A sudden change of heart on the American auto industry

A SUDDEN CHANGE OF HEART ON THE AMERICAN AUTO INDUSTRY…. As we’ve been talking about over the last couple of days, President Obama’s decision to rescue American auto manufacturers looks awfully good with the benefit of hindsight. Republicans were apoplectic at the time, but more than a year later, we now know the GOP was wrong and the Obama White House was right.

The more amusing angle, however, is watching Republicans scramble to justify their enormous mistake. At a moment of crisis, and with the GOP’s credibility on the line, Republicans made the wrong call — but with a little revisionist history, they’re hoping you won’t notice.

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Early last year, as this clip helps make clear, the GOP saw the bailout of the auto industry as a policy that wouldn’t, and quite literally couldn’t, work. It was deemed wholly unacceptable for practical reasons (it would waste money and the industry would fail anyway) and for ideological reasons (it was “Marxism” in practice). Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) proclaimed Obama’s actions “truly breathtaking” and said the government ownership roles at Chrysler and GM “should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.”

Now that this same policy has been deemed an unqualified success, most Republicans are biting their tongue, embarrassed about having been wrong once again. But some GOP officials are nevertheless still talking — and taking partial credit for the policy they perceived as the end of American capitalism.

“The ideas [Republicans] laid out there were followed through,” Corker told the Washington Post. “I take some pleasure out of helping make that contribution.”

Got that? Corker hated the policy last year — it offended his notion of how the government should operate on a fundamental level — but now that it worked, and the evidence is clear that Obama was right, he wants the public to think the president succeeded thanks to the Republican “contributions” to the policy.

This is not only a reminder of just how shameless this crowd really is, it’s a reminder how fortunate America was that Republicans weren’t calling the shots when the pressure was on.