Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Here’s Today’s Headline in the WSJ on the Political Fight in Michigan - Santorum, Romney Again Slam Auto Bailouts -

How Exactly Does That Help Republicans Win That State in the Fall

The battle for the Republican Presidential Nomination is now between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.  Newt Gingrich’s campaign is dead, the coroner is about to rule that it was suicide.  So Mr. Santorum and Mr. Romney are battling for the ultra right wing vote and each one is claiming to be more opposed to saving the auto industry than the other one.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a business audience here Thursday that he opposed the government's $80 billion bailout of two Detroit auto makers, as he competed with Mitt Romney for conservative voters in a state where the car industry has staged a rebound.

Yes, Mr. Santorum is in Michigan home of the auto industry and campaigning on the position that the government should have allowed Chrysler and GM to fail, be liquidated and cost Michigan and the economy maybe a million jobs between the direct and indirect jobs associated with the auto industry.  And everyone knows Mr. Romney’s position which is “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”.  The Dismal Political Economist is confused.

Just a Regular Guy Making Lunch
You Would Think with $250 million
Someone Could Make Lunch for Him
See even among Conservatives in Michigan it is hard to imagine that their ideology is so strong that they would choose collapse of the state’s economy over a program of support from the federal government.  And in fact, they don’t.  The state’s radical conservative Governor supports the government’s programs which saved the two companies.

In November there will be a general election.  People of all political positions will be allowed to vote.  And in Michigan exactly how many of those are going to vote for a candidate that wanted to shut down the state’s biggest private employers.  And guess what, auto manufacturing and related jobs are big in Ohio and other states.  So how exactly does attacking a successful program that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs help elect Republicans in the Fall? 

The problem with these candidates is that they could not bring themselves to say the right thing, both from a policy and a political point.  It would be something like congratulating the industry, talking about how they might have done it slightly differently and at less cost (even though that is not true) and then moving on.  When you get a losing hand, you congratulate the winner and get ready to play the next hand.  You don’t raise.

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