You may have noticed on the schedule today that President Obama is doing three interviews to talk about what he’s done for the auto industry.
Could this be, like, politically motivated?
I notice he’s not getting interviewed in the White House proper, heading over to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building which, though still technically part of the White House, does not look as bad for staging something so obviously political.
Why is it important for people to know what he did for the auto industry? What does awareness of this contribute to other than the president’s reelection strategy?
This is why one of the interviews is with a station in Ohio, and the other with a station in Michigan. These are the states where autos are made, and these are states Obama must win in 2012.
The White House has calculated that the auto bailout will sell in key Midwestern states, even though it was deeply unpopular nationally when the policy was launched under George W. Bush in 2008.
To make it popular everywhere, Obamaland has launched a relentless PR campaign.
Obama mentions the auto rescue at every fundraiser. He traipsed out to Toledo, Ohio Friday on the taxpayers’ dime to tell everyone about what he did. He devoted the weekly address to the issue this week and had Vice President Biden discuss autos during the address last week.
And he’s making hysterical claims, like this one in Toledo.
Or we could have done what a lot of folks in Washington thought we should do, and that is nothing. We could have just let U.S. automakers go into an uncontrolled freefall. And that would have triggered a cascade of damage all across the country. If we let Chrysler and GM fail, plants like this would have shut down, then dealers and suppliers across the country would have shriveled up, then Ford and other automakers could have failed, too, because they wouldn’t have had the suppliers that they needed. And by the time the dominos stopped falling, more than a million jobs, and countless communities, and a proud industry that helped build America’s middle class for generations wouldn’t have been around anymore.
It’s not at all clear that Chrysler and GM would have collapsed. Rather, they more likely would have gone through the painful restructuring of bankruptcy, and come out in better fiscal shape with lower labor costs. Instead, the unions were give their pound of flesh, and everyone got the message that it’s okay to be irresponsible.
Obama posits the choice as all or nothing. He’s got to know this is not likely true. And he probably should start mentioning that the estimated cost of all this more than $14 billion. The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed today detailing the costs, monetary and otherwise.
The automakers went down for a reason. As Albert Milliron of Politisite.com pointed out to me, seven of the ten cars rated worst on the road by Forbes.com in April are American made. Ford, which rejected the bailout, has no cars on the list.
I myself bought a GM car last year. I was proud to do buy American. And I was still proud last month as they towed me out from the middle of angry, honking traffic on eighth avenue and 23rd Street in Manhattan.