Now that the work is done, conservatives decide to show up:
General Motors Co., state, and local officials are to visit the company’s Toledo Powertrain Plant on Tuesday where they are expected to announce plans to invest an additional $260 million and hire up to 400 additional employees to produce new fuel-efficient eight-speed transmissions for upcoming products.
Dan Akerson, GM’s chairman and chief executive officer, is expected to join Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the plant at 1455 West Alexis Rd. for the announcement, scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
I’m pleased that GM is hiring. But, it is deeply offensive to me that former FOX News personality and auto bailout opponent Ohio Governor John Kasich is busy scooping up the political reward for a risk he and the entire lock-step conservative chorus decided it was politically expedient not to take. They bet against the bailout. Now that it’s showing signs of success, they’re showing up to take credit. No risk, all reward.
Here’s Ohio’s own John Boehner on Obama’s decision to save the US auto industry:
“The pattern here is pretty clear,” House Minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “Every time the president makes a so-called tough decision, it’s the American middle class that gets hit the hardest.”
It’s bad enough nonsensical strings of words like this went unchallenged at the time, but is anyone going to ask him about that statement, today? GM and Toledo, Mr. Boehner. Any comments on the “American middle class”?
I’m not alone in resenting this. Here’s a county chair in Ohio at the scene of Kasich’s last victory lap who said it better than I can:
“What people need to remember is that the Governor, and many of his Republican colleagues opposed the Obama Administration’s decision to bail out GM and save the American auto industry.”
“Yet, the very bailout that Gov. Kasich has stated that he was opposed to has insured that there is still a functioning GM plant in the Mahoning Valley for him to visit today. If the Governor had had his way, he wouldn’t be visiting a place where a hard working Ohioan can receive fair wages for an honest day’s work.”
The auto bailout was unpopular with the public. Obama did it anyway, because he knew that letting the US auto industry fail while the broader economy was in free-fall would hit this region so hard we wouldn’t be able to get back up. And, there was no political payoff or reward for accepting responsibility and making that decision, obviously. Governor Kasich (with the help of millions in free advertising from his former colleagues at FOX) won in Ohio.
It was a gutsy move. No one (including me) thought it had a snowball’s chance of succeeding even this far. Obama paid a heavy political price for making the decision and sticking with it. It is offensive that the same set of no-show conservatives, the same people who opposed him every step of the way, are now arriving just in time to collect the political paycheck they didn’t earn, on hard work they didn’t do.
“This is somewhere in between Baghdad and fixing the flood in Louisiana,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said, comparing the GM decision to major stumbles by former President George W. Bush. Obama “has decided to take this over. He now owns it.”
If only that were true, right?