Democrats go nuts for the auto bailout

Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was a disaster in office – an instructive example of Obamanomics failure.  Her tenure was marked by skyrocketing unemployment, gigantic tax increases, expensive “green energy” boondoggles, and crony corruption.  Among her misadventures was a $9 million state grant to a convicted embezzler running a phony company.

She’s a nasty piece of work, too, making headlines last week for celebrating the way a dangerous tropical storm interfered with the Republican convention.  “I guess God has ways to shut that whole thing down,” she mused on Twitter, combing a bit of humor at the expense of human suffering with a slam at Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin.  The Democrats had to put God back into their party platform under extreme duress, to the lusty jeers of the assembled delegates, but they’re always willing to subcontract Him as a saboteur.

Incompetent and vicious?  Sounds perfect for Barack Obama’s convention!  And Granholm did not disappoint, turning her boring boilerplate speech into a memorable moment by going absolutely bonkers behind the podium in the bottom half:

The dreary opening of her speech had a few noteworthy attributes, too.  Her evident disdain for the neighborhood where Mitt Romney grew up must rankle its current residents.  It’s a nice example of Democrat divisiveness: they love their favored citizens, but casually insult the rest.

Then Granholm went into the auto bailout, which was a big topic for the Democrats all during the convention.  It’s not easy to spin a massive $30 billion taxpayer loss as an “achievement,” let alone a signature accomplishment that should earn Barack Obama re-election.  Why, a few more $30 billion losses and we’ll all be rich!

And don’t forget, Obama provoked gasps of horror recently by saying he wants to take over even more industries with similar bailouts.  “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry,” he said in Colorado last month… a promise I couldn’t help but notice he doesn’t seem interested in repeating out loud at the moment, especially since GM looks to be gliding dangerously close to another bankruptcy.

The Democrats spin GM as a unique Obama “success” by painting horror stories of what would have happened without Obama’s loving guidance.  As you can see from Granholm’s speech, they gloss over the fact that GM did go bankrupt.  Instead, they redefine “bankrupt” to mean something more like “cease to exist.”  The really unhinged part of Granholm’s performance comes when she’s pointing at various parts of the crowd and assuring them hundreds of thousands of jobs would have disappeared, if Obama had not saved them.

Part of this Democrat effort involves distorting and misquoting something Romney wrote in the New York Times, back in November 2008, in a piece entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”  He didn’t call for erasing Detroit from the face of the earth, or shutting down the auto industry.  You’d never know it from Granholm’s crazy speech, but in substance, Romney used this op-ed to call for… almost exactly what Barack Obama actually did.

The key paragraph reads as follows: “The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing.  A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs.  It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.  The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk.”

The remainder of Romney’s article is a diagnosis of the auto industry’s problems, and suggestions for remedial steps such as dismissing the current management in favor of innovators recruited from other industries, getting labor costs under control, and better long-term financial strategies.  He also called for greater federal government investment in “new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science, and the like.”  He was insistent on making auto industry shareholders and bondholders deal with the consequences of their bad “bet on management.”

“In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check,” Romney concluded.  None of this is remotely compatible with the notion that Romney wanted these companies to shut their doors.  For better or worse, it’s not all that far from what Obama eventually did, at least as regards filing for bankruptcy and restructuring.

This is how Romney reviewed the auto bailout in May 2012: “Well, it’s pretty straightforward because before President Obama was even president, back in November when there was a discussion about writing a check to the auto industry or having them go bankrupt, I said they must go bankrupt.  That’s the only way to get them back on their feet.  If they’re in trouble, they need to go through bankruptcy.  And the Obama administration stalled for about six months and finally came to that conclusion.  The companies went through bankruptcy. Now they’re back on their feet. That was the right course – it was the course that I fought for.”

The Democrats could have claimed whatever credit they wanted for the GM bailout without over-reaching and portraying Romney as eager to dynamite the assembly lines.  They could have repeated his general agreement with the strategy Obama eventually employed, and challenge Romney to be more specific about what he thinks Obama did wrong.  But that’s a lot harder than waving your arms around and screaming like a lunatic to get the crowd worked up.