Mittens Is A Creepy Kind Of Cat

I was watching television this morning, minding my own bidness, when I had what I thought was a hallucination. It was in the form of this headline crawling across the screen during Good Morning America:

ROMNEY TAKES CREDIT FOR AUTO INDUSTRY RECOVERY

What! I thought, as I rubbed my eyes. I waited a few more minutes until it crawled by again. Sure enough:

ROMNEY TAKES CREDIT FOR AUTO INDUSTRY RECOVERY

Could it be true? Could Romney’s affection for deception have finally spun completely out of control? Or was ABC News simply playing a little joke, sort of like if it had created this headline:

RUSH LIMBAUGH TAKES CREDIT FOR INVENTING SKINNY MARGARITA

That headline creeping across my screen would have made more sense to me.

In any case, it turns out it is true, at least the part about Romney taking credit for the auto industry recovery:

I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy. And finally, when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.

Now, I have recently called Romney a pathological prevaricator, but even I grossly underestimated the depth of his pathology. Does this man think he can hypnotize us with his audacity? Does he think his daring lies will induce some kind of collective amnesia and we will all forget about his infamous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” piece in The New York Times? He told us then:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.

Romney also told Larry King:

Bailout of enterprises that are in trouble, that’s not the right way to go. I know President Bush started it with the auto industry. I thought it was a mistake.

He said that way back in 2009, which is about a gazillion years ago in Romney-time.

Mittens—who is running for president based on his bidness acumen—claims that his idea of a “managed bankruptcy” for the auto industry would have worked without the government bailout. Except there is this one crushing fact out there that contradicts his foolhardy claim:

The federal judge who presided over Chrysler’s bankruptcy told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the ailing company could not have survived without taxpayer money.

No bailout, no Chrysler.

As Jennifer Granholm, who was governor of Michigan at the time, said on ABC’s This Week a couple of Sundays ago, there would be no auto industry at all if it weren’t for the government bailout because no one was willing to put up the money to save the companies.”We were calling everybody, begging,” she insisted.

And here is an excerpt from a Reuters article in 2009 that enlarges the case for the necessity of the bailout:

The global auto industry would have collapsed if the U.S. government had not provided taxpayer-backed financing for automakers General Motors and Chrysler, according to the chief executive officer of Motors Liquidation Co…

“If GM had gone down, the world’s supply base would have gone down,” said Al Koch, speaking at the Reuters Restructuring Summit in New York. Koch was GM’s chief restructuring officer during the bankruptcy and now heads the GM unit that is being liquidated.

“There wouldn’t have been a manufacturer that could have completed a car, because somewhere on the car there would be a part that needs to come from a supplier that had failed,” he said.

All of which serves to show that with Mitt Romney, we are not dealing with an ordinary politician’s attempt to spin facts in his favor. No, no, no. He brazenly invents new facts and discards old ones, hoping to blind us with his bluster or to bewitch us with his bombast.

He is a strange and creepy cat.

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6 Comments

  1. I have my doubts, Duane, that this is the slam dunk you make it out to be. Some of Romney’s critique rings true to me. Consider this from the November 2008 Romney article:

    It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers.

    But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.

    These comments make sense to me. The Big Three have historically placed marketing, size and design bling ahead of quality and ergonomics, despite being out-sold by the Japanese because of those factors. Their recovery, from what I read, is due not just to the government bailout but also to significant salary “sacrifices” by both labor and management, both of whom were apparently frightened into a cooperative mode of operation. Also assisting was the Japanese tsunami which put a severe crimp into their competition, and at the same time the inevitable accumulation of deferred demand as the economy recovered.

    I’ve been a long time critic of Detroit’s big three auto makers and I have concerns that they may well drift back into their old bad habits. Let’s hope not, but I recall them handing out bonuses to both management and labor recently. Shouldn’t they be investing instead in some of the R&D Mitt mentioned?

    Meantime though, I think what actually happened was in fact a “managed bankruptcy”, albeit with the addition of significant government money which was not available from the private sector. Mitt was wrong, but he wasn’t all wrong IMO.

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    • Jim,as far as there bad habits, I believe that they have already broken some of those. They had too many brands in the past with too many options. By axing the Pontiac, Saturn, and Olds brands they have become much more nimble,like Toyota. It seems they have a good mix of fuel efficient cars,gas guzzling SUVs, trucks,and luxury autos to satisfy our changing demands, which seem to change with gas prices.

      As far as Romney wanting the government to invest in new energy sources,I do not see that happening with this current group of Republican Congressmen, do you? They have continually mocked any efforts even suggesting such things.

      Kabe

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      • @ Kabe,

        The R&D I had in mind for them was further refinement of fossil fuel efficiencies, and advanced (lighter, stronger) materials. As a battery engineer I am supremely pessimistic about electrics – they are a long way from competitive. Hybrids are interesting, but have a ways to go. Alternate fuels won’t fly because the infrastructure takes more than one political cycle to become cost-effective. America can adapt to smaller vehicles- we’ve already started to do so.

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      • Jim,

        I am surprised.

        First , you seem to give scant attention to the point of the government bailout: There would be no auto industry if Bush, then Obama, hadn’t stepped in to bridge the gap to managed bankruptcy. Romney was 100% wrong about that. And for a guy who is selling his business savvy , that seems to me to be fatal. Remember, he said in the opening of his NYTs piece:

        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.

        I don’t know how you can even partially overlook that salient claim. Romney wasn’t just partly wrong, he was completely wrong. If it weren’t for the bailout, there would not have been a Second Act for the auto industry and Mittens today would be talking in Ohio about Obama’s “failed leadership” on jobs.

        If an astronomer predicted a celestial event with the certainty that Romney predicted the demise of the auto industry given the bailout, and the celestial event didn’t occur, wouldn’t we be entitled to think he had lost his credibility?

        Secondly, you seem to suggest (via quoting  Romney: “I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today“) that a Romney administration would, in fact, increase such spending (you said: : “These comments make sense to me“). Except we know that Romney has embraced the Ryan budget plan. Do you really think that given all the budget cuts in that plan (such as they are) that there will be increased money for “energy research spending“? Huh?

        I am sorry to suggest this, my friend, but I think your statement, “I’ve been a long time critic of Detroit’s big three auto makers,” has clouded your judgment. The issue with Romney and the bailout has absolutely nothing to do with the behavior of the big three automakers prior to the bailout. It is demonstrably clear that the auto bailout was the right thing to do and it is equally clear that a President Romney would not have done the right thing and the auto industry would have died. That is the issue in this case; all else is irrelevant, it seems to me.

        Duane

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  2. jdhight01

     /  May 9, 2012

    Yes, he is a strange and creepy character and an outright liar. Personally, I can’t wait for Obama to debate this character and show him for the phony that he is. I wonder if he forgets that there is such a thing as video, where his past words can come to haunt him? He is a true work of art–the comics.

    As far as support for him, a very conservative, tea-party type of friend of mine said that he will not vote for the president in November. It appears that he, in his words, despises both candidates and will not vote for either one of them. He also said his group of like-minded, corporate-loving fascists (my words, not his) all feel the same way. While I expect him to change his mind by November, it is somewhat of a “snapshot” of what many Republicans think of their candidate.

    I also want to comment on my use of the word fascist for the extreme right. Almost every time I discuss political issues with someone of a differing philosophy, I am called a socialist or communist. The person or persons never blink an eye or crack a smile when they say it, meaning that they actually believe it (I do embrace some socialist philosophies, as you know, Duane, but I am not a communist, as others that read this blog believe). If they can call me that for disagreeing with them, then I feel that I can respond in kind and refer to them as a fascist, or someone who believes that government and corporations should control the government (refer to Benito Mussolini’s statement: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power, ” and the following website: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7260.htm). The clearing house article states that fascists work toward the suppression of unions, are obsessed with national security, want to control the media, have disdain for intellectuals and the arts (Santorum’s comments against higher education), believe in the supremacy of the military, conduct fraudulent elections, engage in cronyism when elected, and other tidbits that point at the tea party and the current Republican Party. There, I feel better now.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  May 9, 2012

    Well done, Jim,

    You said what I would have said had I been in town when this was posted, by and large.

    Duane claims there “would have been no auto industry……” Baloney. What he should have said is there would have been no auto industry as we KNEW such industry from the past. Does anyone believe that Americans would have simply stopped creating news autos and making them without a government bailout. Crazy thinking.

    I am sure most of you have heard of Paridign Shifts, a whole new way of doing something. No government bailout and we would have seen a tremendous paridign shift in American auto industry, a radical and huge change.

    NO ONE should take credit for what is going on in American auto industry today. Why? Short term gains vs long term changes to REALLY create what we need in transportation by vehicles in America today, like starting with a safe 100 mgp vehicle using fossil fuel and then moving to alternative energies like hydrogen, the fuel of the universe for our transportation needs.

    Liberals are suppose to advocate major changes. The government bailout of Detroit prevented such major changes by sustaining the business as usual American auto industry and letting Japan and Korea continue to lead the way in innovation. Hybrides anyone?

    All the bailout did was save union jobs, at the expense of investors lossing their shirts! Typical liberal call for change, right? Oh, the big guns also saved their golden parachutes as well, just to be fair. GM would not have had a pot to piss in to pay the departing CEO a penny without the bailout!!

    Anson

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