Quantcast

The bailout Mitt Romney suddenly loves..

flaca BN-0 2012/04/30 22:47:36

The auto industry rescue was “crony capitalism” during the GOP primaries, but now Mitt wants credit for it

One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors claimed over the weekend that “the only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.” Eric Fehrnstrom was referring to the revival of the American auto industry, which was made possible by the structured bankruptcies that General Motors and Chrysler went through early in Obama’s term – structured bankruptcies that Romney advocated months before Obama took office.

That’s the Romney version of the story, anyway. As you might expect, it’s not exactly consistent with what the candidate and his campaign have said before. Romney’s public posture toward the bailout of Detroit has varied over the past few years, always in accordance with his political imperatives of the moment.

Back in November 2008, when President Bush gave bridge loans designed to keep each company afloat for at least a few more months, Romney penned a famous Op-Ed for the New York Times: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Politically, this was sensible: There was broad popular rage at the concept of bailouts, the right was engaged in a retroactive revolt against George W. Bush and his “big government” brand of conservatism, and Romney was maneuvering to become the GOP’s post-Bush leader.

In the same Op-Ed, though, he also offered a non-specific call for automakers to go through a managed bankruptcy process, and when Obama came to office, that’s exactly what happened, with the federal government briefly becoming the majority shareholder in both GM and Chrysler and overseeing their reorganization. When Obama opted for this course, Romney initially acknowledged that he’d shown “some backbone on this and saying to those guys, ‘Hey, you’ve got to get your house in order or you’re gone. You’ve got to go to bankruptcy,’” while also lamenting that the president hadn’t taken action sooner.

At the time, about two months after the inauguration, Obama’s approval ratings were still enviably high, and it wasn’t yet clear how intense the conservative base’s desire was to oppose the new president on literally everything he said and did. So the grudging praise that Romney offered seemed like a good way of not sounding unreasonable to the vast majority of Americans who liked and were cheering for the new president, while at the same time not offending the GOP base. Except Romney did take heat from the right for complimenting Obama, a development that helped the political world – and Romney himself – grasp just how absolute the right’s opposition to Obama really was. From that point forward, Romney was far less generous in his public comments about the president and the auto industry rescue.

By this past winter, as the crucial Michigan primary approached, Romney was decrying Obama’s actions as a textbook case of “crony capitalism” – that Obama had rigged the managed bankruptcy to provide a windfall for the UAW, his political ally. The basic idea of a managed bankruptcy, Romney said, had been correct, but it had been a terrible mistake to use any government money; the financing should have come from private sources.

From a policy standpoint, this was nonsensical. The credit markets were frozen in 2008 and 2009, and without the lifelines that Bush and Obama provided, it’s hard to imagine GM and Chrysler having the resources to restructure. But politically, it made plenty of sense. Doubts about his commitment to the conservative cause were a constant primary season threat to Romney’s candidacy, and the surest way to confirm them would have been to say Obama had gotten something right – especially on an issue as major as the auto bailout.

But now, with the primaries in the rearview mirror, Romney is focusing on a broader electorate, one that isn’t animated by the same knee-jerk hostility to Obama as the GOP base, and one that generally recognizes the vital role that the administration played in keeping Detroit alive. Suddenly, the bailout is something Romney wants to be associated with, which explains Fehrnstrom’s comments.

The reality is that Romney only broadly advocated the course that Obama followed, and specifically condemned vital components of rescue. As a practical matter, he deserves no credit for the GM and Chrysler success stories. There’s no reason to believe that Obama would have handled the issue any differently if Romney hadn’t written his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Op-Ed.

Of course, there is another major Obama achievement that Romney could credibly claim credit for – something that Obama embraced as a national model only after Romney demonstrated its potential in Massachusetts. But something tells me that Romney won’t be bragging about his role in the creation of Obamacare anytime soon.

Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornacki

You!
Add Photos & Videos

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • sue 2012/05/01 13:34:45
    sue
    Mitt Romney stands firmly behind his convictions as long as the person for whom they were developed is still standing in front of him. If the person changes, he will stand firmly behind whatever his new convictions are.
  • VoteOut 2012/05/01 11:43:29 (edited)
    VoteOut
    Oh you know better then that the post is filled with inaccuracies and incomplete stories to try make a point so the point gets discredited. So Romney flip flops and or manipulates the truth and is becoming as big a politician (making lies distort the truth tell the people what they want they hear etc.)as obama. Do they pay you well for your attempts?
  • chaoskitty123 2012/05/01 01:41:58 (edited)
    chaoskitty123
    +1
    The article is factual as Republicans came out attacking the 2008 Stabilization Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... where Bush, not Obama, bailed out the auto industry and the banks. Only about half of the money went to banks and the auto industry though meaning that with Obama's stimulus, Obama had over a trillion dollars to work with... so if he spent the Stimulus money, where did that other $300 billion left from the Stabilization Act go to?

    Obama neither deserves any credit for this nor any blame. Romney did in fact attack this and has no right to try claiming any credit... he just got caught in a huge lie and this is why Republicans need to support Ron Paul as Romney isn't a good liar and gets caught all the time.

    I said that for the his entire first two years trying to point out to Republicans that Bush's Stabilization Act was to blame for the claims they were making about Obama bailing out the auto industry and the banks as they already had most of their money before Obama became President and much that was allocated that had not been given to them was in the process of being delivered.

    OBAMA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

    Democrats who praise Obama are as stupid as Republicans who blamed Obama when they thought it wouldn't work...

    This is a case where BUSH ACTUALLY DID DO IT!

    ...















    The article is factual as Republicans came out attacking the 2008 Stabilization Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... where Bush, not Obama, bailed out the auto industry and the banks. Only about half of the money went to banks and the auto industry though meaning that with Obama's stimulus, Obama had over a trillion dollars to work with... so if he spent the Stimulus money, where did that other $300 billion left from the Stabilization Act go to?

    Obama neither deserves any credit for this nor any blame. Romney did in fact attack this and has no right to try claiming any credit... he just got caught in a huge lie and this is why Republicans need to support Ron Paul as Romney isn't a good liar and gets caught all the time.

    I said that for the his entire first two years trying to point out to Republicans that Bush's Stabilization Act was to blame for the claims they were making about Obama bailing out the auto industry and the banks as they already had most of their money before Obama became President and much that was allocated that had not been given to them was in the process of being delivered.

    OBAMA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

    Democrats who praise Obama are as stupid as Republicans who blamed Obama when they thought it wouldn't work...

    This is a case where BUSH ACTUALLY DID DO IT!

    That's why I support Ron Paul as you guys can't even get things correct on something this easy to find out as Bush, not Obama bailed out the auto industry and the banks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

    Again, click that link as it tells you everything you need to know about who did what.

    If you still don't believe me, just type 2008 Bush 700 Billion into Google and it will bring up numerous online articles from before and after Bush started fighting for this $700 billion dollar stabilization act where Republicans were attacking BUSH for wanting the money to bail out the auto industry and the banks.

    Bush deserves all the credit for this and Obama deserves none of the blame... just how damn blind do you people have to be before you realize you haven't got a clue what's going on and vote for the only candidate whose voting base actually knows enough about what's going on to tell you that the delegate counts are an estimate and Ron Paul actually has far more delegates than the media is telling us.

    http://www.sodahead.com/unite...

    You say that's a lie? Then you explain how we were told Santorum won Louisiana with Romney second and Paul didn't place... yet only 15 delegates out of 20 were awarded on March 24 (there are 5 missing delegates) and the rest just went to Ron Paul by three quarters of the vote... and there are 46 delegates there of which Romney now only has 8%.

    You guys don't have a clue as Obama didn't have anything to do with the auto industry bailout so he doesn't deserve any blame and Bush did push this through so he deserves all the praise that it's working.

    WAKE THE HELL UP!
    (more)
  • flaca BN-0 chaoski... 2012/05/01 21:05:17
    flaca BN-0
    agreed. it's so lame how Bush and Obama get blamed for stuff they had no hand in.
    people are decidedly ridiculous.
  • NPC 2012/04/30 22:52:21
    NPC
    +1
    The Barack Bin Lyin ODebtor Government Motors and Chrysler Bailouts by the American taxpayers still has never been paid back to the U. S. Treasury.
  • chaoski... NPC 2012/05/01 01:25:59
    chaoskitty123
    +1
    Obama had nothing to do with it, it was the 2008 Emergency Stabilization Act passed by Bush http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... and while some Republicans voted against it, enough voted for it that Obama cannot be blamed for this just as he equally deserves no praise for anything.
  • ☆ c61☆ chaoski... 2012/05/01 02:05:30
    ☆ c61☆
    But didnt the Stimulus also include monies for the banks and auto industry?
  • flaca BN-0 ☆ c61☆ 2012/05/01 21:04:32
    flaca BN-0
    +1
    no that was TARP. First done by the previous admin and then continued by Obama's.
    Stimulus was 1/3 tax cuts and 2/3 donations to each state's governor for infrastructure and related issues. Every governor, all parties, took the stimulus money.
  • ☆ c61☆ chaoski... 2012/05/04 03:00:53
    ☆ c61☆
    Thanks. But he DOES have enough besides to account for.
  • flaca BN-0 NPC 2012/05/01 21:16:26
    flaca BN-0
    I thought they bought shares. They only have to sell them to get the money back.

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2014/12/19 16:35:26

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals