John McCain gave up on Michigan a while back. Maybe that explains why he's allowed Carly Fiorina, one of his top economic advisers, to make the statement she made last night that cuts against his previous open hand extended to the Detroit automakers:
"I don't think the government can rescue the industry," Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Corp, told Reuters at an event in suburban Detroit.
"Whatever the government does, it should not take away the fundamentals of risk-taking. Sometimes it leads to rewards and sometimes consequences, downside," she said. "In other words, the auto industry cannot be saved from its own bad bets."
By no means is he recanting his support for $24 billion in low-interest loans for the auto industry. In fact, he wants to expand it.
As a secondary measure, McCain favors using the $700 billion fund established to buy up bad debt to help improve liquidity for the auto industry, [McCain spokeswoman Jill] Hazelbaker said.
It makes sense that the McCain campaign would try to shy away from corporate handouts at a time when it is trying to hammer home the message that Barack Obama is a redistributing big spender. The problem is it's a classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it too. You can't chide the auto industry with one hand for making bad bets and having to take its medicine while with the other hand happily throw $25 billion more into the pile of government subsidies that has prevented the Big Three from taking risks in the first place.
McCain took a gamble when he tried to win over Michigan by going against his record of opposing corporate handouts and backing pro-entrepreneur policies. That gamble failed, and there seems little that can be done to reverse the damage.