President Romney and the Auto Biz

Romney and Rambler in 2007

Running for President, 2007, with Rambler

If he does become president, where would Mitt Romney finally stand on the auto industry? Of course, we don’t know, because the Governor’s past words on the subject are always open to revision. Still, given his present course, we can predict.

The big bomb he dropped back in 2008 was his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” piece in the New York Times. I had my say about that in May of last year. So have many others.

Prediction 1: Romney as president would be as open to “course correction” as he has been in the past. Meaning that he could not afford to take on the auto industry. There is too much money involved, and the auto companies now have political clout.

Romney’s recent remarks about the need to kill the EPA’s efforts to control emissions—Obama’s effort to “hold down and crush” private enterprise—are a case in point. In 2004 the Governor endorsed California’s tough standards, which the Obama administration subsequently made law, with the agreement of the auto industry.

The standards have worked. They benefit the industry, reduce oil consumption and help clean the air. As president, Mittski could ill afford to reverse course and alienate these constituencies.

Prediction 2: Since the Governor did not tell the truth about the bailout question, we can be sure he will keep bashing federal efforts at job creation—but necessarily find ways to continue them. He is consistent, after all.

Read this very partial but, I think, accurate story about Romney’s claim for the Bain Capital approach to job creation vs. the reality of what’s happened in the comeback of the auto industry.

Prediction 3: He will backwater on his recent remarks about the Volt: “an idea whose time has not come.” In fact, he already excused them by saying that it was the car’s slow sales that justified the statement. Imagine how well all this went down in Michigan.

Mitt Romney in a Nash, 1957

Mitt in a Nash, 1957

Prediction 4: Romney’s auto-industry heritage (dad being a former Michigan governor and chairman of AMC) will be used increasingly to mend fences with those he has offended.

After all, he’s a real car guy, right? At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, he offered to buy a Nash Metropolitan from a guy in a gas station. There is, of course, a difference between a car guy and a car collector. AMC, you may remember, made terrible cars.

How do these predictions add up? Candidates for president are increasingly forced to lie and make statements and promises they cannot and will not keep. Mitt Romney has gone out on more limbs than most, and the rest of the Republican crowd has been, if anything, more ridiculous and blatant in its promises.

The auto industry has little to fear from this guy, but the political process is becoming more corrupt than ever.

Why do you think Governor Romney has bashed Detroit and the industry so consistently?


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  1. Keep in mind that if a Republican was running against Satan, I’d vote for Satan.

  2. I can’t think of which Republican candidate is scarier. Romney is a rich kid that is so out of touch with real Americans that he doesn’t have a clue. Remember, from day one of his birth his social circle and every contact has been with the extremely wealthy white country club set, and that is who he represents.

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