FARMINGTON HILLS — Politicians have a funny way of rewriting history.

Few people exemplify this unfortunate truth better than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a Romney campaign luncheon in Farmington Hills where Republican Gov. Rick Snyder publicly endorsed Romney’s presidential candidacy.

Prior to yesterday’s luncheon, Romney had been campaigning throughout Michigan and focusing much of the discussion on Detroit’s auto industry, particularly General Motors. GM, the largest member of the Detroit Three automakers, was the focus of an op-ed written by Romney in the Detroit News on Tuesday. In the op-ed, Romney declared that President Barack Obama had used “crony capitalism” to bailout GM and Chrysler, and that he should have instead allowed the free market to function and force the two automakers into managed bankruptcy. Romney went on to claim that because Obama did not allow the free market to fluctuate naturally, Detroit has been unable to recover as well as it could have.

Coincidentally, yesterday was also the day GM released its 2011 financial report from 2011. After a year of rebuilding the company and repaying much of its bailout money, GM reported $7.6 billion in earnings for 2011, the highest in the company’s history. Because of the massive profit, 47,500 hourly workers will be eligible to receive revenue-sharing checks of up to $7,000. Best of all, due to its eighth consecutive profitable quarter, GM is once again the largest carmaker in the world, reclaiming their position from Toyota.

At 10:30 a.m. yesterday, one hour prior to Romney’s speech, I was finally able to secure my seat in the designated press area and wait for the event to start. Shares of GM were already up an astonishing 4.13 percent. I discussed with a fellow Daily staffer how unlucky it was that Romney was about to speak just hours after GM proved him wrong. How embarrassing it was going to be to look at this room filled with Michigan voters and accept responsibility for being wrong about the government’s role in saving the auto industry.

By 11:45 a.m., 15 minutes after Romney was supposed to speak, GM shares were continuing to climb — they had already risen by 5.86 percent. As is expected of presidential candidates, Romney was running late. I began scanning through my phone.

Of the many articles concerning GM’s positive announcement, one delivered yet another political blow for Romney.

The Economist renounced its earlier support of Romney’s stance on GM’s bailout. At the height of the crisis, the magazine agreed with Romney: The government shouldn’t bailout the auto industry, it instead favored managed bankruptcy. Taking into account GM’s reported success, The Economist decided it was wrong to support Romney’s stance. If the government had not stepped in, the managed bankruptcy that the company eventually entered in 2009 could have likely ended in the collapse of the entire automotive industry.

Finally, Romney entered the building with Snyder, and after a few brief introductions, the pair stepped on stage. Like Romney, Snyder was a venture capitalist prior to entering politics. Snyder claimed that because of Romney’s ability to run a successful company, Romney was the best choice for president.

“Washington is holding Michigan back,” Snyder claimed, and voting for a Michigander who “understands the problems this state faces” would correct this.

Romney was quick to accept the blessing, explaining to the crowd why he was a true Detroiter.

Here we go.

Finally, Romney was going to bring up the auto industry and either explain he was wrong or continue bashing the bailout. Instead, Romney explained why he loved Michigan, loved our lakes, loved our cars and used the word love at least an additional ten times.

“I drive a Mustang,” Romney said, as if that qualified him as patriot and president.

It was near the very end of his speech that Romney spoke of the auto industry. He referred to Obama’s policies as “job-killing” and informed the crowd of his new catchphrase, “crony capitalism,” and its auto industry application.

Then, at last, Romney congratulated GM for regaining its footing and claimed that he had been “right all along.”

Stunned. This man, a man who claims that “corporations are people, too,” and that we “should allow Detroit to go bankrupt,” was standing in front of people and news outlets claiming his theories were correct. In a desperate plea to Michigan voters, Romney was simply rewriting history in order to take credit for Michigan’s economic recovery.

By the time I returned to Ann Arbor, the stock market was about to close. GM shares had finished the day up 8.99 percent. Had Romney been president during the financial crisis, there is a good chance that GM would have been liquidated and that many of its more than 202,000 employees would have lost their jobs. Imagine where Michigan would be if the auto industry had collapsed. Luckily, there is some history that can’t be rewritten.

Patrick Maillet is an Assitant Opinion Editor.

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