2012 GOP Presidential Contenders Warned Auto Rescue ‘Virtually Guaranteed’ Auto Industry’s ‘Demise’

When the Obama administration first moved to rescue General Motors and Chrysler — in the process saving tens of thousands of jobs — Republicans went on the offensive, claiming that saving two of Detroit’s automakers from vanishing was “the road to socialism” and a “war on capitalism.” Now that the companies are profitable again — posting another strong month in March — the GOP hasn’t been advertising its previous denunciations.

In fact, RealClearPolitics’ Erin McPike noted that, as of March 9, 2012 GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC website featured all of the op-eds that Romney authored since 2008, with one notable exception: “Not on his site is a Nov. 18, 2008, piece in the New York Times entitled, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’ in which he argued against the auto bailout.” (Romney has since posted the op-ed.) In that piece, Romney railed against the auto rescue, saying that it “guaranteed” the “demise” of the American auto industry:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

But Romney is far from the only potential 2012 nominee that had harsh words for the auto rescue. Here’s a rundown of some of the other 2012 frontrunners and their thoughts on the administration’s auto rescue:

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN): You now have politicians chiding the auto industry over size of cars, what they should do, their business decisions, dealership decisions. That is not the proper province for the United States Congress…This is not the United States of America that we know and love and remember. This looks like some sort of a republic from the — South America circa 1970s.

Gov. Haley Barbour (MS): If we watch the Obama administration fire the CEO of General Motors and replace the board of directors of a private corporation, it shows how far-left their views is about government’s role in the economy…This is not so much an economic agenda as an ideological agenda.

Gov. Mitch Daniels (IN): The only thing we know for certain is the way they’ve been doing business does not work and throwing taxpayer dollars after it won’t make it work.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich: “Government intervention to boost companies like General Motors Corp. has ‘already failed.’ “Bureaucrats managing companies does not work, politicians dominating the economy does not work.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR): As tragic as it would have been (to let GM fail), the greater tragedy is setting up an entitlement mentality where nobody has the risk of failure except the people who pay.

The GOP, in large numbers, derided the auto rescue as an inevitable failure. The administration should be trumpeting that, in fact, the opposite occurred.