Detroit revving its engine


Republican predictions about the failure of the Obama administration’s auto-industry policy keep looking worse.

Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up.

Three years after the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed, sales of cars and trucks are surging. Sales could exceed 14 million this year, above last year’s 12.8 million.

The result: Carmakers are adding shifts and hiring thousands of workers around the country. Carmakers and parts companies added more than 38,000 jobs last year, reaching a total of 717,000. And automakers have announced plans to add another 13,000 this year, mostly on night shifts.

The new “problem” facing the American auto industry is one the Big Three haven’t seen in a while: the companies are doing so well, production is straining the industry’s existing factory network.

Obviously, this isn’t what Mitt Romney expected when he started making predictions about Obama’s policy in 2009. At the time, Mr. “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” was so certain Obama’s policy would fail, he said Americans could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if the administration’s policy was implemented. Indeed, at the time, Romney called the White House plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.” He wrote an April 2009 piece in which he said Obama’s plan “would make GM the living dead.”

That’s a long way from “Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up.”

Romney’s critics aren’t going to let this go, and it increasingly appears that the former governor’s misjudgment on the industry will be a central focus of the 2012 race. AFSCME unveiled this new ad today, which will be aired in Ohio in advance of the Republican primary. “Romney would have turned his back on us — in the depths of the recession,” the ad says. “But he supported giving the banks billions in bailouts? That’s Mitt’s world. Why would we want to live in it?”

Incidentally, Romney appeared on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, still insisting he was right in 2009, despite all evidence to the contrary. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who backs Romney despite their difference of opinion on Obama’s rescue policy, added over the weekend, “[I]t’s history, and the important part is it was successful, we’re moving along, creating jobs.”

Or to translate, “There’s no point in dwelling on one of Obama’s most important success stories.”

Detroit revving its engine