Thursday, August 30, 2012
Paul Ryan Tries To Pin Janesville On Obama And Everyone Jumps On Him
1st Gear: Paul Ryan Tries To Pin Janesville On Obama And Everyone Jumps On Him
Usually, when politicians mislead people about the auto industry, the audience vaguely nods and forgets about it. That didn't happen last night. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan attempted to blame President Obama for failing to support the General Motors plant in his hometown, Janesville, WI. Except that the plant, for all intents and purposes, closed in December 2008, before Obama was inaugurated, and GM made the plant closing announcement in June 2008, before Obama was officially his party's nominee. And Ryan got handed his hat for it by every political fact checker in the country (including Fox News).
In his address to the Republican National Convention, Ryan zeroed in on an Obama speech from February, 2008, when Obama was still neck and neck with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. At the time, Obama said that if the government could support the auto industry, the plant "will be here for another 100 years." Ryan said, "Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day." Yes, it is, and it's legitimate to ask, why didn't Ryan himself do more to save it? Back in 2003, Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt and one-time presidential candidate managed to convince Ford to spare a plant suburban St. Louis. You have to figure Michigan's John Dingell went to bat numerous times to keep car plants open. And by the way, it was Senate Republicans who kept GM and Chrysler from getting a Congressional bailout in 2008, which is why both the Bush and Obama administrations stepped up with aid to the auto industry. Couldn't Ryan have used his dairyland charm to change some Senate votes?
The most puzzling thing about Ryan's effort to blame Obama for Janesville is that it's so easy to check. That plant was on the bubble for YEARS before it closed, basically because it made SUVs in a market that had turned away from SUVs. It's quite possible Ryan couldn't have convinced GM to close it no matter what he'd done. But rewriting history, when so many people were around to document what really happened, is probably not a good idea. As Ryan now knows.
Posted at 09:29 PM | Permalink