A reader emails me with a great point that gets right to the heart of why Mitt Romney has had to dissemble so extensively about the auto rescue and his own ill fated opposition to it:
Has anyone written anything to the point that the Detroit turnaround undermines Romney’s central claim to the Presidency?
Romney claims to be a turnaround specialist who knows how to rescue flailing businesses, create/save jobs, balance budgets, and make the tough decisions. His ads have claimed that America needs a turnaround, and he’s the turnaround kid.
Yet when the story of the last ten years is written, the two greatest turnarounds were both orchestrated by President Obama, the feckless community organizer who knows nothing about business and hates capitalism. GM and Chrysler trump Staples and Dunkin Donuts. Sorry, but they just do, for reasons to obvious to bother enumerating.
It’s no wonder he’s lying himself blue in the face about all of it. It must cut him to the quick to realize he called the entire thing absolutely wrong, Obama got it 100% right, and this is supposed to be Romney’s one area of expertise. After all, no one’s supposed to vote for him because of his winning personality, his dancing horse or his magic undies.
I’d only add one point. Romney’s opposition to the auto rescue, and the subsequent rebound of the industry, undermine Romney’s whole philosophical opposition to government intervention in the economy, which is at the core of his differences with Barack Obama over the most important issue facing the country right now — i.e., how best to ensure the country’s recovery and restore economic security for the middle class. It’s mostly forgotten now, but Romney didn’t just oppose the auto rescue; he predicted that government interference of the sort Obama pursued would ultimately destroy the industry.
Romney’s “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Op ed is mostly talked about in terms of what it said about his desire to see the companies taken into managed bankruptcy. But in that piece, Romney also wrote: “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler 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.” He added that the bailout would “seal their fate.” Needless to say, that has not happened.
By the way: Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has now felt compelled by Romney’s disinformation campaign to set the record straight a second time. In an email to shareholders, he confirmed: “I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.”
Marchionne added: “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand. It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.” Yet the Romney campaign is expanding its ad campaign claiming the contrary. For Mitt Romney, there is a lot riding on this lie.