- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If Republicans think that in the midst of a recession they can turn governmental action to save a core element of American industry into a bad thing, then they have learned nothing from their recent defeats (“Republicans see GM takeover as election weapon,” Page 1, Tuesday). The Republican Party has been driven out of the industrial Midwest because of its indifference to economic policy, especially on trade. Auto imports - supported by protectionist measures and foreign governments’ money - have been at the center of Detroit’s problems.

The party cannot regain majority status just with the South and the empty Western Plains. So-called Toyota Republicans, who embrace foreign interests at the expense of the American manufacturing base, will be easy marks for Democratic operatives who are learning to wave the U.S. flag that the Republican Party has let slip from its hand.

Every other nation with an auto industry is pouring public money as well as guiding private capital into this strategic sector. They also are licking their chops, hoping to grab whatever they can from the markets formerly held by U.S. firms. Republicans cannot claim to be a national party without exhibiting a sense of nationalism to compete with our overseas rivals. Losing in the economic competition will, and should, lead to losing in the political competition.

WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Burke, Va.

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