Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Romney, the auto industry, and short attention spans

It looks like Mitt Romney is counting on short attention spans to win the 2012 Republican nomination for President.

I just read this in Liberty Maven:

For once it seems that when it comes to the auto industry bailout Ron Paul agrees with Mitt Romney, or is it the other way around? Romney said the following about the bailouts in a New York Times op-ed.

“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.”

“Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”

But I had a nagging feeling in the back of my head as I read this - wasn't Romney saying something different when he was running in the Michigan primary? I checked Slate, and I was right:

Romney ran in Michigan the way many people thought he should have from the start: as a man from the business world who could fix their problems. He also pandered robustly. Romney told Michiganders he would protect them from the business cycle and save their jobs. (It was a neat trick that Romney could win support for his success in the business world—where he succeeded by not protecting every job—while simultaneously promising to protect every job.) McCain had decided not to tell locals what they wanted to hear and said that some jobs weren't coming back. McCain said he'd cut pork-barrel projects. Romney promised Michigan-specific help from Washington. (At times it felt like he was running for Senate.)

So why was Romney promising Michigan-specific help in the beginning of the year, and is now opposing that help at the end of the year?

P.S. As I was writing this post, FriendFeed user Paul made the following comment:

Romney is running for President in 2012. If he's wrong nobody will care because there will be a whole new set of issues to debate and no one will care. If he's right he'll remind us about how right he was. Plus he has the added luxury of not having any of his solutions put to the test.

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