In 2009, the Obama administration fought the tide of Republican disapproval and decided to rescue General Motors and Chrysler. Millions in paid back loans and thousands of additional jobs later, GM and Chrysler are on track to sell 14 million cars, the “fastest pace in more than two years.”
The American auto recovery is simultaneously spurring an about-face among GOP naysayers. Once calling on America to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently claimed that the rescue was his idea first. Now, another Republican is following suit: Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).
When first asked about financial aid for the auto industry in 2008, Kasich dismissed the idea, saying, “If they’re not going to be viable, we shouldn’t throw good money after bad.” Asked for his feelings now that the rescue is showing success, Kasich said he is “very pleased” that the Americans have the jobs he originally opposed saving:
Rick Snyder, Kasich’s fellow Republican governor in Michigan, has said that government invention helped save Chrysler and General Motors — and he warned GOP presidential candidates against criticizing the bailout.
Kasich would not go that far.
“What’s done is done,” he said. “We have a strengthening auto industry in Ohio. And I am very pleased about it. I am pleased for the families of workers who have jobs.”
The auto funds have been vital to saving and creating jobs in Ohio. One Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio was able to add 1,100 new jobs this fall. More than merely pleased, Kasich attempted to take credit for the added jobs — a fact that did not escape Ohio workers.
When asked about Romney’s similar position on the auto rescue, Kasich offered, “I think there isn’t a single person that I know that didn’t want to have a strong auto industry in America…Its just a matter of how you get there.” When asked whether he agreed with Romney’s way of “getting there” via bankruptcy, he simply said, “I just don’t have any interest in even commenting on that.”