Obama's union speech a tough sell outside the audience

David Hirsanyi:
False choices. Populist bromides. A lecture on values. President Barack Obama treated us to some of his greatest hits this week. 
Speaking before the United Auto Workers union in Washington, Obama, champion of the working man, challenged auto bailout "naysayers" to "come around" and admit that "standing by American workers was the right thing to do," as bailouts "saved" the auto industry. (You have to wonder whether downtrodden citizens appreciate just how close they came to having to roller-skate to work.) 
"They're out there talking about you like you're some special interest that needs to be beaten down," Obama told cheering union members. And those who claim that bailouts were just a labor payback are simply peddling a "load of you-know-what." 
I do know what, Mr. President. 
Because actually, the United Auto Workers union is a special interest. Like other unions, the UWA regularly lobbies Congress, funds Democratic candidates across the country with millions, and advocates public policy that undercuts competition and free trade. And, as The New York Times recently reported, the UAW and other unions will "put their vast political organizations into motion behind Mr. Obama." (Nothing like a few strategic taxpayer "investments" to get labor inspired.) 
And if by "be beaten down" the president means "compete in the marketplace like every other sucker in America," well, he's right. If by "be beaten down" he means "go to bankruptcy court -- even if you've 'played by the rules' -- and honor contracts you've signed rather than have a friendly administration rip them up and rewrite them in favorable terms for others, then heck yeah. 
Yet Obama claims, "I" -- "I" -- "placed my bet on American workers." 
Betting with other peoples money means not having to pay a price when the bet cost billions of dollars that will never be recovered.  The house has to love those kind of betters, but the people funding the bet, the taxpayers, not so much.  This speech has to be one of Obama's worst on the subject.  I think it is a sign of his desperation to justify what was in fact a bad bet.  These companies could have survived a regular bankruptcy, but the unions whose big contracts caused their major problems might have seen their pensions reduced.

Today 55% still oppose the bailouts and only 36% support them according to the National Journal.


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