In addition to his sagging poll numbers, Mitt Romney received some bad news with the release of new FBI statistics showing his record on crime as governor. The Boston Herald reports:
New FBI statistics show that murders and other violent crimes rose in
Massachusetts under former Gov. Mitt Romney while plummeting in many parts of the country, a fact that could haunt the ex-governor on the presidential trail.
The newly released figures show that murders were up 7.5 percent in the
Bay State and 25 percent in Boston from 2002 to 2006 while Romney was governor.
From 2005 to 2006 – most of which Romney spent out-of-state campaigning – murders were up 4.5 percent in
Massachusetts, outpacing the national increase of 1.8 percent. In New England, murders were up 1.9 percent but some states, including Rhode Island and New Hampshire, saw double-digit declines.
But Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the ex-governor has "a strong record on public safety."
"He hired more state police officers, pushed for the death penalty and signed new laws making it easier to imprison sex offenders and keep track of them once they get out of jail," Fehrnstrom said.
Someone sympathetic to Rudy Giuliani was quick to draw a contrast between Romney's record on crime as governor, and Giuliani's record as mayor. To take one example, whereas the number of murders jumped 7.5 percent in
This also brings up a broader point I have made in another venue. Romney supporters tend to conflate his successful business career and leadership of the Olympics with his governing record to create an overall impression of executive competence. But while being a success in business can translate into success as a public executive, one doesn't necessarily follow from the other. And the more you look at Romney's record for the four years that he actually had to run a government, it really isn't all that impressive. To be sure, he was better than any Democrat would have been, and he helped control spending and fend off tax increases to eliminate the deficit. But he also raised fees and instituted a healthcare plan that he has had to run away from as a presidential candidate. Everything about Romney's gubernatorial record suggests he viewed the office like the eager high school student who volunteers at a soup kitchen one Saturday so he can list "community service" on his college application. How else can one explain such actions as signing an agreement to let state troopers go after illegal immigrants just weeks before he left office, even though he knew it would be rescinded by the incoming Democratic governor? These crime numbers are just the latest example of Romney's record as governor not holding up to close scrutiny.
In comments, a defense of Romney:
Regarding Romney and Crime, one only has to look at our radical liberal legislature to understand he didn't have much of a chance to do anything. He vetoed, they laughed and overruled his veto. The fact Romney achieved as much as he did was a small miracle. For heaven sakes look at our two Senators and our congress delegation. They're all radical liberals. Romney deserves a lot of credit for fighting for the people. We live in a socialist state and if the Republican party cared about the northeast, they'd have people ready to debate Kennedy, Kerry and all the Democrat Congress here in this state. We need a Massachusetts' miracle and soon. These liberals are taxing and spending to our detriment.
Fair enough. But if we employ that argument, Giuliani's accomplishments in New York City become even more impressive. Giuliani faced an environment in New York City that was at least as hostile to conservative ideas as Massachusetts under Romney, if not more so. Democrats outnumbered Republicans on the New York City Council 45-6, for instance. The New York Times, the ACLU, Al Sharpton, and every other liberal interest group fought everything he did tooth and nail. Yet Giuliani was still able to reduce crime, cut taxes, slash welfare rolls, etc.