As the Obama administration’s rescue of the American automotive industry looks more and more successful, Republicans are left in a bit of a bind. The GOP wasn’t just fierce critics of the effective policy, Republicans also swore up and down that the failure of the president’s approach was inevitable. The GOP would have preferred to see the industry collapse and force hundreds of thousands of workers into unemployment.
We now know that, at the moment of crisis, Obama was right and the GOP was wrong. The next question is what Republicans intend to do about it.
So far, the answer is, “take credit for the policy they fought against.”
This started in earnest last fall, when Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who had characterized the rescue as a “chilling” assault on “free enterprise,” said the president had really only “followed through” on ideas “Republicans laid out.” Other GOP officials moved in a similar direction a few weeks ago.
But Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is unique in his brazenness.
A Romney spokesman said on Tuesday that the president’s plan was modeled after one Mr. Romney advocated in 2008.
“Mitt Romney had the idea first,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, citing the Times opinion article. “You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted.”
You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
Romney spent the spring of 2009 trashing the Obama administration’s policy. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” and told a national television audience that the entire auto industry was likely “to go out of business” as a result of President Obama’s approach. Romney, at the time, called the administration’s plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.”
And now Romney is claiming credit for the same policy he opposed? Seriously? Are Romney and his team simply assuming that we’ve all lost access to Google?
Update: The Romney campaign has a defense for the claim, but to put it mildly, it’s woefully unpersuasive.