Taking credit for policies they opposed

TAKING CREDIT FOR POLICIES THEY OPPOSED…. One of the more frustrating habits congressional Republicans have adopted is taking credit for Obama administration initiatives that the GOP either hated, tried to kill, or both. We’ve seen this several dozen times with the stimulus — Republicans hated the Recovery Act, right up until they take credit for provisions in it that benefit their state or district.

This is also true for one of President Obama’s biggest success stories: the rescue of the American auto industry. Zaid Jilani flags a great example of a Republican touting the same effort he trashed when it began.

General Motors recently announced that, thanks to federal efforts to keep the American auto industry from going under, it would be able to rehire 483 workers at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to manufacture “three variants of Ecotec four-cylinder engines.” The $438 million arrangement will start producing engines for the Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC models by 2011.

As auto blog Jalopnik reports, the plant recently held a ceremony to welcome back the new workers to begin production of the Ecotec engines. Attending the ceremony were three local Republican legislators, Sens. Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Ironically, all three of these lawmakers opposed the plans to save General Motors and other U.S. auto companies. This didn’t stop Corker from taking credit for the federal rescue, anyway. At the event he claimed he “contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country.” Jalopnik reports that “irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker.”

Corker deserved to be booed. When the administration first intervened to rescue the industry, Corker described the president’s actions as “truly breathtaking” and said government ownership roles at Chrysler and GM “should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.”

He went on to characterize Obama’s rescue effort as “a major power grab.”

But now that we know Obama was right and Republicans were wrong (again), Corker wants to show up at a GM plant to take a bow. The plant wouldn’t have existed if Corker had his way. GM might not even exist if we’d followed Corker’s advice from 2009.

What’s more, Corker keeps trying to claim credit for the president’s success. In early August, the conservative senator boasted, “The ideas [Republicans] laid out there were followed through. I take some pleasure out of helping make that contribution.”

It’s a cheap, hack move. Corker hated the auto industry “bailout,” and we now know he got it wrong. Pretending he supported Obama’s move all along — and that the president embraced Republicans ideas in the policy Republicans denounced — is ridiculous.