Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Don’t Bet Against America”

Two years after General Motors nearly collapsed as a result of the second Bush recession, the Detroit, Michigan-based automaker today announced that it had “earned its largest profit ever in 2011.” GM’s turnaround was made possible, in substantial measure, by President Barack Obama’s insistence in 2009 that the company (along with the Chrysler Corporation) be bailed out using government loans, rather than be allowed to go bankrupt and leave tens of thousands of people out of work.

At the time, former one-term Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney published an editorial in The New York Times, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” in which he contended that the president’s rescue plan would not work. He insisted that if those American car makers “get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”

Well, Romney was dead wrong. And today, the Democratic National Committee released an ad reminding Michigan voters of what the auto industry’s fate might have been, had Romney been sitting in the Oval Office, rather than President Obama:

Since Michigan’s primary on February 28 is meant for Republicans, many of whom still oppose the president’s bailout of the auto industry, it’s likely that Romney’s tone-deafness on this issue won’t hurt him appreciably there. (He’s much more liable to suffer from Rick Santorum’s unexpected rise as the latest anti-Romney candidate.) In a general election, however, when pitted against the increasingly popular Obama in a heavily unionized state that would have suffered tremendously without the president’s bold rescue plan ... well, Romney won’t have such an easy time of it.

READ MORE:Romney’s Poorly Timed Criticism of the Auto Industry,” by Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog); “Why Michigan’s GOP Primary Won’t Change Anything for Romney,” by Noam Scheiber (The New Republic); “Giving the Auto Rescue Center Stage,” by Steve Benen (The Maddow Blog).

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