“America needs a turnaround,” announced former Chrysler turnaround artist and celebrity executive Lee Iacocca recently. ” Our people are hurting. . . and we just aren’t doing the things that would get our country back on the right track.” In short, Obama’s policies have failed and the country needs competent management, says Romney’s fellow businessman.
But in fairness to Obama, it should be noted that Iacocca himself once endorsed two cornerstones of the Obama formula: auto bailouts and creating a new green economy.
Though critical of its details, Iacocca has praised the White House’s political, Chapter 363 restructuring of the automakers. More significantly, Iacocca has long been an advocate of government-subsidized efforts to electrify America’s vehicle fleet – an effort that has proved a spectacular boondoggle as government-backed battery-makers like A123 Systems have gone bankrupt.
The founder of Lido Motors 10 years ago, Iacocca was an early advocate of so-called NEVs, neighborhood electric vehicles, that in 2009 won a $2,500 federal tax credit for buyers via Obama’s stimulus blowout. NEVs are one of the clever loopholes that automakers have carved out to help them meet Democrats’ onerous MPG standards.
What’s more, Iacocca has been a strong advocate for pure electric cars like Nissan’s electric Leaf – which receive a $7,500 federal tax credit – saying, “there’s going to be a scramble for the pure electric car.” Struggling A123, however, is a poster child for an electric market that has failed to materialize as the Leaf and other electrics have seen sales sour.
Auto icon Iacocca’s endorsement gives a powerful jolt to a Romney campaign that Obama has tried to caricature as anti-auto for opposing the UAW bailout. But Iacocca is also a reminder that plenty of CEOs swallowed Obama’s fairy tale vision of a new Green economy.