“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” Romney Attacks GM in Final Days of Election; GM Defends Record From Romney Lies, Calls Them ‘Fantasy’

Before we get into the new morass of mud and muck dredged up by the Romney campaign and slung at the US auto industry, it’s important to establish a few facts. This effort is useful as the Romney campaign, with its almost daily distortions and flip-flops, has been the most fact-free bid for the Presidency of any election cycle in modern memory. Romney’s most recent smear campaign, waged against the US auto industry and, by extension, American workers, is just the newest in a daily stream of distortions, gimmicks, smears, and attempts to terrorize the US electorate.

First, in an op-ed to the New York Times entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney, in his opening sentence, stated:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.

Coming into office and facing the worst economic decline since the Great Depression left behind by the Bush Administration, President Obama decided to act to save over 2 million American jobs by directly supporting the auto industry bailout. Though far less expensive than the TARP program to bail out the US financial sector, the auto bailout provided much more direct support to the US middle class by ensuring that auto industry and supply chain jobs were not lost and that key US industries did not collapse. Conservatives of every stripe immediately howled that such government intervention would result in an US auto industry ‘doomsday.’ And Mitt Romney added his voice to those claiming US automakers would fail if they accepted government assistance during the worst of times.

As the years passed, Mitt Romney and conservatives have been proven drastically wrong. The US auto industry has recovered. GM is again the number 1 seller of automobiles in the world. And the industry is in the process of adding US jobs and repatriating jobs from overseas. This dramatic success belies republican and Romney drama to the contrary. It shows that the leadership role Obama took to save the US auto industry is now beginning to pay off. And, most glaringly, it shows the deep, systemic, failure of the current, rigid republican economic ideology.

Meanwhile, the corporation Romney built — Bain Capital — is now preparing to dismantle a factory that manufactures sensors for the auto industry in Freeport Illinois and ship their jobs overseas. Nearly 200 workers at the Sensata factory which Bain bought-out will find their jobs outsourced to China before the end of this year. This is a result of the outsourcing and off-shoring legacy that Romney pioneered while head of Bain Capital. (See more about Sensata here.)

This dual narrative of Obama’s leadership and success combined with Romney still profiting from liquidating US factories and sending the jobs overseas has had devastating effect for Romney in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan who know all too well how damaging outsourcing and off-shoring have been to their economies. Loss of critical factories like the one at Sensata has resulted in the gutting of entire communities. Whole neighborhoods in Detroit are now ghost towns as a result of the kind of outsourcing Mitt Romney pioneered at Bain Capital. Some of these lost jobs may never come back, captured by 99 cent an hour Chinese workers and a country that is unwilling to establish laws to protect its own people from the abuses of vulture capitalists like Romney. China may as well have foisted a sign emblazoned ‘Robber Barons R’ Us.’ And, Romney, among many others, came flocking to exploit the slave wage labor there by dismantling US factories and sending them overseas.

Perhaps too late, Romney has realized how damaging these methods of employing equities firms and off-shoring practices to accumulate personal profit have become. But the realization appears to have now stuck with a vengeance. And, in typical Romney fashion, Romney is now waging a media campaign against the very business Obama was so successful in saving and that, since late 2009, has directly added thousands of US jobs.

The Romney campaign is now running a malicious and false advertisement claiming that Jeep plans to ship US jobs overseas to China. The ad comes as Jeep revealed plans to build two manufacturing plants in China over the coming years. But, contrary to Romney’s false assertion, Jeep’s China expansion is not coming at the cost of any US manufacturing. Unlike Romney’s Sensata, no Jeep facilities are being shut down. No workers are being forced to train their Chinese replacements, as Romney’s Bain is forcing Sensata workers to do so. In fact, Jeep and GM have pledged to take profits from the Chinese operation and use it to create more jobs in the US. It’s almost the exact reverse of the Romney model. Call it in-sourcing, or re-sourcing, or repatriating, or even re-shoring. But it’s definitely not the Romney/Bain model for outsourcing and off-shoring.

Since late 2009, Jeep alone has added over 4600 US jobs, showing, in fact, that Romney’s claims are patently false.

GM was quick to defend its record from Romney’s false attacks:

“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

Crysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in an email to employees refuted Romney’s claims by simply laying out the facts:

“Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” Marchionne stated in the e-mail. “The numbers tell the story,” followed by specific investments Chrysler has made in Detroit, Toledo and Belvidere, Ill. “Those include more than $1.7 billion to produce the successor of the Jeep Liberty and hire about 1,100 workers on a second shift by 2013.”

The additional 1100 jobs are on top of the 4600 jobs Jeep has already added. In contrast, Romney’s Bain will, in the next couple months, send another 200 jobs to China. So the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

And the media is starting to pick up on Romney’s egregious assault of lies against the US auto industry and US workers. The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently called the Romney advertisements attacking the auto industry ‘economic terrorism.’ The Detroit Free Press has published this in-depth piece exposing Romney’s false claims. The conservative-leaning US News and World Report posted an analysis showing how the US auto expansion in China was helping to support jobs expansion at home. And FactCheck.org labeled Romney’s recent advertising blitz “flat wrong” stating:

“It’s misleading to suggest that Chrysler’s decision to expand into China will cost U.S. jobs — especially after the company has said it would have no impact on its U.S. operations.”

The fact-checking website noted a report from Bloomberg that Chrysler was considering “adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.” Meanwhile Chrysler, in a dramatic refutation of Romney’s doomsday prediction for the US auto industry, just reported a third quarter profit of $381 million, up 80 percent from a year ago.

It seems likely that the Romney misinformation machine may have just bitten off more than it can chew. Considering the wide-ranging backlash taking shape from both the US auto industry and the broader media, it appears that Romney’s false attacks against GM and Jeep are about to erupt in his face. The US auto industry is firmly on its path to recovery, with each new report showing positive results. Further, the US auto industry is in the process of adding thousands of jobs here in America. Both of these points prove Romney dramatically wrong. Wrong in his ‘Let Detroit go Bankrupt’ op-ed and wrong now. Finally, these attacks only serve to call attention to Romney’s own record of sending US jobs overseas, the most recent example of which is Sensata.

Links:

http://www.freep.com/article/20121031/NEWS15/310310091/GM-and-Chrysler-Romney-is-wrong

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html?_r=0

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2012/10/31/gm-on-romney-campaign-politics-at-its-cynical-worst/

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2012/10/31/memo-to-mitt-romney-gms-success-in-china-is-good-for-america

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34222_162-57542993/gm-like-chrysler-refutes-romneys-auto-industry-ad/

http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/10/gm-aide-romney-ads-part-of-parallel-universe-147753.html

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/10/30/GM-Gap-between-Romney-ad-and-reality/UPI-56761351637557/

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Salt Lake Tribune Labels Mitt Romney a ‘Shape-Shifter,’ Calls Mitt’s Character into Question

In its damning criticism of Mitt Romney, the Salt Lake Tribune article entitled Too Many Mitts based its endorsement of President Obama on the numerous instances where Mitt Romney has demonstrated himself to be an inconsistent, unreliable, untrustworthy, self-contradictory politician willing to say or do anything to be elected.

“As the party’s shape-shifting nominee,” the Tribune says, “Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: ‘Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?’ ”

Conversely the Tribune praised Obama as a “a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day.”

The Tribune’s criticisms of Mitt for being a ‘shape shifter’ couples well with Mitt’s own record, a video sample of which is produced here. It also adds to the GOP’s own criticism of Mitt in which every major GOP primary contender accused Mitt of being a liar. Newt Gingrich when openly asked if he believed Romney was a liar on CBS’s morning show plainly stated ‘yes.’

What is, perhaps, more telling is that the major newspaper for a State primarily made up of Mormons would heap such damning criticism on one of their own. Perhaps the notion of Romney’s consistent and obvious instances of ‘bearing false witness’ was too much to bear. Or, perhaps, the far more moderate Mormon — Harry Reid — provides a better example of constancy and leadership than Mitt who often comes off as equal parts grasping, pandering, and elitist. It’s certainly an inelegant combination of traits and one not well disposed to effectively engaging the office of US President.

Mitt Romney to CEOs, Business Owners: Tell Employees How to Vote

(David Siegel, above, told employees to vote for Romney or be at risk of losing their job)

According to recent news reports in the Huffington Post, Mitt Romney in a June conference call to the right-leaning National Federation of Independent Business told CEOs to tell their employees which Presidential Candidate to vote for. And in a separate telephone town hall with small business owners Romney urged the owners to relay their thoughts on to employees after demagoguing Obama for having an “anti-business” agenda (In These Times).

“I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections,” Romney said.

Boiled down, what Romney is essentially saying is ‘tell your employees to vote for me, otherwise they will lose their job.’

Such activity used to be illegal in the United States and was outlawed after numerous Robber Baron CEOs and company owners used various means to intimidate employees to vote for particular candidates. But, in the 80s, these laws were eroded both by non-enforcement and by numerous conservative judges of anti-union, anti-worker sentiment. The result was that by the 90s many companies were actively involved in mining their employees as a political base to push their agenda in Washington and to elect candidates whom the company board of directors considered favorable to short-term profits.

Voter intimidation, however, didn’t fully return until the Citizen’s United ruling greatly expanded employers rights to bully employees. And, as a result, companies from Bank of America to Koch Industries to Westgate Resorts are issuing letters to employees, threatening their jobs if Obama is elected.

“If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company,” Siegel, CEO of Westgate (self-styled king shown above) said in a letter telling his workers to vote for Romney. Author Allen, CEO (and petty dictator) of ASG Software in a letter to employees stated “If we fail as a nation to make the right choice on November 6th … I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come.”

Ironically, these ridiculous statements come as companies are seeing large growth in profits after Obama’s economic recovery again led the businesses forward. Westgate, in particular, has been very profitable and, despite increased revenues has done little to expand employee roles or increase employee compensation. So most of the profit is going to Siegel himself. Of his employees Siegel stated: “They’re my children and I’m like their Jewish Mother.”

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