So what the story of Romney and the auto bailout actually shows is something we already knew from health care: he’s a smart guy who is also a moral coward. His original proposal for the auto industry, like his health reform, bore considerable resemblance to what Obama actually did. But when the deed took place, Romney — rather than having the courage to say that the president was actually doing something reasonable — joined the rest of his party in whining and denouncing the plan.But there's something else we need to recall: at the time of the bailout, Chrysler was not a publicly traded company. It had been acquired and mismanaged by a private equity firm.
I don't want to overstate Obama's role in the bailout, as I don't think President Bush would have done things much differently, but here's the thing: President Obama pushed Chrysler through a managed bankruptcy after the private equity process failed. You can't say "It's the same thing a private equity firm would have done" because we know what the private equity firm actually did before the government had to take over and clean up its mess.