Sunday, February 22, 2009

Granholm Takes Down GOP on Auto Industry Loans

This was beautiful. Setting aside the argument of whether or not Democrats should go on FOX (although I just saw Howard Dean on there), if you are going to go on FOX, this is how you do it.

First of all, put your opponent on defense. She corrects Wallace on the term "bailout"...

WALLACE: Speaking of bail-outs, two of the Big Three, Chrysler and General Motors, came to Washington this week, Governor Granholm, and asked for another $21 billion in emergency loans. The companies still haven’t resolved all their issues with the unions and the bond holders. They still haven’t shown a clear path to solvency. Why should the taxpayers keep them on life support?

GRANHOLM: First of all, let’s be clear. This is a loan. It’s a loan that -- they are attempting to prove viability so they can pay it back. When this happened with Chrysler before, Chrysler paid it back. The taxpayers actually won.

... and not only sets the terms of the conversation, turns the point into a victory. Now watch as she takes Sanford out before he even gets up to bat.

WALLACE: Of $1 billion.

GRANHOLM: Right, right, but it was a different time, too, and a different circumstance, and it didn’t happen during the course of a major national meltdown.

This problem is -- the problem of the -- with the auto industry is layered upon the lack of consumer confidence. People are not buying cars, I don’t care whether they’re American cars or international cars. My pal here from South Carolina, who I think is a bit -- I mean, you’d have to say he’s a bit of an outlier in terms of economic theory. He’s somebody who is more of a libertarian than the rest of us or most folks -- would say that this creative destruction would be good.

She then went on to make two very pertinent points...

Every single country that has an auto industry is stepping forward to help that auto industry. Why wouldn’t we help this industry, too? Because it needs 3.5 million jobs.

You talk about a stimulus that’s supposed to save or create 3.5 million jobs. Well, we would just take that whole thing away. Communities all across the country, from Michigan to South Carolina to Minnesota, would be seeing devastation.

... but Sanford is still stuck on being painted into a corner, and has to defend himself first thing.

WALLACE: Well, let me bring in the outlier here, Governor Sanford. You have a BMW plant in South Carolina which, as I -- I think is not asking for any federal help.


WALLACE: So tell Governor Granholm why residents of your state don’t want to keep bailing out her companies.

SANFORD: One, I’d say I don’t know that I’m an outlier. I think I’m really more fitting with where Main Street is, because when I talk to people back home at a town hall meeting, what they overwhelmingly tell me is, “I’m not getting a bailout. I don’t understand why everybody else is getting a bailout.”

They had spent the first portion of the show talking about the stimulus and mortgage foreclosures. In this case, “Main Street” generally approves of the stimulus; Sanford doesn’t, and has been very vocal and hypocritical about it, and he and other GOP governors are split on this issue. He calls people who support the stimulus "fringe", and with Gallup showing 59% approval, he couldn't be more wrong. Yes, this is a different subject than the auto industry loans, but because the national conversation has shifted, and Granholm herself compared the auto job loss to the stimulus job gain – the two are tied together in this instance, and Sanford does look out like an “outlier”. He has zip for credibility on both issues now.

Oh, and about BMW? They have laid off 900 temp workers in South Carolina since December, cut 850 temp workers in the UK (with an hour's notice) which sparked protests and a plea to the government for aid, will layoff 26,000 workers worldwide in February and March, have seen their stock drop 49% in the past year, and apparently will be asking Germany for state aid soon. Probably not the shining example of stability that Sanford would like to think they are. Later he brings them up again - but now you know the facts.

Mark Sanford, always wrong. Doesn't matter what he's talking about. Granholm does a pretty good job on Pawlenty too, asking if he had read the latest Big Three Proposal (beat of silence - he hasn't, and therefore shouldn't speak to it) and she reiterated the concessions that the union has already made.

All in all, good job by the Democrats today in the FOX Colosseum. Maybe the paradigm has shifted now with the election, and if you argue wisely, you remove the weapons from their hands before they can use them.