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Mitt Romney’s op-ed in yesterday’s Detroit News, doubling down on while at the same time conflicting what he wrote about President Obama’s rescue of GM and Chrysler in November of 2008, pretty much comes down to this: Mitt is upset because union workers got to keep their jobs and health care benefits, the automakers’ “secured creditors” (read big banks) took a bit of a loss, and Mitt’s corporate-raider, Gordon Gecko wannabe buds didn’t get a chance to carve up and liquidate the two automakers (and as the cherry on the sundae put those evil union thugs in the unemployment line) for their own fun and profit.

“Three years ago, in the midst of an economic crisis, a newly elected President Barack Obama stepped in with a bailout for the auto industry. The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business. The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama’s management of the American economy are evident in what he did.”

So Obama’s management style was proven defective even though it worked. What the….?

“My view at the time — and I set it out plainly in an op-ed in the New York Times — was that “the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing.”

Thus was also Romney’s “view at the time”:

“If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”

Good call, Mitt. Romney then ventures into very familiar territory: the land of self-contradiction. He says what Chrysler and GM needed at the time was a “managed bankruptcy.” Six paragraphs later he laments the outcome of the…uh…managed bankruptcy:

“By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.

Thus, the outcome of the managed bankruptcy proceedings was dictated by the terms of the bailout. Chrysler’s “secured creditors,” who in the normal course of affairs should have been first in line for compensation, were given short shrift, while at the same time, the UAWs’ union-boss-controlled trust fund received a 55 percent stake in the firm.”

“Free market doing what it does best” as defined by the Bain vulture capitalist who like to fire people. And never mind that in the 2008 piece Romney wrote:

“But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost.”

The largest of those secured creditors at the time? The ones who “were given short shrift?” JP Morgan Chase. They took a $2 billion loss on loans to Chrysler. Well boo frickin’ hoo for Jamie Dimon and the gang at Chase, who pocketed a cool $68.6 billion in bailout money from the feds.

And about that “union-boss controlled trust fund”:

“He’s complaining, of course, that VEBA (the trust fund run by professionals that allowed the auto companies to spin off contractual obligations–retiree healthcare–to the unions) got a stake in Chrysler while Chrysler’s secured creditors took a haircut.

So, in part, he’s basically complaining that the bailout preserved the healthcare a bunch of 55+ year old blue collar workers were promised. He’s pissed they got to keep their healthcare.”

…Still, the UAW retirees who still have healthcare today instead of Jamie Dimon having another yacht probably don’t feel the same way as Mitt does.”

I just can’t figure out why Romney’s once upon a time commanding lead over Rick Santorum in Michigan is going, going, gone. Pay attention, Mittster. That sound you hear is the fat lady clearing her throat.

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