Even USA Today has noticed that Big Guy’s public appearances are morphing into campaign speeches.
In his remarks yesterday to the United Auto Workers, Obama discussed the rescue of the car industry while taking more than a few shots at Republican opponent Mitt Romney -- though aides later insisted it was not a campaign speech.
So that’s that, it was not a campaign speech. Just a little “I loves me some UAW” kind of speech. Allow me to deconstruct:
It is always an honor to spend time with folks who represent the working men and women of America.
Let’s HOPE they don’t: Union workers busted for drinking and toking on break
It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers… It's unions like yours that forged the American middle class -- that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.
So you guys helped to write the American story. And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter.
Take a minute and think about what you and the workers and the families that you represent have fought through. A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip -- one in five. Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office. [ed. 1.7 million net jobs lost in America since then, butt we’re no longer counting] And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers -- GM and Chrysler -- were on the brink of liquidation.
So instead of letting them go into regular bankruptcy where everyone is forced to play by the same rules, Big Guy arranged a bailout in exchange for a structured bankruptcy, where the UAW got a fair shake (bond holders, not so much, butt then they’re the fat cats, right?) And it only cost taxpayers $23.6 billion, so far.
So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed
But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term. Sooner or later we would have run out of money.[ed. Didn’t Lady Thatcher make that same observation once?] We could have just kicked the problem down the road. The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail. And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.
You remember that? (Applause.) You know. (Laughter.) Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under. The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.
Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps.
More than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Like I said, I’m sure glad that didn’t happen
Their livelihoods were at stake as well.
These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck. They’re a source of pride. They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them -- yes -- to college. (Applause.) Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect. These companies are worth more than just the cars they build. They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how.
They're the source of our manufacturing might. If that’s not worth fighting for, what's worth fighting for? [ed. The Constitution?]
So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities. So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We said to the auto industry, you're going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you're changing.
We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices.[ed. butt some made bigger sacrifices than others] Everybody had some skin in the game. And it wasn’t popular. And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do. That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President. (Laughter.) But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things --
And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you do it? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You want to know? It wasn’t because of anything the government did.[ed. It never is] It wasn’t just because of anything management did.[ed. especially after we changed all the management.] It was because I believed in you. I placed my bet on the American worker. (Applause.) And I’ll make that bet any day of the week. (Applause.)
And now, three years later -- three years later, that bet is paying off -- not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America. Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.) GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world --
Apparently that’s “#1” using Government math:
GM! Yay! We’re number… uh…12?
All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years -- 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part -- you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars. [ed. Again, using government standards.] (Applause.)
Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law -- with you in mind, working with you -- there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago. [ed. Since they won’t buy them in Detroit, Toledo or Chicago.] (Applause.)
And today -- I talked about this at the State of the Union, we are doing it today -- I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations,[ed. Yay! Another Federal Agency! And Czar!] and we're going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China. (Applause.) America has the best workers in the world. When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us. And we're going to make sure that playing field is level. (Applause.)
I’ll just bow over until we’re level
Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built -- not in Europe, not in Asia -- right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio -- (applause) -- where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit -- (applause) -- where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line -- even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it. (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it. (Laughter.) It was nice. I'll bet it drives real good. (Laughter.) And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself. [ed. we’ll probably still have that one you autographed] (Applause.) Yes, that's right
And then there was room for a little bit of class warfare:
Or you've got folks saying, well, the real problem is -- what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits -- that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. Really? (Laughter.) I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what. (Laughter.)
…before we got around to talking about “values.”
Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work -- that’s a value.
Looking out for one another -- that’s a value.
The idea that we're all in it together, and I'm my brother's keeper and sister's keeper -- that’s a value.
George Obama, homeless in Kenya; that’s a value
Butt let’s stick with class warfare:
They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans. (Applause.)
Oh oh! How’s that lower premium stuff working out for you?
They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased.
They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.
So here’s a question for you: How does GM’s tax rate today compare to Warren Buffet’s secretary? I think Big Guy should look into that. Right Away! Because we can’t wait!