By Pete Kotz
on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 5:04 PM
If you think political commercials are goofy in the South -- get a load of this SNL-like commercial from Marsha Blackburn -- be assured that they're just as dumb in the North.
It's an article of faith that any Democrat campaigning in the Midwestern industrial states must pay homage to organized labor, even if that means paying tribute to labor's moronic employers. And it doesn't get any weirder than in Michigan, where the issue above all is always the health of the auto plants.
That's why Barack Obama has produced the incredibly dumb ad above, in which he accuses John McCain of -- gasp! -- owning three foreign cars. Believe it or not, this will actually play well in Michigan, where owning a Prius is like being a pedophile or a vegan. Where it won't work is... say... pretty much the rest of the country.
Sadly for Obama, this isn't Abraham's Lincoln's time, where a president can pronounce himself anti-slavery in the North and pro-slavery in the South. Due to the miracle known as the internet, we now get to see how completely full of shit our candidates are at all times. Which means that the rest of country -- which statistically prefers Toyota and Honda over Ford and GM -- will now get to hear Barack lament their automotive purchases as if they were some sort of sin.
It also opens up Obama to easy return fire from his nemeses. Behold this Tennessee Republican Party missive from this afternoon:
OBAMA'S CONCERN FOR ECONOMY DOESN'T EXTEND TO THE THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS WHO BUILD AND SELL HONDAS
New Obama Campaign Ad Implies It's Bad to Buy a Honda
NASHVILLE, TN - The Tennessee Republican Party has some friendly advice for Barack Obama: Those "foreign automakers" who made those cars you criticized John McCain for buying? They employ hundreds of thousands of Americans across the heartland of America, including in so-called "swing states" like Ohio.
Today, Obama's campaign released a new and very silly ad attacking John McCain, a certified American war hero, for owning three cars built by international automakers - a Honda, a Volkswagen and a Lexus. The junior senator from Illinois apparently doesn't realize that foreign automakers like Honda, Volkswagen and Lexus-maker Toyota have major operations in the United States, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans.
"Perhaps Barack Obama thinks it is okay to attack John McCain for owning a Honda because he doesn't realize that Honda employs more than 30,000 Americans, including thousands of people in the swing state of Ohio," said Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party.
"Obama should be proud that so many car makers from around the world have found that American workers are the best in the world, not criticizing someone for buying the cars they make," Hobbs said. "The Obamacrats don't like American jobs that would be created from more domestic oil drilling and, now, Obama doesn't respect the jobs created by Americans building cars."
Foreign automakers now operate major assembly plants in California, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina Tennessee and Kentucky, not to mention Ohio, Indiana and Obama's home state of Illinois.
"When Barack Obama attacks John McCain for owning a Honda, he might as well be attacking the tens of thousands of people in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama who build Honda Accords and Civics, Pilot SUVs and Ridgeline pickup trucks, - and the tens of thousands of Americans who make their living at dealerships selling Honda products," said Hobbs.
"When Barack Obama attacks John McCain for owning a Toyota-built Lexus, he might as well be attacking the tens of thousands of people across America who build cars and trucks for Toyota in Kentucky, California, Indiana and Texas, or work at Toyota's more than 1,700 dealerships across the country," Hobbs said.
"And when Barack Obama attacks John McCain for owning a Volkswagen, he might as well be attacking thousands of people who already work for VW at its U.S. headquarters in Northern Virginia or at dealerships across the country, or soon will be among the 2,000 people buildings cars for VW at its new manufacturing plant in Tennessee."
Toyota directly employs over 42,000 people across North America. A 2005 Center for Automotive Research study found that Toyota and its dealers and suppliers together generate nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs, including jobs created through spending by direct, dealer and suppliers employees.
Honda's new plant in Indiana employs about 2000 Indianans. Overall, Honda has six auto plants and 14 major plants overall in North America, employing more than 37,000 people, mostly in the U.S. The company's engine plant in Anna, Ohio, is its largest engine plant in the world.
"Frankly, 'I'm surprised Obama would attack Honda like this," Hobbs said. "After all, two years ago Sen. Obama was begging Honda to choose Illinois as the site of its next auto plant. Maybe he's just mad that Honda chose Indiana instead."
In addition to the three auto brands Obama indirectly attacked, it should be noted that many other international automakers employ thousands of Americans.
Volvo builds trucks in Virginia - and employs thousands of Virginians.
Nissan's American headquarters is in Tennessee, as is its major assembly plant and engine plant - employing thousands of Tennesseans.
Volkswagen's American headquarters is located Virginia and the company recently began work on building a new assembly plant in Tennessee that will employ 2,000 people.
Kia, Hyundai, Mercedes and BMW are some other international automakers in the U.S.
A recent study by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research predicted international automakers will hire more than 38,600 additional workers in the U.S. through 2011.
All together, international automakers employ 113,410 workers in the United States according to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, including 65,579 manufacturing workers. CAR predicts that number will rise to 152,000 by 2016.
Economists say that for every job created inside an auto plant, as many as six to eight are created in businesses outside.