A German company is battling with a Japanese one to become the world's biggest automaker. Italians own Chrysler. It's like World War II except we're losing. So why are Republicans suddenly on the side of the automotive Axis powers?
It was little more than half-a-century ago the armies of Rome, Berlin and Tokyo were defeated by Detroit's "Arsenal of Democracy" equipped by American carmakers. Yet to hear it lately from conservatives and leaders in the Republican Party, American automakers are what's wrong with this country, should be boycotted, and go bankrupt.
Senator John McCain told reporters that we should have never bailed out Chrysler and GM and let them go under.
"No, I don't think we ever should have bailed out Chrysler and General Motors," McCain told The Detroit News. "We should have let them go into bankruptcy, emerge and become viable corporations again."
This, of course, while he was out drumming up support for his 2010 Senate run while serving as the grand marshal of a NASCAR event where the very good ol' boys he was drumming up support from were watching Chrysler and GM products race. And, as The Detroit News points out, we did let them go into bankruptcy. We're still waiting to find out whether they'll emerge as stronger companies.
Confusingly, McCain seems to be channeling John Kerry in being for the bailout before he was against it. Now, of course, he's going so far as to refer to it as "Socialism."
And just this weekend RNC Chairman Michael Steele responded to the news of GM going further in debt by pointing out this statement:
"Today's release of General Motors' financial results is further proof that President Obama's economic experiments are wrong for America."
So who do the Republicans like? At last year's Detroit Auto Show we had a conversation with Senator Bob Corker, the Republican who lead the charge against the bailout, and he talked about the Volkswagens he loves. Not a surprise given VW is joining Nissan in building a huge plant in his state.
In fact, there have been a number of foreign car companies moving better-than-minimum-wage assembly plants into states represented by Republican senators, including BMW in South Carolina, Toyota in Texas, Nissan/VW in Tennessee, and Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai in Alabama. Of course, we can't blame the Chrysler-Fiat "Global Strategic Alliance" alliance on the Republican party.
Ironically, this is the same Republican party upset about the Chinese purchase of Hummer. As Republican Representative Duncan Hunter told the Wall Street Journal: "Any money that is going to China or to Chinese companies is contributing in some way to China's military buildup."
So supporting American car companies is socialism and supporting every other country's investments in production capacity is capitalism and therefore good for America.
But hey, the Germans, Japanese, Chinese and Italians are our friends so who says we need any domestic car production or car companies? Of course, we're probably just paranoid. Maybe the real reason the Republicans hate GM and Chrysler is just that they really like Ford.
Photo Credit: DiggerHistory