What Democrats Should Learn From the Auto Industry Bailout

Regular readers will be aware the Mad Biologist’s Pentultimate Political Theorem: People have to like this crap. Back when Obama proposed and then executed the auto industry bailout, it was not popular (boldface mine):

According to Pew’s latest survey (conducted February 8-12 and 16-20 with a margin of error of ±3%), 56 percent of the American public now believes the auto bailouts were mostly a good thing for the economy. Just 38 percent disagrees, a huge shift from October, 2009 when 54 percent thought the bailouts were mostly bad for the economy and 37 percent thought they were good.

As Greg Sargent points out, support for the bailouts is broad-based—even moderate Republicans and non-college whites approve of having saved the auto industry.

This might have something to do with that shift of opinion:

  • “More than 1.1 million jobs saved in 2009, more than 310,000 jobs saved in 2010, and nearly $97 billion in personal income losses prevented”
  • “21.8 percent of Michigan’s workforce is supported by the auto industry”
  • “1 in 25 American jobs rely on a healthy auto industry”
  • “All outstanding loans have been repaid to the federal government”
  • And the auto industry expects to add 167,000 jobs by 2015, and GM was the world’s biggest automaker in 2011.

    It’s very easy for Republicants, especially once they fire up the Mighty Wurlitzer, to make people believe that something will end badly. The way you defeat this is to just fix the damn problem and then take credit when things are better. Don’t worry what the perpetual naysayers think, since they’re not going to support you anyway–and they’re not going to admit they were wrong either.

    Because people have to like this crap.

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