GM tells the right what it doesn’t want to hear

GM TELLS THE RIGHT WHAT IT DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR…. Nearly two years ago, NBC News established a tough benchmark: “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.”

I don’t imagine White House officials mind that standard at all.

General Motors, which nearly collapsed from the weight of its debts two years ago before reorganizing in a government-sponsored bankruptcy, said Thursday that it earned $4.7 billion in 2010, the most in more than a decade.

It was the first profitable year since 2004 for G.M., which became publicly traded in November, ending a streak of losses totaling about $90 billion.

In addition, G.M. said 45,000 union workers would receive profit-sharing checks averaging $4,300, the most in the company’s history.

What I find amazing about this, from a purely political perspective, is that Republicans still consider this a failure — it was, for example, a common area of complaint at CPAC a few weeks ago. As far as the right is concerned, the Obama administration’s rescue of the American automotive industry wasn’t just wrong, it was one of the president’s most dreadful mistakes. Confront conservatives with reports like the latest from GM, and the response tends to be that the success of the policy doesn’t change anything.

The thesis about the right valuing ideology over practical results needs no better example.

After noting the usual caveats — GM “could still stumble” — Jonathan Cohn added, “[I]t looks increasingly like the rescue of the auto industry was an overall success, saving hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of jobs and bolstering the country’s manufacturing base for years (if not decades) to come. Maybe it’s time to start giving President Obama some credit for it — and recognizing that, when properly managed, the federal government can do a lot of good.”

Damn straight. Conservative activists got this wrong, and so did their Republican friends in Congress, many of whom literally predicted “disaster.”

These same folks are now insisting the economy will improve just as soon as the House GOP plan — take money out of the economy, lay off hundreds of thousands of American workers — is approved. Given their track record, perhaps now’s a good time to question their credibility.