If you hadn't noticed yet, Tweedle-dee, Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-how-stupid-are-you-to-take-a-fleet-of-jets and their scary Op-Eds haven't done anything to Save GM or either of the other not-so-Big Three. The Senate is not pleased with their behavior. But here comes Mitt Romney, "favorite son" of Michigan. The guy who took tons of auto-exec money and said this before the Michigan primary:
"I want to bring Michigan back. I am not willing to sit back and say 'too bad for Michigan, too bad for the car industry, too bad for the people who lost their jobs, they are gone forever.' I will not rest when I am president of the United States until Michigan is brought back."
January is a long time ago in Romneyville as Mitt said this in the NY Times earlier this week:
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.
What's the difference? After losing both the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries, Michigan became an incredibly important state for Romney's presidential quest. He was a big cheerleader for the auto industry and, according to the NY Times He:
campaigned as a populist champion for the auto industry on his way to winning Michigan’s primary last year, excoriating Senator John McCain for declaring on the stump that some of the industry’s lost jobs were not coming back.
Circumstances are different now and the $700 billion treasury bailout enraged small business conservatives. Michigan isn't as important a state for Romney as it once was and, if he wants to stay relevant, talking about the Detroit bailout has proven to be a big way to gain attention. There's nothing wrong about believing that bankruptcy is the best path for the automakers. Many would disagree, but it is a completely valid point. What's wrong is that when Romney says Detroit shouldn't "ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost," he fails to mention that in Michigan, during the primary, he also bet on Michigan. He said that he opposed new mileage requirements. He said we should give aid to bailout health care and pension costs of the automakers. From another article in January:
Romney proposed increased government spending for research on advanced fuels and vehicles, aid to automakers to deal with the costs of health care and pensions for retirees, and tax cuts for most taxpayers to help them buy new cars. [...] In Warren, McCain said he would be "ashamed" to tell voters that the lost jobs would return to Michigan, but he vowed to take care of displaced workers through a promised job retraining program that would be offered through community colleges.
There's nothing outrageous about what Romney is saying, but we have yet to see him aknowledge why he suddenly changed his mind. [Photos by Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images, GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images, Bill Pugliano/Getty Images, J.D. Pooley/Getty Images ]