Happy days came back Friday to Spring Hill, Tenn., when General Motors announced it would rehire 483 laid-off workers to build four-cylinder engines. On hand to cheer the news: Three Republican lawmakers who opposed the bailout that saved GM.
As part of its $50 billion bankruptcy arranged by the Obama administration, GM shuttered the Spring Hill plant's assembly line last year, shedding 2,000 jobs in the process, but kept building four-cylinder engines. The new plan calls for $483 million in spending to upgrade the engine line, pending a deal on state incentives.
The irony of the Republican lawmakers' presence wasn't lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.
Here's a quick refresher on what these Republicans said then versus their stance today.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
Then: "This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies....This is a major power grab." - March 30, 2009.
Now: "At the end of the day we all have to feel good about what we did," said Corker, who did attempt to negotiate the failed 2008 aid package. "I contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country."
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Then:"This is not the right direction: taxpayer money down the drain, and Washington politicians trying to run auto companies. The sooner the politicians get out of the way, the sooner auto jobs and taxpayer dollars will be secure." - March 30, 2009.
Now: "The center of the auto industry is still moving to Tennessee and the mid-South," Alexander told WSMV-TV.
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Then:"I certainly can't think of the last time the federal government stepping into an industry caused that industry to be more successful, or more efficient. " - December 2008.
Now: Blackburn attended, but no quotes from her have been reported. She has been busy with other issues, including a bill to overturn the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.
Photo: General Motors