Saturday, December 19, 2009

The GOP kisses the Rust Belt goodbye

Do the Republicans ever plan to win Michigan again? How about Ohio, Illinois or even Indiana?

Before the gang of GOP senators killed the $14 billion bridge loan for Chrysler and General Motors last week, they unleashed an ugly Southern snobbery about us Rust Belt rubes. And they just might have strangled their chances in here for years to come.

Let's not forget the GOP just lost the entire region to the man who will become the first African-American president, save for West Virginia. The Republicans only have one governorship here, in Indiana. Evidently, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell & Co. want to finish the job.


So they decided to bludgeon the Big Three while they were down and suffocate the United Auto Workers while they were at it.

Maybe they sincerely believe the domestic autos will be better off in bankruptcy. Maybe they expected President Bush to come to the rescue all along. Maybe they really think Honda and Toyota plants in their states would blossom if the domestics died, even though company executives warned they'd suffer because many of their suppliers would go under.

Maybe they were genuinely offended by the idea of the government messing with capitalism, although that didn't stop many of them from dumping $700 billion in the laps of Wall Street investment bankers.

But a leaked memo from the Senate GOP reveals it was all about politics and payback to the unions: "Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it."

So much for principle. It's nice to know that our friends from Dixie were willing to play Russian roulette with 3 million jobs, spark a depression in the Midwest and cost taxpayers four times as much money as we'd be out with the bridge loan. Why not? Serves the evil UAW right.

Look, the loan is unpopular nationally, so this may be a good tactic. But it is insanely poor strategy if Republicans want to stay competitive in the Rust Belt and its pool of 151 electoral votes.

You can't just write off a region and expect to be a national party. That's why Barack Obama competed hard in the South and West. It paid off when he piled up an electoral landslide and padded Democrats' margins in Congress.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis gets this. His main appeal in his quest to head the Republican National Committee is that he's only guy who knows how to get Reagan Democrats back.

Presumably, it's not by stripping them of jobs and sneering that it's their fault.

Midwest Democrats will retaliate in kind for the Big Three and are chomping at the bit to finish off Republicans in 2010 and beyond.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is already on the attack, blasting senators willing to risk a depression as "un-American" and questioning their loyalty to foreign companies at the expense of U.S. workers. It's a crude rhetorical flourish on steroids, but it's enough to earn a megaphone on "Meet the Press." That kind of red-blooded American chest-beating puts her on the offensive and makes Republicans spluttering to defend their taupe Toyota Camrys look like girly-men.

Translation: Democrats strong and patriotic. Republicans weak and love foreigners. Shamelessly jingoistic, sure, but it effectively flips the post-9/11 conventional wisdom on its head.

Meanwhile, just where are the Republicans? Yes, the entire Michigan delegation voted for the $14 billion, save for U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, who claims he was recovering from surgery. But why have GOP leaders been avoiding TV cameras like the plague? You can't keep Granholm; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit; or Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, off the news.

The notable exception is U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, co-chair of the Congressional Auto Caucus, but he's largely preferred to operate behind the scenes.

Most have opted for silent support as the Big Three teeter at the abyss. You can point to a blog post by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, here, or an op-ed by Attorney General Mike Cox there, but there's no real face of the GOP during this crisis.

This would seem to be the perfect time for one state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, to grab the spotlight, as he'd like Cox's job and could use some positive press. Indeed, the White House has pushed him to do it. But despite backing the Big Three, he seems paralyzed about taking the lead, almost as much as he is about setting an agenda in the Legislature.

The result is a power vacuum, with Granholm often battling Mitt Romney in the national media. Republicans, do you really want the guy who doesn't care if Detroit dies, who last lived in Michigan when polyester pants were groovy, as your mouthpiece? Come on. He's not even going to merit an invite to your county Lincoln Day dinner.

This is a chance for Republicans to remake their image after two straight electoral thumpings. What's good for Michigan could be very good for the GOP -- but no one seems to have gotten that memo.

42 comments:

R. George Dunn said...

Susan, you have sighted in the Big Gov Big Business RINOs(Republicans in Name Only)who have been herding the GOP for many years. Though we may differ on the constitutional power the Federal Government to bail out industry, you have given a clear view of not only the GOP but of the Democrats also. Neither have been for the interest of we the people.

How is it that this Grand Nation has been brought to it's knees. How is it the strongest industrial manufacturing center of the world is now, as you say, 'a rust belt memory'? Your right, Saul does get it and he nearly became the RNC Chairman, but the good ole boy Shadow, insisted on a strong RINO, Mr. Steele.

Now to the underlying fact that has had us all hoodwinked for many years. Since the introduction of Free Trade policy by President Reagan, we have watched and listened to both parties tell us that it is a good thing for us to lose jobs overseas, because we are so smart that we will replace them with strong service jobs and new technology. With the federal reserve keeping check our labor force to maintain an overabound number of workers, the family cashflow has dwindled to where it takes 3 wage earners to just get by.

When free trade kicked in, what was overlooked, in my opinion, purposefully, is the tax structure we had created under a 50 State free trade policy, inwhich the ever expanding federal government got it's revenue. These taxes were built into the price of domestic product due to the simplistic and tyrannical method of using business structure to control collecting tax. This has resulted in the handicapping of domestic manufacturing putting a 22%(now more) product cost on top of actual production costs, making foreign products a cheaper buy for consumers. We have not been on an equal trading floor since the 1980s.

R. George Dunn said...

An example of those who took advantage of raping America of Her jobs is Baines Capital. Romney gained huge wealth by cannibalizing American business and taking the contract order overseas to evade the USA Tax structure, including at State taxation level in Michigan and other States under the same production tax system.

The democrats are not blameless in this either. They embrace the production tax as a method of controlling the workers and distributing the wealth through the progressive income tax system.

Hope you were able to keep with me on this. It is a boring subject, but most important. The cure to our present plight of joblessness, especially in the Rust Belt is to change the Tax structure from production to consumption, lowering the manufacturing cost of domestic product by removing all taxes hidden and putting it onto a consumption tax, which will tax imports equally to domestic goods. Jobs will flood back to America.

Twenty some years ago, a group of scholars from the highest pedigree of schools gathered and spent 20 million dollars perfecting a new tax structure to consumption. This plan sits in both chambers of Congress ready to go on January first of the year it is implemented. It has around 80 co-sponsors in the House and has grown in popularity across the nation. As people study and learn of the value of this plan, they make it a Cause for saving America. It is not a party cause, it is an American cause. As of late, a President Obama State Coordinator has joined the chorus of supporters.

The plan is the FairTax plan, the same one that Governor Huckabee has as his platform for the Quest of fixing America. As the Governor has said, it is not Wall street we need to fix, it is Main Street. Please consider joining in this cause. A note of support for Saul Anuzis, he is a former member of the National Board of Directors for the FairTax Organization. I agree fully in your assessment of Saul as a superb leader. Your support in the www.FairTax.org Plan may just be the single event to push the plan up over the top and bring salvation to America.

In Michigan we are attempting to make our State busniess friendly too by pusing for enactment of the www.MIFairTax.org plan. Would you help?

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