It’s been about three years since NBC News’ First Read said, “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.” And at this point, it’s fair to say President Obama’s rescue of the American auto industry has been a great success. It was a gamble – not only with the backbone of American manufacturing, but his presidency’s ability to use the power of government to repair a private industry facing collapse – but it paid off.
Indeed, just this morning, the Dayton Daily News reported on the tremendous rebound we’re witnessing in Ohio’s auto industry. Though the Buckeye State struggled throughout the Bush era, Ohio has now added thousands of manufacturing jobs under Obama.
Paul Ryan, however, has a very different kind of story to tell.
“I remember President Obama visiting it when he was first running, saying he’ll keep that plant open,” Ryan said in Ohio Thursday, describing the shuttered GM factory in Janesville, Wis. “One more broken promise.”
Ryan blamed rising gas prices under Obama for the closing. He echoed the complaint in an interview with a local ABC affiliate, suggesting it showed that Obama’s auto rescue was a sham.
“It didn’t help Janesville,” he said. “They shut our plant down. It didn’t help Kenosha. I represent there; they shut down the Chrysler plant.”
Even for Paul Ryan, this is just bizarre. Putting aside how foolish it is to blame Obama for higher gas prices, the Janesville plant he’s referring to closed in 2008 – when Ryan’s pal George W. Bush was president. Unless Obama has a time machine, blaming him for a plant closed before he took office is pretty silly.
But more than that, there’s an underlying oddity to Ryan’s attack having to do with his ideology.
Apparently, as of this morning, the right-wing congressman is complaining that Obama’s rescue of the auto industry wasn’t big enough. The president, according to Ryan’s new argument, should have been bigger and spent more money.
In other words, Obama rescued the American auto industry and saved millions of jobs, but some plants didn’t survive, which means the policy was bad … or something. In the meantime, Ryan’s running mate would have allowed all the industry plants to close as part of his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” policy.
Indeed, given Ryan’s running-mate’s record, maybe he should avoid bringing up the whole subject of plant closings?