The Easy Choice for Detroit: McCain over Obama

June 4, 2008
John McCain

John McCain

Now that we know who's running for president--barring a Clintonian sleight of hand between now and Denver--it's time for the union-happy state of Michigan to wake up and realize they need to be strongly, heavily in favor of John McCain for president in November.

I've written before that McCain is far from a perfect candidate for me. Mitt Romney comes a lot closer to the kind of profile I want in a president, in terms of managing the economy and bringing "real change" to the table. Romney isn't a factor any more, though, and like many conservatives, I too will be "holding my nose" to pull down the lever or hang a chad or push a touchscreen to vote for McCain.

There won't be much joy in a McCain victory. He's teamed up with California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in that state's battle to set its own carbon-dioxide emissions rules. He believes in global warming and in the power of CAFE legislation.

McCain, though, is also a deal-maker who depends on a conservative core for his political power. Though he's not "pro-automotive," according to that News poll, he's the only slim hope Detroit has to keep from getting kicked while it's down. He's campaigned in Michigan and bases his rhetoric there in hope--reviving Detroit's auto industry is a key theme. The likelihood of Romney landing as his VP candidate is a good sign, too, that the hate directed at Detroit's auto industry could be tempered before the convention in September. Even auto execs favor John McCain, according to a poll by the Detroit News, even though he's no friend of the auto industry, because they realize that he's better than the alternative.

With Sen. Obama, it's a sure thing that Detroit will get tagged as an uncooperative dinosaur ready for extinction. Obama's not just in favor of tougher EPA standards, he's in favor of them sooner than Detroit--and Toyota and all the European makes--are ready to handle. In Obama's infamous, fiery speech to a Detroit audience last year, he laid bare his hostility for the domestic auto industry, accusing them of shirking some imagined duty to lose money: “For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars,” he said then, forgetting all about Honda's NSX, Toyota's Sequoia, a whole range of Nissan full-size and mid-size trucks, and new generations of the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Aveo, and diesels invented by Ford and GM--but barred from sale in the U.S.

Obama promises to invest $150 billion in green energy--but hasn't laid any meat on those bones or explained where the money or brains will come from. He's full of expensive promises and easy answers, unless you happen to work for General Motors or Ford or Chrysler and have legitimate questions about currency parity, open markets, or level playing fields.

Some days, you wake up and the future seems clear--only in this case, there's a Clinton involved, so no political projection can be pure or 100 percent accurate. Still, the November election seems to have come down to McCain and Obama, and for any Michigan voter paying attention, a vote for John McCain is the only rational choice, even if it's not an enthusiastic one.

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