“That Camaro with the America eagle flag, that helps tell the story,” said President Obama on Tuesday as he used the Washington, D.C., auto show as a political prop to tout his UAW bailout and bash Mitt Romney for “willing to let this industry die.”
The Camaro tells the story, alright — but not as Obama spins it.
The so-called America Pride Camaro SS — adorned with the stars and stripes and images of America history — is a testimony to America’s enduring love for muscle cars, the very cars Obama is trying to extinguish with his 52- mpg-by-2025 regulations.
The Camaro SS is powered by a gas-guzzling, ground-shaking, 6-liter V-8 pumping out 400 horsepower. The Camaro has been a huge hit for Government Motors, selling 88,000 models in 2011 — or about 80,000 more than the plug-in Chevy Volt that the president has declared the automotive future.
Indeed, the Volt’s presence in the lineup of cars that Detroit brought out specially for the president was an embarrassing reminder that GM was saved — not by the hybrids that Obama has mandated that they build — but by profit-making SUVs and large sedans. Obama himself sat in Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee that have been $5,000-per-copy profit engines for the auto industry in a year in which SUVs gained a majority share of the market.
The Jeep was particularly rich, as it has single-handedly saved the bailed-out Chrysler Corp., which Obama had targeted for moral guidance in building tiny Eurocars. But while the Fiat 500 tanked in its first year on the market, the Grand Cherokee became a top-ten bestseller, spurring three-shift production at its Detroit assembly plant.
Obama’s flirtation with the muscle cars was also a reminder that the hypocrite-in-chief himself once drove a muscle car — the Chrysler 300C Hemi. That fact was exposed after Candidate Obama lambasted Detroit automakers for not building more gas-sippers; humiliated, Obama quickly sold his Hemi for a politically correct hybrid.
Such ironies, however, were lost on Obama’s press tail, which wagged happily at The One’s political shots.
“Obama is making the recovery of the U.S. auto industry a major part of his re-election,” salivated USA Today, “Obama just happened to visit the Washington Auto Show the same day as the Republican primary in Florida, where Romney is a big favorite to beat Newt Gingrich. (Obama) added, ‘it’s good to remember that the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die.’”
That statement is flat-out untrue. But the fact-checking watchdogs failed to bark.
In fact, Romney opposed Obama’s version of auto bankruptcy, but did not rule out providing government support — so-called debtor-in-possession financing — while the companies worked out their business plans in regular bankruptcy. The result would likely have been a more competitive industry. But Obama, determined to stroke his union paymasters, rigged the playing field for the UAW.
Such distinctions are ignored by the liberal press, allowing Obama to poison the political waters with demagoguery. As usual, it will be up to Romney to get his message through the press filter.
A good place to start might be sitting in a Grand Cherokee at the Washington Auto Show.