To the surprise of nobody, a former corporate CEO turned Republican governor has endorsed a fellow former corporate CEO turned Republican governor for president. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder used a Detroit News Op/Ed to offer his support to Mitt Romney ahead of the state's important primary a week from next Tuesday:
Let's start with one important fact. Our country has never elected a president born and raised in Michigan. Mitt Romney was born in Detroit. His father served with distinction as governor. Before that, he was president of American Motors. Mitt grew up with the prospects of the auto industry and of Michigan discussed around the dinner table. He has deep ties to our state. Mitt understands the challenges confronting Michigan as few Americans do. Mitt Romney is not a career politician. He stands alone among the candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, with his extensive experience in business, having spent two decades helping to start companies and turn around failing ones. Most important, he has a credible plan for jumpstarting the economy and putting it on the path of sustained growth.
Washington is not on a sustainable course. Mitt Romney will change the direction. What Gov. Romney is proposing is not a wish list drawn in the air, but something that can actually be accomplished collaboratively with Congress. As governor of Massachusetts, he balanced the budget while cutting taxes 19 times, even as he was working with a Legislature that was overwhelmingly Democratic. Upon taking office, his state had a $3 billion deficit. By the end of his term, it had accumulated a $2 billion "rainy day" fund. Both in the public and private sectors, Mitt Romney has a remarkable record of getting things done. As president, Gov. Romney has pledged to work in partnership with states so they have the freedom to devise their own health policies.
He will move immediately to reduce non-defense discretionary spending by 5 percent. He also sees a clear path to bring spending below 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product in four years, which is in line with historical precedent. The country can't afford to do business as usual. It's time for collaboration, fiscal courage and innovation to take root in Washington. Given his accomplishments, background, character, experience, ideas and intellect, Mitt Romney has what it takes to build a foundation for America's success in this global economy. I hope all Michiganians will join me in supporting the candidacy of this favorite son of our great state.
A few quick reactions: (1) As I wrote earlier in the week, this predictable development really only helps Romney in the sense that it denies Santorum another significant shot in the arm, which a surprise endorsement from Snyder would have been. (2) Gov. Snyder is presiding over a state left in utter shambles by the detested Jennifer Granholm (currently a Current TV "star"), so his approval numbers aren't exactly glittering. (3) While Snyder makes a number of valid points on Romney's behalf, it's important to note that Romney isn't a "career politician" in large measure because he's lost more political races than he's won. That doesn't take anything away from his exceptional success in the private sector and at the 2002 Olympics, but let's not pretend that Romney hasn't been running for office since the mid-90s. (4) Is Romney actually one of Michigan's "favorite sons"? At the moment, he's trailing Rick Santorum and Barack Obama by double digits in his home state, according to some polls. The favorite son label may apply, but the jury is still out.
Another major headline today directly pertains to Michigan's economy: GM registered record profits last year -- which is, of course, good news. That being said, President Obama and his big government cheerleading squad will undoubtedly crow that this outcomes "proves" that the auto bailouts were an unmitigated success. Here's a piece of the story:
General Motors earned its largest profit ever in 2011, two years after it nearly collapsed into financial ruin . . . GM also said Thursday that its 47,500 blue-collar workers in the U.S. will get $7,000 profit-sharing checks in March.
Let's first recall that Ford, which refused a government handout, posted record profits in 2010 without the assistance of any taxpayer cash. Liberals will counter that Ford would have gone down with the ship if Chrysler and GM hadn't been rescued by taxpayers. Oh, right. Taxpayers. Notice that UAW union members are receiving $7,000 profit-sharing checks to celebrate the blank ink -- which would be fine and dandy if GM didn't still owe US taxpayers billions. Unsustainable union benefits were a huge component of GM and Chrysler's unsustainable business model in the first place. The Obama bailout handed Chrysler over to the union, and now GM's profits are heading into union members' pockets before the debt it repaid to the Treasury. Forgive me for not doing cartwheels over this great news. NRO's Jim Geraghty summarizes nicely:
Amazing how easy it is to return to profitability when the federal government gives you $60 billion, with zero interest and no particular deadline on paying it back, and lets you write off up to $45 billion in old losses.
Mere details. The mantra will be that Obama (but not Bush) saved the auto industry, establishing that government interventions are wonderful in the process! Let the good times roll...