By on February 24, 2010

Presidential campaigns always start with books, and Mitt Romney’s ‘No Apology’ is rolling off the presses. For a guy who unapologetically strapped his dog (in a carrier) on the roof of the Family Truckster, that seems a fitting enough title. But the White House is asking for one; well, not exactly an apology, but it is firmly denying that it is “calling the shots” at GM. According to a Detroit News story, “Romney writes that that an unnamed CEO of an automotive industry corporation told him that despite what is said publicly, ‘the government is calling the shots on every major decision at GM, including which plants to expand and which to close.'” Romney also calls on the government to distribute its GM shares directly to the American people.

Romney’s assistant, Eric Fehrnstrom explains:

“There’s ample evidence that the government is calling the shots at GM, from the Obama administration orchestrating the selection of a new CEO to Rep. Barney Frank pressuring GM to keep open a facility slated for closure. The real issue is that government ought to get out of the auto business and distribute its shares to taxpayers.”

To which the White House responds:

“President Obama took difficult and politically unpopular steps to give the American auto companies a second lease on life and save tens of thousands of American jobs — and today these companies are emerging stronger than ever.

“While the president will continue to monitor the taxpayers’ investment in these companies, he has enough on his plate to have no interest in running them. We don’t, nor have we ever, run the day-to-day operations of GM. Decisions and management are handled by the company alone.”

GM also denied Romney’s claims: “We are free to make the business decisions to restore GM to profitability. We’re making progress, and we are confident we have a bright future.

Romney, son of former AMC  Chairman George Romney, paints an (unsurprising) theme regarding Detroit’s fortunes, past and future:

Romney calls the “decline of the industry and of the great state of Michigan painful to watch.” He adds that restructuring and getting Washington politicians out of “the management of the companies” will lead to a turnaround.

“There is every reason why we ought to be able to reclaim our leadership in the national and international auto market,” writes Romney.

Through such steps as the company shedding “excessive retiree burdens” and investing in technologies, and the federal government setting a “predictable” energy policy, “the American automobile industry would vigorously rebound, and many of thousands of jobs would be preserved and, over time, more thousands would be added.”

Only one question to Mitt: why isn’t he calling for a distribution of the government’s Chrysler shares? Seems like he knows a dog when he sees it, and knows how to get it out of sight.
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35 Comments on “Romney: White House Calling The Shots At GM...”


  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Not hard to believe the feds are sticking their noses into affairs at GM, not hard at all. Just look at the difficulty Gov’t Motors has had in attracting and retaining qualified candidates for CEO, etc.

    As for Romney’s lack of addressing Chrysler, I’d imagine he knows that dog will die from neglect soon anyway, and knows the money isn’t there to recoup… so why waste time on it?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The trouble finding a CEO could be related to the pay restrictions on the company. That is a much more likely reason.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      That may indeed be the case, though I can’t help but think it shouldn’t be very hard for one of the world’s top automakers to attract top-level talent, even with the gov’t-imposed pay restrictions. Especially in this job market.

      Think about it… the job of CEO of GM, Ford, Chrysler… it has almost everything to do with ego. Who wouldn’t want to stake his (or her) claim towards becoming the next Iacocca?

      That leads me to suspect truly qualified candidates have stayed away, recognizing perhaps they don’t want their reputations dragged down in the name of being yes-men to Obama & Co.

  • avatar
    windswords

    That’s a stupid question. GM is the 800 lb. gorilla in this, not Chrysler. Most people when talking about “GM” or “Government Motors” when referring to the auto bailouts probably mean both companies as does Romney.

    P.S. His dog probably had the ride of his life in that carrier. No little kids screaming and yelling and pulling on his tail or ears. No body odor or offending perfume to smell, just the great outdoors.
    “He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.”

    At least until the dog decided to answer mother nature: “A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.”

    Or just for forgetting to stop to let the dog do his business. Been there, done that, and the dog was *inside* the car.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      I agree, that whole dog on the roof thing was horribly over-blown and wholly political. The dog probably ate a months old dead rabbit and had the runs (certainly happens to mine once in a while). If it was revealed that the dog was terrified by this ordeal and had to be thrown onboard or would pee himself in terror every ride, there’d be something to it.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Mitt Romney’s opinion on this issue is as relevant as his father’s opinion on this issue.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Actually I’d really like to know what George Romney, William C. Durant, Henry Ford II, Edsel Ford, Walter Chrysler, & Alfred P. Sloan think of this situation. Too bad that’s impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      I agree and that’s my point – they’re dead. George Romney was a true American leader. Mitt is a goofball and nothing like his father.

    • 0 avatar
      jimboy

      Absolutely correct! I have never seen any indication that Mr. Romney had ANY interest whatsoever in the automobile industry, other than making idiotic pronouncements about it

  • avatar
    carguy

    I’m not sure that Mitt Romney accusing the current administration of anything could be considered credible news anymore. Unfortunately the tone set by prominent conservatives has been a mix of alarmist populism and shrill name calling that it has become very difficult to discern when they actually have a serious point to make.

  • avatar

    Distributing shares to the American people would largely benefit brokers. If the company was worth $20 billion at the time, each American would get about $20 in stock. The broker’s commission would eat a good chunk of such a small amount.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Romney is an idiot who couldn’t lead a cub scout pack, let alone a car company or presidential campaign.

    • 0 avatar
      scottchcaldwell

      Mitt Romney led Bain & Company back from the brink of bankruptcy, led Bain Capital very successfully, led the 2002 Olympics back from the brink of bankruptcy, and led Massachusetts rather successfully. And yet, he couldn’t lead a cub scout pack?

      Whether you like Romney or not, he has a serous track record for success, and a history with the automotive industry. I think he’s spot on about GM.

      And rmwill, next time try adding something useful to the conversation.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark out West

      Uh, he took an initial private investment fund of $37 million and made it (along with his partners) into $65 billion. Single-handedly saved the SLC Olympics, and won the governorship of Massachusetts.

      Yup, sounds like an idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Singlehandedly??? At last glance both the Bain and Company and SLC Olympic org charts were quite large. Were you folks supporters?

      Look at his poor excuse of a Presidential campaign where he a) tried to reinvent himself as a conservative and deny his moderate past (Massive Fail), and b) Laughingly tried to deny his religious roots to pander to Christian voters (Massive Fail). If I was a Mormon I would have been offended at his lack of conviction.

      After the campaign, it was clear he stood for nothing but doing whatever it took to win the nomination, and he failed miserably at it. His grandstanding now is more of the same. He couldn’t run an auto company if it came with an autopilot.

      I still chuckle at his Christmas Tree photo ops. They reminded me of Iron Mike Dukakis in the tank.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Don’t know if Romney is anything worthwhile, and he’s not for me, but is there anybody who seriously disagrees with this?

    Romney goes on in his book, “The question now is whether or not the administration’s heavy hand has protected political and UAW interests in such a way that the industry’s burdens persist.”

    Romney blames the UAW and the federal government for having added a $2,000 “cost disadvantage” to U.S.-made autos that had crippled the Big Three automakers’ ability to compete with foreign vehicle makers. UAW spokeswoman Joan Silvi said the labor group has no comment on the Romney book.

    That $2k is huge in the recent collapse. I’d add that idiotic Detroit 3 ownership/management was the 3rd component in this collapse, but he’s conveniently left that out of his statements.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    I don’t like Mitt Romney personally or as a politician. But I admire him as a businessman. He has been unusually successful in his career, for good reason. His op-ed in the fall of 2008 on what to do with Detroit was right on.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “Romney writes that that an unnamed CEO of an automotive industry corporation told him that despite what is said publicly, ‘the government is calling the shots on every major decision at GM, including which plants to expand and which to close.’”

    And just as soon as that CEO is willing to be named I’ll pay some attention to what Romney is alleging. Until then, this has as much credence as Joe McCarthy’s list of State Dept Communists.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      +1

      Especially as these claims are being made by a failed (and probably future) presidential candidate of the minority party. This is a purely political hit-piece unless backed with named sources.

      Let’s face it, no republican presidential candidate stands a chance in hell (their own damn fault – small tent and all that) outside of their own primary unless Obama takes a true drubbing in popular opinion before hand. He will outcampaign any likely candidate anyway, especially in debates (on both substance and dignified appearance, we all saw that, even unswayed republican voters), so a steady drumroll of unsubstantiated criticism is the only logical path to evening up the odds a bit.

      It’s not Romney fault per se, this is the way both parties operate, but the much publicized campaign of obstruction taken by republican legislators takes more than a bit of credibility out of his claims.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      Frankly, ClutchCarGo, the real problem with your analogy is that once the Iron Curtain fell and Russians opened up their cold war books (for cold hard cash, of course – like everything else in a failed society, that’s all that counted) – it was found that MCCARTHY HAD BEEN RIGHT ALL ALONG and the United States Democratic party, the Media and Hollywood HAD been filled with Communists working for Russia in the 1950’s, actively attempting to bring the country down.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      The only thing missing from that fascist diatribe is the role that the Jews played…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Mr. Carpenter

      That’s a gross exageration. Business as usual tit for tat espionage that both major powers reveled in. There’s a world of difference between “some” and “filled”.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      Tedward is right.

      McCarthy was a paranoid, closeted bisexual alcoholic. but hey, this is the same 28% of the population that also believes Franklin Roosevelt caused the Great Depression, that Japanese internment was a good idea, that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were best buddied, that the Earth is 3,000 years old and that climate change is a Communist plot (for what end, exactly, is never explained).

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      tedward: Let’s face it, no republican presidential candidate stands a chance in hell (their own damn fault – small tent and all that) outside of their own primary unless Obama takes a true drubbing in popular opinion before hand.

      Obama’s popularity is already tanking, so I don’t know exactly what you consider to be a “true drubbing in popular opinion.” From what I see, he is already at that point. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the election results in the race for the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, not to mention the gubernatorial race in New Jersey, where the losing candidates were rather closely identified with the president?

      tedward: He will outcampaign any likely candidate anyway, especially in debates (on both substance and dignified appearance, we all saw that, even unswayed republican voters), so a steady drumroll of unsubstantiated criticism is the only logical path to evening up the odds a bit.

      I wonder when we will see that Obama. What I see is the Chicago Democrat who is in WAY over his head. He does offer style. Unfortunately, we are talking about the President of the United States, not a Gentleman’s Quarterly cover model. Scratch the surface, and there isn’t much there.

      His policies aren’t all that different from those of the Bush Administration. At this point, “hope and change” appear to mean a president who is slightly more articulate (provided the teleprompter is on) with better abs….

      And I fail to see how his criticism is “unsubstantiated.” Last time I checked, the Obama Administration had pressured Rick Wagoner to resign, and encouraged the closure of Pontiac and Saturn. Congressional representatives have pressured GM to keep facilities in their districts open. That sounds like government meddling to me. The fact that the first two were the correct choices to make – ones that GM should have taken on its own – doesn’t change that fact.

      tedward: It’s not Romney fault per se, this is the way both parties operate, but the much publicized campaign of obstruction taken by republican legislators takes more than a bit of credibility out of his claims.

      Yes, those obstructionist Republicans. Never mind that the Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of Congress, and a Democrat is in the White House. Those are the branches of government charged with drafting, passing and signing legislation. Yet the failure to achieve anything…is the fault of the minority party. And talk radio hosts, never mind that they cannot vote on legislation.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      geeber

      a)First of all, a few hundred spies isn’t/wasn’t unusual, I’d bet any amount of money that China has at least as extensive a network as Russia did during the cold war. Also, I have never seen any serious discussion of the matter that didn’t include the caveats of we don’t actually know who most of these people are, if there were that many in the first place (the duplicate issue), or whether the covernames all indicated active spies (maybe prospects, wiretaps, etc…). Rooting them out is a good (job for the FBI/CIA) thing, but doesn’t at all protect against their inevitable replacement (which is why they would string them out to discover contacts). To make my original point again, McCarthy wasn’t particularly effective at doing more than terrorizing American citizens for political gain, the real work went on within our intelligence/enforcement agencies, and McCarthy wasn’t a fool, he undoubtedly knew that.

      EDIT – sorry, that was a response to your post further down the page

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      “Obama’s popularity is already tanking”

      tanking? What, is he down in the 30’s? He’s not campaigning, while dealing with a brutalized job market, and he holding on without launching an internation incident. Not bad, he’s also more able than any other politician I can think of at clear explanation, and that will go a long way when he does start his campaign. Also, it is true that very few trust the current Republican leadership, so he gets a huge leg-up once the debate is back to character judgement and “trust”. The “got nothing done” thing is ridiculous, and is really just a key part of the meme that Republican politicans were trying to create when they decided to go all-in on blocking health care, it may work, but probably not when his future campaign starts spinning that to his own advantage (the inevitable obstructionism/love insurance companies double smear is obviously coming).

      “I wonder when we will see that Obama.”

      Did you miss the last election, or perhaps, most glaringly, the health care question session? That health care thing was handled poorly by the Republican leadership, as they should never have let their lightweights anywhere near that man and a camera. A mistake that they quickly remedied I might add.

      “That sounds like government meddling to me.”

      And what modern government doesn’t meddle? Our’s certainly has through every congress/president match-up I can recall. Bang that drum for politicians of both stripes unless you want to appear unserious. It also doesn’t really trouble me, as I’m not a true-believer conservative.

      “the much publicized campaign of obstruction”

      I reposted my own comment to highlight the use of “much publicized” as entirely intentional, and that the tactic is getting widespread airtime, not that it’s in use. I’m never suprised by obstructionism by either party, but when it’s pointed out repeatedly causes disgust (for good reason) in the general public. When pointed out it also discredits public claims made by politicians of that party.

      You must not know much about Senate procedure if you need to ask why votes are succefully blocked. And talk radio hosts…when did I mention that? They are all douchebags, whatever their stripes.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Romney’s claiming the UAW retiree benefits put the domestic manufacturers at a $2k per vehicle cost disadvantage conveniently ignores two facts: 1)the foreign manufacturers have no such legacy costs in the U.S. because they haven’t been here long enough and they don’t incur the costs in their home countries because the home governments pay them and 2)how is it that Ford is cost competitive and right now making a profit when they have the same legacy costs as GM and Chrysler had?

    Romney and almost all Republicans do nothing but criticize the current administration and my question to them is if your ideas are the best way to proceed what happened with the previous administration which was in power when this entire mess we’re in today was created? Their answer? It was Clinton’s fault.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    +1 ClutchCarGo. This is exactly what I was thinking. And if the anonymous CEO isn’t working at GM, how does he really know?

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I don’t really see where Romney is making a statement that is news. Yeah – the White House is involved, as required. Yeah – politics is involved, as required. With every new government decision, GM’s staffers are going to roll their eyes and struggle, as required.

    Romney has better sources in the auto business than you or I. He also has greater respect from businesspeople than you or I. He has clearly demonstrated that he knows how to earn a living in business, better than you or I. So, in this case, we ought to listen, right?

    It doesn’t matter what his party affiliation is. It really doesn’t.

    And bashing McCarthy is so 60 years ago. The truth came out ten years ago that he wasn’t wrong. If you still want to believe your old history professors instead of the latest news from the Smithsonian Archives regarding The Venona Project, then you are the old fools.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      “It doesn’t matter what his party affiliation is. It really doesn’t.”

      Nothing matters more than this. What I see here is a politician with a clear will to power attempting to build the means. I would say the exact same thing if it was a Democrat teeing off on a Republican president. That said, I’d be very interested if he could produce supporting evidence.

      Re: The Venona Project
      From what I recall, please correct if necessary, the Venona project only revealed a few hundred spies, some of which may not have been spies at all (potential assets, taps on non-spies?) and even those numbers are doubtful when you consider the rotating covernames that would inevitably result in multiple counts. That makes McCarthy a self centered scumbag who rose to prominence on the backs of needlessly ruined lives in my book. Everyone knew there were spies, probably thousands on both sides, do you really think Congressional hearings had any appreciable effect on their ability to operate? Grandstanding, sociopathic indifference and crude opportunism sums it up.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “the Venona project only revealed a few hundred spies…”

      Only a few hundred? Whew! Glad to hear it. I was worried that it was thousands. I can rest easy now.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      tedward: From what I recall, please correct if necessary, the Venona project only revealed a few hundred spies, some of which may not have been spies at all (potential assets, taps on non-spies?) and even those numbers are doubtful when you consider the rotating covernames that would inevitably result in multiple counts.

      You do realize that only ONE spy can do serious damage? A few hundred spies in the U.S. government – especially considering how much smaller the U.S. government was at that time – is pretty serious business.

      The simple fact is that there was a serious espionage effort mounted by the Soviet Union in this country during the 1940s, and both Venona and several Soviet officials from that era have confirmed this.

      tedward: That makes McCarthy a self centered scumbag who rose to prominence on the backs of needlessly ruined lives in my book.

      McCarthy’s problem was that he was too late. The Truman and the Eisenhower administrations had largely addressed the problem. But he was right that had been a serious espionage effort by the Soviet Union.

      Unfortunately, the Roosevelt Administration had been very lax in addressing it. Fortunately, by the time he began making his charges, he didn’t find much of anything, because the government HAD taken steps to address the problem. But saying that there never was a problem is incorrect.

  • avatar
    Maverick

    Romney is a douche of the highest order. Anything to pander to the base, eh?

    Even if it is true that the White House is calling the shots–which I highly doubt–at least GM has got it together for the first time in decades. Might even have the possibility to be a great company once again. Chrysler? That is another story. No one can help that company and it never should have been saved.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      “GM has got it together for the first time in decades.”

      In what sense? Despite the shot to the vein of government money that GM is still feeling, the company is bleeding red ink and a corporate basket case.

  • avatar
    geeber

    tedward: a)First of all, a few hundred spies isn’t/wasn’t unusual, I’d bet any amount of money that China has at least as extensive a network as Russia did during the cold war.

    For that time, it WAS unusual, and several people who should have known better preferred to pretend that the espionage didn’t exist.

    And I’m willing to bet that China’s network isn’t as effective because we are more vigilant…thanks to the foundation of national security created by people who were condemned as anti-communist nutcases back in the day.

    tedward: Also, I have never seen any serious discussion of the matter that didn’t include the caveats of we don’t actually know who most of these people are, if there were that many in the first place (the duplicate issue), or whether the covernames all indicated active spies (maybe prospects, wiretaps, etc…).

    A retired Soviet intelligence/military official wrote a book and confirmed the accuracy of what was in the Venona files. The title escapes me at the moment.

    tedward: To make my original point again, McCarthy wasn’t particularly effective at doing more than terrorizing American citizens for political gain, the real work went on within our intelligence/enforcement agencies, and McCarthy wasn’t a fool, he undoubtedly knew that.

    The point isn’t whether he was effective. The point is whether there really were communist spies within the American government and military. Senator McCarthy was ridiculed on the grounds that the “communist threat” existed largely in his imagination. The accusation was that he went hunting for “reds” and only found a “pink dentist.”

    They ridiculed him for denouncing a threat that, in their minds, had NEVER existed. These were people who insisted that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were innocent (and we now know that they were guilty, too).

    The Communist threat was real, and they had infilitrated several sensitive U.S. agencies in the 1940s and early 1950s. The Venona files confirm this. Fortunately for us, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations had taken the appropriate actions to remove these people. McCarthy was about three years too late.

    tedward: tanking? What, is he down in the 30’s? He’s not campaigning, while dealing with a brutalized job market, and he holding on without launching an internation incident.

    His popularity has been sliding dramatically – ESPECIALLY among independents. And independents are the ones who put him into office (there aren’t enough liberal Democrats to elect a president, just as there aren’t enough conservative Republicans to elect one).

    ALL presidents are rated for their job performance while in office. Whether he is campaigining is irrelevant. He is on the news every night. He didn’t disappear from the public view after January 20, 2009. Implying that we can’t rate his popularity because he is hard at work instead of campaigning is disingenuous at best.

    As for the brutal job market – I understand that he inherited a bad situation. On the other hand, he pushed through a bloated stimulus package with the the dire threat that unemployment would reach a certain percentage point if Congress didn’t pass it.

    It did pass, and the unemployment figures are HIGHER than what he said they would be if the stimulus bill was passed. That is his fault for overpromising, plain and simple, unless Karl Rove was using his evil mind rays to make the president say things he really didn’t mean.

    tedward: Not bad, he’s also more able than any other politician I can think of at clear explanation, and that will go a long way when he does start his campaign.

    Sorry, but I work in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and not too much that I’ve seen from President Obama so far impresses me. He is someone who came too far too fast, and bolstered a wafer-thin resume with good looks, hype and the excitement of electing the first African-American president.

    I’ve seen ’em come and seen ’em go…sooner or later, politicians have to prove whether there is substance underneath the style.

    So far, President Obama is the Mustang II of politicians.

    I didn’t always like President Clinton, but he knew how to roll with the punches while throwing a few of his own.

    For that matter, he’s no Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, who I really can’t stand, but who has managed to get his way many times with a General Assembly that was firmly in the control of the Republicans during his first term, and then was divided (Republican Senate, Democratic House of Representatives) during most of his second termm.

    tedward: Also, it is true that very few trust the current Republican leadership, so he gets a huge leg-up once the debate is back to character judgement and “trust”.

    The only problem with that theory is it has been put to the test in three states – New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusettes. In each respective election, the voters decisively elected the candidate NOT endorsed by the president. Apparently they don’t trust the president where it counts – when entering the voting booth. Or, they ignore him.

    tedward: The “got nothing done” thing is ridiculous, and is really just a key part of the meme that Republican politicans were trying to create when they decided to go all-in on blocking health care, it may work, but probably not when his future campaign starts spinning that to his own advantage (the inevitable obstructionism/love insurance companies double smear is obviously coming).

    Except that, as I’ve noted in my previous post, the Democrats control Congress AND the White House. Republican opposition to the stimulus package didn’t prevent it from passing…

    tedward: Did you miss the last election, or perhaps, most glaringly, the health care question session? That health care thing was handled poorly by the Republican leadership, as they should never have let their lightweights anywhere near that man and a camera. A mistake that they quickly remedied I might add.

    If you are talking about the 2008 presidential election, that campaign is over…what the Republicans said then is irrelevant. John McCain is just another senator once again. People don’t remember and don’t care. It is no longer relevant.

    tedward: And what modern government doesn’t meddle? Our’s certainly has through every congress/president match-up I can recall.

    Please explain when, prior to now, the federal government has:

    1. Pressured an automobile company to fire a CEO.

    2. Told an automobile company to eliminate divisions. Did the government tell Chrysler to can DeSoto in 1961, or Plymouth in 2001? Was it government pressure that led to the closure of Oldsmobile in 2004?

    3. Forced a company to reverse a decision on a factory closure.

    The federal government regulates the automobile industry, but it does that on an industry-wide basis. The same regulations that apply to Toyota apply to GM and Ford.

    That is not the same as “meddling” in the affairs of a company.

    As I said, the first two examples were the correct actions to take. So, either the president reads The Truth About Cars, or what we’ve been saying here is just plain common sense. The only problem with government actions is that, just like the old slogan for a certain brand of potato chip, it’s hard to stop after just one (or two).

    If the Cruze flops, for example, will GM get more money from the government? Or will the federal govermment suddenly need a fleet of 20,000 brand-new Cruzes as department vehicles?

    tedward: You must not know much about Senate procedure if you need to ask why votes are succefully blocked.

    The Democrats are in charge, and the rebellion has largely occurred WITHIN THEIR OWN PARTY. Blaming Republicans may comfort the faithful, much like GM fanboys blame Consumer Reports for the woes of the domestic car industry, but doesn’t hold water with those of us who understand how legislatures work.

    The effort to win votes has relied largely on bribing key legislators with various provisions favorable to their states (but not necessarily for other states). The public backlash has been against that effort, NOT against Republican obstructionism.

    President Obama said he was against that sort of thing (and against backroom deals, and for more media access, etc.).

    His compliance with “business as usual” is what is hurting him, not those mean things Republicans are doing. He ends up looking like a guardian of the (increasingly discredited) old way of doing things, but still ineffective at the same time. The worst of both worlds…

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