Mitt Romney Says Obama "Failed America," But Romney Was the One Who Wanted to "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"
Today, in a speech officially announcing his candidacy for president that the cable networks couldn't be bothered to cover in full, Mitt Romney declared that our country is inches away from no longer being a free-market economy and accused President Obama of having "failed America."
Back on November 18th, 2008, Mitt Romney wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times, in which he rather explicitly recommended that Detroit's Big Three automakers be allowed to fail.
In fact, he made a prediction. He said that if the not-yet-inaugurated new president gave the automakers a bailout, he would be assuing their doom. Here is how Romney started his essay: "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Romney advocated a managed bankruptcy with no check from the government. In other words, despite his stated belief that this would save the auto industry, he was recommending that all of the Big Three's assets be sold in a fire-sale and that cars be made somewhere else and that autoworkers find new jobs in the worst recession since the 1930's.
The president did force two of the Big Three into a managed bankruptcy, but he also provided the capital Chrysler and General Motors needed to survive. Here's how Joe Biden's former chief of staff Ron Klain puts it:
Of all the policy challenges I saw Obama tackle in my two years in the White House, none was more complex than turning around the U.S. auto industry...
...Even the sickest of the Big Three, Chrysler, whose problems in the spring of 2009 seemed so intractable that the White House gave serious consideration to letting the company go under, posted a $116 million profit for the first quarter of this year and paid back its federal loans six years early. Perhaps most importantly, the auto industry announced in May that it has begun to hire again, a feat that would have been deemed impossible two years ago.
Mitt Romney's father was the governor of Michigan back in the 1960's. He was even a presidential contender until he killed his candidacy by admitting to having been "brainwashed" on Vietnam. The younger Romney was born in Michigan. But, if he had had his way we could have just shuttered the doors on the Great Lakes State and turned out the lights, because without the auto industry, Michigan wouldn't be a state worth maintaining in the Union.
If Mitt Romney goes on to win the Republican nomination and face the president in the fall of 2012, I hope the voters of Michigan see an unending loop of that New York Times headline. "Who saved Michigan? Who wanted it to fail?"