The Big Question, June 2: Obama and GM

The Big Question is a feature where influential lawmakers, pundits and interest group leaders give their answers to a question that’s driving discussion in news circles around the country.

Some responses are gathered via e-mail, while others are gathered in person via tape recorder.

Today’s Big Question is:
To what extent are President Obama’s political fortunes tied to the health of GM?

See responses below from Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) and Thomas McClusky.

Read the last Big Question here.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said:
I think President Obama’s success is tied overall to how good a job he does for the American people, and so far I think he’s done a great job. Who could have predicted a year ago the magnitude of issues that we would be dealing with? To tie President Obama down to any one issue would be unfair.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), said:
I think it is hard to measure right now until we see both how General Motors and the overall recovery of the economy play out. Some of that is going to be tied hand in hand. It is too early to calculate and premature to speculate. Obviously GM and the entire auto industry are the foundations of the manufacturing sector and contribute much to our economy and obviously are having a profound impact through these devastating loses in bankruptcy and everything that comes from that. How the American people evaluate Obama’s overall economic strategy, including his decision on general motors are going to play a big part.

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), said:
I don’t think it’s that singular. He is the president in a time of great economic stress and distress. Virtually every significant development in regard to the economy will have an impact on how people view his administration. What people have seen so far is that he not only talks about difficult challenges but also is willing to tackle them. The fact that he is focused so much on the future and not on what GM will look like proves to the American people that he is looking towards the future instead of looking to the past. The judgment that people make about both President Obama and our Congress will be broader than just GM, but obviously it will play a big role.

Thomas McClusky, Senior Vice President of FRC Action, said:
If GM fails even more it is not likely that President Obama will be affected. It has been a long time that a CEO has been held responsible for ruin they cause a company, why should Barack Obama, as CEO of GM, be treated any differently?

The situation is actually a good analogy of how President Obama seeks to rule the nation. Get rid of anything that is successful (such as selling of Saturn and Hummer) and replace it with actions that force a failed liberal agenda on people who do not want it (i.e. “green” cars).