Mitt ‘The Flipper’ Romney is flopping again. After years of criticizing the auto industry bailout and declaring that Detroit should just be left to go bankrupt, Romney is now trying to take credit for saving it. Eric Ferhnstrom is the advisor who said that Mitt Romney would be like an Etch-A-Sketch coming out of the Republican Primary. He said that the campaign would reverse course on many different issues, and true to his word, the Romney campaign has flip-flopped over and over again, especially on the auto bailout.
In January 2008, Romney complained that the government needed to step in and help the auto industry. Speaking to reporters outside of a General Motors plant, Romney asked,
“The question is, where is Washington? Are we going to let the entire automobile industry, domestic manufactured automotive industry, disappear and just say, ‘Well, that was tough, that’s just the way it is?’”
Right after President Obama won in November 2008, Romney penned an op-ed, stating that we should have “let Detroit go bankrupt” and that “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if the government bails out the industry.
Romney proposed a managed bankruptcy using private funding, which no one was willing to provide. So the federal government had no choice but to use tax payer dollars to rescue the ailing industry and the millions of American jobs tied to it. If Romney had his way, the American auto industry would no longer exist.
Romney then attacked President Obama as recently as February in a new op-ed in the Detroit News, accusing the President of “crony capitalism” and desperately charging that President Obama used the funds to enrich labor unions.
Of course, we all know how the auto bailout turned out. The American auto industry is now back on top of the world, millions of jobs were saved and many more have been created since. The government loans have since been fully repaid with interest and what Romney would have allowed to fail is now a thriving success. But according to Romney advisor Eric Ferhnstrom, Mitt Romney deserves all of the credit for saving the industry.
During an appearance at a discussion hosted by The Washington Post, Ferhnstrom claimed that President Obama took Romney’s advice to go with a managed bankruptcy to save the industry, and thus, Mitt Romney is really the one who deserved the credit for rescuing the American auto industry.
“His position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed,” Fehrnstrom stated. “He said, ‘If you want to save the auto industry, just don’t write them a check. That will seal their doom. What they need to do is go through a managed bankruptcy process.’ The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”
But President Obama didn’t follow Romney’s advice at all. Romney wanted to wait for private loans to magically appear to relieve the industry of its woes. But private industry could hardly be persuaded to give out $10,000 loans, so they certainly weren’t going to hand out billions of dollars of loan money. Romney’s plan would have allowed the industry to crumble, resulting in millions of job losses that would cruelly trickle down to everyone and anyone connected with the industry. The fact is, Mitt can’t sit there and brag about how his plan (whatever that is) would create millions of jobs, while at the same time calling for an industry to fail, which would cause millions of job losses.
Michigan Republicans Governor Rick Snyder and Congressman Fred Upton both unenthusiastically endorsed Romney while diagreeing with his criticism of the bailout. Even President Obama’s advisor on the auto bailout, Steven Rattner, has said that Romney’s “managed bankruptcy” plan would have been a total disaster because no private company was willing to shell out billions of dollars to a struggling industry during the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.
“If the advice that he had prescribed in November of 2008 had been followed by either the Bush administration or the Obama administration, we would have today no auto industry, no Detroit, no state of Michigan — no exaggeration. Both administrations concluded there was no such thing possible as a managed bankruptcy.”
Had Romney been in charge, the American auto industry would have tanked like a company bought and gutted by Bain Capital. But Mitt Romney wants us all to believe that he’s the one who really saved the auto industry, even though he had nothing to do with the initial enacting of the bailout and also had nothing to do with the implementation. Are we really to believe that Mitt Romney has been slamming his own idea this whole time? Why would he do that? If it were really his idea, he would have stood by it and praised it from the start. But Romney didn’t do that. It is only now when the industry has made a complete turnaround that has become a major success of the Obama Administration that Romney decides that he should get credit. If the industry had failed with the government bailout, Romney would not be equally willing to take the blame. He would solely blame President Obama. But since it has in fact succeeded, Romney wants to claim that he was the one with the idea. If he could, Romney would take credit for every good thing President Obama has managed to do. It won’t long, Romney will be claiming complete credit for the Affordable Care Act and for ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden. And he still may do that if, and only if, it becomes politically expedient for him to turn the knobs on the Etch-A-Sketch and do so. You have to wonder how conservatives feel about watching Mitt Romney slowly adopt and endorse each of President Obama’s policies as the election rolls on.