to vote for Romney if he read the whole thing. A campaign aide later Tweeted a photo of Romney reading the letter.

(Rowe closed the letter by saying he wrote to President Barack Obama four years ago but received no response.)

Rowe’s open letter, by the way, was brilliant:

Most of [our economic] “problems” were in fact symptoms of something more fundamental — a change in the way Americans viewed hard work and skilled labor. That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs. Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers . . . they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again — our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.

Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)

But I’m sure the president, as the de facto CEO of Government General Motors, can get one of their pitchmen to endorse him.


The Latest