What’s Past Is Prologue

American Motor’s Ambassador SST

This election, more than any in recent memory, was won and lost on substantive issues, one in particular. The auto bailout was the lynchpin of this election. President Obama implemented the auto bailout that saved both General Motors and Chrysler. Conversely, Governor Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”, stating his opposition to this government bailout.

Throughout this campaign we have heard like a steady drumbeat that this election was all about jobs. We have also been hearing that the battleground state of Ohio would be ground zero. The high number of auto related jobs in Ohio, has me asking what was Romney thinking? You cannot proclaim your opposition to the rescue of an industry that many voters depend on and then claim that you are all about saving and creating jobs. No one will believe you.

Romney doubled-down with a late campaign attack that asserted that the Obama bailed out Chrysler, now Italian owned, planned to ship Ohio Jeep production to China. The Obama campaign, Chrysler management and labor all declared this a lie. Chrysler went on to put their money where their mouth was. It gave all its employees the day off, so they could vote. It turned out not to be true that Ohio was required for Obama’s victory. He would still have won the election even if he had lost the state. Still it is somehow symbolic that last night, when the networks declared Obama the victor in Ohio, they also gave him the election.

Remembering back to this year’s Super Bowl, one of the most prophetic ads was Chrysler’s “Halftime in America”. It played during the game’s halftime and was widely perceived as a tacit endorsement of a second Obama term. It was narrated by actor Clint Eastwood, who later went on to yell at an empty chair during the Republican National Convention. I guess that Clint just works better with a script. Republicans have complained that Chrysler’s Chairman Sergio Marchionne is in the bag for Obama. I prefer to say that he has Barack’s back, as in if you watch my back, I’ll watch yours. I do have one question for Mr. Romney, how could the son of an auto company president be so clueless about auto politics?

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