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Mitt Romney measures his ... support from independents (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Mitt Romney exaggerates how much he knows about how to save the auto industry (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Mitt Romney's Detroit News op-ed about how President Obama saved the auto industry the wrong way and therefore sucks has drawn a significant critique: Romney doesn't know what he's talking about. First off, let's not forget that the Bush administration had made loans to GM and Chrysler before Obama was even in office. We can see why Romney would gloss over that, but more interesting is the widely held view explained by the New York Times' Michael Shear:
Officials in Mr. Obama’s administration, and many economists in both parties, scoff at Mr. Romney’s suggestion that a managed bankruptcy was possible without the billions of dollars in government aid to the car companies. They say Wall Street and private equity firms in early 2009 were in no position to lend the kind of money that the companies needed to manage the bankruptcy process in an orderly fashion.
Steven Rattner, who headed up Obama's auto industry task force, is still more blunt, saying that Romney's claims about how the auto companies could have been saved "would get somebody a C-grade at best at the Harvard Business School" and that, in the 2009 search for private financing for the industry, "We took every phone call, we made as many outgoing calls as we could think of."

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), too, makes this point, writing that "in early 2009 I met with Bob Nardelli, who was at the time the Chairman and CEO of Chrysler, and he told me that if the government did not act as the 'lender of last resort' the company was three weeks away from liquidation."

A central part of Romney's insistence on his way of doing things, though, is that he doesn't think unionized auto workers suffered enough; he would have made sure the beating they took was fatal, to their unions at least. But as Peters continues,

In Mitt Romney's experience as a leveraged buyout expert, he learned to put the claims of creditors and investors ahead of workers, but what President Obama understood is that the value of the American auto industry is more than just its return on investment for shareholders—it's also the millions of good paying, middle class jobs that the industry supports.
Romney's false claims about bailouts and union bosses and crony capitalism may play well in the Republican primary he's currently fighting to win. But if he makes it to the general election, the strength of the auto industry and the jobs resurgence it's bringing with it will speak for the president who made it possible, not the candidate who wanted none of it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 07:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Since corporations are people... (16+ / 0-)

    Romney wanted them to die, so the LDS Church could baptize them.

  •  Thanks Laura (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 07:56:04 AM PST

  •  I was more offended by his pathetic attempt... (7+ / 0-) suddenly declare himself a "Son of Detroit" after not having lived anywhere near the city since he turned 5 years old:

    Romney: "Son of Detroit"?? BWA-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!

  •  What an ass.....So consumed by Obama Derangement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, Aquarius40, vcmvo2

    Syndrome....he couldn't even keep his mouth shut.

  •  Rmoney's not getting a lot of love in Michigan (6+ / 0-)

    Deservedly so.

    There is very little manufacturing in the state that doesn't support the auto industry in one manner or another.

    It would have been much more than just Chrysler or GM on the ropes.  It would have been large employers and parts companies such Nexteer, Delphi, and Gentex, as well.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

    by Richard Cranium on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:01:19 AM PST

  •  Anybody else hoping... (5+ / 0-)

    ... that the Santorum surge subsides so we can all have fun watching Obama wipe the floor with Mittens in the general election?

    All you need is three chords and the truth, man - Jimi Hendrix

    by CharlieHipHop on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:03:08 AM PST

    •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlieHipHop, Losty

      I've been saying Mittens is toast since that walloping last Tuesday. Obama is not going to have a shot at him. Shame.

      I hope they're ready for Rickmania. Sounds laughable but with the coming oil crisis and who knows what in Euro, forgive me if I'm worried as hell that Santorum is the other choice.

      "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

      by xsonogall on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:06:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear ya' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A lot of things can go horribly wrong between now and November which is why I'm glad the Obama administration isn't tooting its own horn too loudly.  I don't want a "Mission Accomplished" scenario would not be good.

        Santorum will be harder to beat than Mitt, simply because he comes across as more of a "normal guy."  Remember what happened last time the "guy you'd like to have a beer with" went up against a competent candidate?  Yeah... we can't afford that again.

        All you need is three chords and the truth, man - Jimi Hendrix

        by CharlieHipHop on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:58:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the "Guy I'd like to have a beer with..." (0+ / 0-)

          ...argument actually is not as strong for Santorum as I originally thought. Relative to Romney of course, Santorum wins. But Santorum doesn't particularly strike me as blue collary as W did. He seems much stiffer, and can get sanctimonious (would you want to have a beer with someone who lectures you all the time about your sex life?) when he goes on one of his rants. Maybe that's just me though.

          His strength IMO is bringing out the uber-religious folks. I don't see those guys hanging out at the bar much, though they will GOTV.

          "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

          by xsonogall on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 09:29:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not literally, of course (0+ / 0-)

            I mean, he seems like the kind of guy a lot of "normal folks" can relate to, much more so than Mittens.  

            All you need is three chords and the truth, man - Jimi Hendrix

            by CharlieHipHop on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 10:50:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How, exactly? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Santorum is a religious fanatic and most people don't relate very well to them. God knows women aren't going to relate very well to a guy who thinks they're damned to hell if they take the pill.

              I'm really getting sick of this worry over Santorum. He would get slaughtered by Obama and you know it. If he's the nominee, the percentage of women voting Democratic could hit an all-time high.

              Not that Romney's much better. At this point the GOP is reaching an "all our options suck" point in their choices.

          •  Santonum's only strength (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gsbadj, BobBlueMass

            Is not being Romney.

            Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

            by walk2live on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:01:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, it is laughable. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I can't believe the worry over the Dog Humper. Calm down.

    •  Totally... (0+ / 0-)

      The more I hear of Mittt, the more I like him... Against Obama.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 09:00:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No way: I hope Santorum stays in (0+ / 0-)

      The longer Santorum stays in the race, the longer it forces Mittens to take more outrageous hard right stances.

      If Santorum wasn't in it now, Romney would be backpedalling to the center like you wouldn't believe.  If Romney is to have any shot, THAT'S where he needs to be... assuming the economy stops looking better.

      The more outrageous stances Mittens has to take, the more fodder for Obama.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:46:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      I'm tired of "values" debates. Let's talk about something that actually matters.

  •  If ROmney knew shame, he would be embarrassed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of himself

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:58:25 AM PST

  •  I don't know how much Rawmoney knows about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, raster44

    autos - aside from how to tie a dog to the roof of one. But he's gonna find out one thing, first you lose your bearings, then the wheels come off.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 09:00:42 AM PST

  •  I posted this yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Dannyboy

    ...but it bears repeating:)

    If you don't live in Michigan, you might not know that the UAW made huge concessions to keep GM and Chrysler afloat.  But in Michigan, there are thousands of UAW members working under those concessions.  And thousands more who know one of those workers.

    If you didn't live in Michigan, you might not know that there are more than 100,000 people working in the auto industry who weren't working at all last year, not even counting parts suppliers, professionals, and connected busnesses.  But in Michigan, there are thousands of actual workers building Chevy Sonics in Orion (replacing the Korean-built Aveo), or getting trained to go back to work at a reopened plant in Detroit building Vipers for Chrysler, or building insourced Ford Fusions in Flat Rock (they were being made in Mexico), to mention only a few such instances.

    If you didn't live in Michigan, you might not remember Bob Nardelli begging for government loans in 2009 because no private capital was available.  Hell you probably don't know the name Bob Nardelli.  But thousands of people in Michigan remember what the head of Chrysler said and did in 2009.

    I'm a union lawyer.  I followed this in detail.  But most people I know here in California- hell even liberals- hell liberals everywhere- don't know the whole truth about how Obama saved the auto industry.  But hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan do- even Republicans.

    You can't lie to people who know the truth and get away with it, Mitt

  •  Romney or Bush (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    would have done pretty much the same thing Obama did.

    I know Romney is pissed that there are workers receiving middle class wages and benefits, but if the Obama "fuck the UAW" White House could have destroyed the unions and saved the auto industry they would have done it.

  •  C-? Romney would get an F in business school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, JeffW

    If his horrid plan of saving GM and Chrysler were introduced.

    And he's supposed to be Mr. "I know how business works".

  •  If Mitt Romney had his way... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, JML9999, pademocrat, JeffW, Matt Z

    Rick Santorum would've been forced to drive a German car.

    •  Why are republicans so full of shit, Trix? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      During the Iowa caucuses, Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, drew attention as he crossed the state in a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup belonging to a campaign aide and dubbed the “Chuck Truck: for aide Chuck Laudner. As was reported by the website earlier this year, “Whether or not it was intentional, the Dodge Ram has become a symbol for Santorum to prove that he’s hardworking and has spent the time to travel across the state.”

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:47:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rmoney has a penis that is <> big. That's what I get from the pic.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:39:14 PM PST

  •  I hear tell Mitt drove the entire length of I94 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobBlueMass, Matt Z

    Looking for JFK Airport

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:40:55 PM PST

  •  And that is the difference between Obama and (6+ / 0-)

    Romney, Democrats and Republicans in 2012, in a nutshell:  the Democratic President saw that there was value in supporting jobs that will permit people to make American lives for themselves and participate in a democracy; whereas the Republican saw value only in rewarding investors and shareholders, damn the consequences for people, society and democracy.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:43:28 PM PST

  •  'no sweat for Obama in Michigan' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Chicago Lawyer, Matt Z

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:45:07 PM PST

  •  . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mumtaznepal, JeffW

    i can't wait to 'speak for the president who made it possible,'

    ... among LOTS of other things.

    Addington's perpwalk is the trailhead of accountability for this wound to our national psyche. (But go ahead and arrest Rumsfeld, too.)

    by greenbird on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:45:18 PM PST

  •  Except (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    It was a union bailout, as a number of union pension funds, including Delphi's, were preserved while non-union funds were thrown under the bus. Basically, the government came in, decided to pull the plug on holders of common shares, shore up union jobs and pensions and buy the labor vote. In fact, if there was any clear principle at all at work in the GM bailout it was to preserve union jobs, period.

    The irony in all of this is that GM, like most of the rest of Detroit's auto industry, had collaborated with the unions in slitting their own throats by virtue of earlier decades of tariff and importation bailouts, all of which let the car companies blithely float along for years without having to come to terms with the genuine challenges they faced from international competition. By the time they owned up to the necessity to build cars with modern design, to decent quality standards and begin (begin) to think about their miserable service standards, the horse was out of the barn.

    So yeah, this is crony capitalism, with the government picking winners and losers. Now, congratulations if the government decided to save your job at GM. And too bad about your grandmother, whose pension fund held old GM stock. And sorry if your job was in a different industry, one that the government didn't rush forward to save. C'est la vie.

    •  Thank you for your support! /snark n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 08:20:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You don't know what you're talking about. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdld, DuzT

      You weren't a union employee, you weren't an employee at a major supplier, and you weren't in the executive suite at one of the big three.  You don't know how dire the situation was late 2008/early 2009.  You don't know how cash was unavailable at any price.  You don't understand how the U.S. auto industry is organized at present, with a complete lack of vertical integration, so there are thousands of suppliers with millions of employees whose only customers are the big three.  You don't understand how many towns in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc., are ultimately dependent on these firms.  Yes the unions were helped by the bail-outs.  So were a ton of white-collar employees, suppliers, small business owners, municipal governments, etc.  You just don't know what you're talking about.

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        for the rant, none of which touched the main point, which is that it was a union bailout—for good or bad. The auto industry got a pretty good deal and others foundered. So yeah, I understand. Wish you did, too.

        •  No tears for equity (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry, but that is what happens to equity.  Especially in great depressions.  Pension funds have some govt protections already.  This was about saving godknowshowmuch of MI, this country, the world, which would have come crashing down, had it failed precipitously.

          At least, this bailout did save middle class jobs, and the companies did what they were supposed to, make cars.  Unlike the banks, which still can't be bothered to make loans.

    •  Fuck off (0+ / 0-)

      Imagine putting workers, families, and a major chunk of the country ahead of stock owners. Oh the horrors!!!!!

      Cry me a freakin river. I'm not seeing a problem with that. Wall Street can take care of itself, and does.

      Not only are your banker buddies still walking the streets instead of a jail cell, there getting mega bonuses again. Salivating for the chance to fuck the economy again. Fighting any and all regulations.

      And you get all pissy because some working people got bailed out?

      And plenty of non-union management jobs got saved, too. Course they were the ones that created this little problem to begin with:

      By the time they owned up to the necessity to build cars with modern design, to decent quality standards and begin (begin) to think about their miserable service standards, the horse was out of the barn.
      So thanks for dropping by banker boy. Bain you.

      Democrats are not always right, but Republicans are insane.

      by BobBlueMass on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 08:17:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the media never let Mitty complete his sentences, for Pete's sake!  What he's trying to tell us is "I know how to run a business...into the ground! And scoop up the liquidated assets to buy a 5th home!"

    I fixed his name by moving one letter -- it's "Mitt R' Money"! Better, no?

    by Sick Semper on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 08:25:28 PM PST

  •  Dogs resemble their masters (0+ / 0-)

    Romney's dog did to Romney's auto what Romney did to the auto industry.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 08:32:02 PM PST

  •  Even The Economist apologized to the President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, Matt Z

    In August 2010:

    An apology is due to Barack Obama: his takeover of GM could have gone horribly wrong, but it has not

    And they reiterated it in this February 14 article about Romney

    Mitt Romney and the car industryA Detroiter in his own mind

    Free-marketeers that we are, The Economist agreed with Mr Romney at the time. But we later apologised for that position. "Had the government not stepped in, GM might have restructured under normal bankruptcy procedures, without putting public money at risk", we said. But "given the panic that gripped private is more likely that GM would have been liquidated, sending a cascade of destruction through the supply chain on which its rivals, too, depended." Even Ford, which avoided bankruptcy, feared the industry would collapse if GM went down. At the time that seemed like a real possibility. The credit markets were bone-dry, making the privately financed bankruptcy that Mr Romney favoured improbable. He conveniently ignores this bit of history in claiming to have been right all along.
  •  Romney Is Full of Shit. (6+ / 0-)

    Excuse the generality of this comment because I don't want to reveal my identity.

    I worked on the bail-out of one of the Detroit auto companies.  Let me be perfectly clear: In late 2008/early 2009, when the bail-outs were being put together, there was NO MONEY available to support the big auto companies from ANY source other than the U.S. government.  At least one of these firms was, at one point quite literally, a couple days from being shuttered and liquidated.  I mean sold for parts, all employees fired immediately with nothing.  We would have had a weekly initial claims print of 2,000,000+ in Spring 2009, and Detroit would have been burning so brightly you could see it from Wall Street.  You might think I'm exaggerating, but were you involved with negotiations with the Department of the Treasury?  Private equity money (i.e., money from Romney's buds) was nowhere to be seen.  Romney is being completely disingenuous here.  Either he doesn't know what he's talking about, or he's simply lying.

    •  I wasn't personally involved... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      djMikulec, JanetT in MD

      ...but I know some of the people who were.  Not only through professional connections, but personal ones (my uncle is long time UAW staff, retired but still consulting).  The above is 100 percent factual.  Also the entire meme about "bailing out uinion bosses" is bullshit.  The UAW traded pension and health plan liabilities for those ownership options; it looks sweet now but was a huge dice roll and the long term outlook is still uncertain.  They also agreed to create esstentially three wage tiers, one for long term employees, one for new hires, and another for employees building small cars.  

      When GM reopened the Orion plant to build the Sonic, for example,many of the recalled workers were forced to choose a job at the "small car" rate or permanent layoff with loss of senioity/recall rights (i.e. they weren't allowed to reject the job and wait for work at another plant at full wage).  Now, in the latest bargaining, the UAW got significant raises in the lower tiers, but at the end of the contract, they'll still be $6-8 an hour below top tier.  Are they good jobs compared to what's out there?  Hell yes.    Did the workers make huge concessions?  Also hell yes. Has it helped bring work back to the USA? Again, hell yes.

    •  Even when Romney doesn't .. (0+ / 0-)

      ..know what he's talking about, he still manages to be lying somehow.  It's a unique gift.

    •  Plus the warranties (0+ / 0-)

      How is a company going to restructure in bankruptcy, when no one will buy this kind of product without a real warranty.

    •  Lying (0+ / 0-)

      Btw, the answer to your question, lying, and in a particularly disgusting way.

      he is telling us he is such a brilliant businessman, he has this magic thing he calls a "structured bankruptcy," you see, he just is sooooooooo much smarter than all of us.  I mean, look at all his money, that proves it, right?

  •  does he have a personal driver? (0+ / 0-)

    except for the dog on the roof Chevy, and the long lost car accident that scared him away from cars thing, I don't seem to find anything on what kind of cars he currently owns. rather than rides in.

  •  Of Course, He Knows But He's Lying (0+ / 0-)

    Romney's quarter $billion in the bank comes from a career spent creating and exploiting bankruptcies like the one he's recommending (purely without doing it and now in hindsight). Especially the part where the government bails out the parts that would have destroyed the profit in the deal. Of course he knows, better than nearly anyone, from actual experience, that the banks couldn't finance the method he's insisting on. Much of the money in his bank came from the government money needed to finance the many bankruptcies he caused.

    Romney, as usual, is simply a liar. And, as increasingly usual, nobody believes him.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:29:07 AM PST

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