Feb 16, 2012

Romney Having a Mitt Fit

It’s been a bad few weeks for Mitt Romney. First, there was theshellacking he took at the hands of Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Now he trails his underfunded, underdog rival in Michigan where the Romney name is supposed have the allure of Ford or Schembechler.

The national polls don’t look much better.  Most Republicans are now picking Rick and Mitt Romney is left to wonder if his “inevitable nomination” will go the way of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid, sending him back to the private sector work he so frequently crows about.Romney, who has been credited for his resolve and discipline in this race, now seems to be having what can only be described as a “Mitt Fit.” It started with a bizarre op-ed in the Detroit News criticizing government assistance to the auto industry.  The man who once said we should let Detroit go bankrupt first reasserted his so-called belief that “the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing.” But then he wrote this of the plan that saved it: “This was crony capitalism on a grand scale. The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

What utter nonsense. First of all, government assistance to the auto industry started under President Bush and was continued by President Obama. In a recent speech to the National Automobile Dealers Association, Bush said quite plainly, “I’d do it again.” That’s because it worked. 1.4 million jobs were saved. The auto industry is expected to add 150,000 more jobs over the next four years. And General Motors is the top automaker in the world again.

So what is Romney missing that two diametrically opposed presidents understood? Our guess is nothing. Romney, who has made being disingenuous an art form,is staking out this position as a way to attack labor unions. It is a desperate attempt to excite a Republican base more fired up about their next dentist appointment than his candidacy. In the Detroit News piece, his anti-union angle is clear as day. “American taxpayers have been left on the hook for billions to benefit unions and the union bosses who contributed millions to Barack Obama's election campaign,” he wrote. “Such a state of affairs is intolerable, and as president I would not tolerate it.”  We get it Mitt—you hate unions or at least you think hating unions is the best way to the nomination. But the auto loans were paid back. And the 1.4 million people whose jobs were saved—the ones who work on assembly lines and factory floors—are workers, not bosses. Your disdain for these Americans is what’s truly intolerable.

Just when we thought the Detroit News piece was as wacky as it gets, we read this headline from a Romney for President press release: “Rick Santorum: Big Labor's Favorite Senator.” Oh right. We in the labor movement can’t get enough Santorum. This is a guy who established one of the most extreme anti-worker records during his time in the U.S. Senate. He voted against increasing the minimum wage and farm price supports crucial to the job security of thousands of agricultural workers. He has vowed to repeal manufacturing regulations that keep workers safe, falsely blamed unions for bankrupting state governments, and supports giving even more tax breaks to big corporations. We at the UFCW have many favorite Senators—Santorum is not one of them. But at least he’s honest.

It appears Mitt Romney will stoop to any low—from revisionist history on the auto industry to turning Rick Santorum into Ted Kennedy—to win his party’s nomination. But his attacks on unions and the workers they represent aren’t working.  Santorum is winning. And if he thinks this line of argument is unpopular now, just wait until the general election.

1 comment:

jennylyn said...

"I really do not have a sense of what is right and what is wrong in this issue. For me i would be happy to look at on the safer side to have the people their jobs rather than closing that car manufacturer and leaving all those people hungry. Whether this is an act of personal and political interest I really do not mind as long as they can give jobs to people.

Jennylyn from perruque pas cher "