The U.S. Commerce Department estimates that more than a quarter of all manufacturing workers in Ohio depend on exports for their jobs.
Against this backdrop, the Obama administration has been involved in intense, behind-the-scenes maneuvering to steer Europe away from the financial brink.
For the past two years, Treasury officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have crisscrossed the Atlantic in pursuit of solutions to Europe’s problems. The president has also been actively involved, speaking to European leaders by phone at key moments in the region’s crisis.
His instant invitation to France’s newly elected president, Francois Hollande, to White House talks on the eve of this weekend’s Group of Eight summit is evidence of a central fact in the United States: The states that will do most to determine the outcome of November’s presidential and congressional elections may not be swing states like Ohio but member states of the European Union.
On condition of anonymity, a senior EU official told Reuters it felt as if the Obama administration wanted the G8 to cooperate in the reelection campaign. “They see the debt crisis as the biggest likely drag on the U.S. economy between now and November,” the official said, “and so they basically want to make sure that we find a way of muddling through.”
My prediction is that Europe won’t muddle through. Greece is going to leave the European Union. The resulting economic contagion means Ohio won’t be close in November. Mitt Romney will be president this time next year. Deal with it.