Joe Biden Shows'em the Jobs (and What Fighting Really Looks Like)

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden delivered our weekly address due to the President being out of the country. The focus: the revival and revitalization of the American auto industry. Chrystler is paying back its financial rescue loan six years ahead of schedule. GM announced that it would run an additional shift at its Detroit Hamtrack factory, adding 2,500 new jobs. In the words of Don LaForest of the United Auto Workers, "It's mind-boggling that we can go from near-extinction to full employment in two years."

Here is the Vice President's address:



A transcript is available here.

Indeed, the comeback of the American auto industry - a mere two years ago a representation of a bigone era of expensive gas guzzlers - has been miraculous. Declaring that despite the right wing hysteria at the time over the auto industry rescue, President Obama was not going to abandon the workers and the American auto industry, VP Biden told us why saving the industry was so essential:
I talked to a UAW worker – her name was Frances – a line worker, who said her dad had worked on that line before, and that she had been out of work for two-and-a-half years before she was hired a year ago back to the plant.

I got the same sense when I went to Bonneville and Son, a Chrysler dealership in Manchester, New Hampshire a couple days ago. 85 employees came out, stood out there in the lot with me. 85 people. All of whom knew and said, had Chrysler liquidated, had we not helped them, they wouldn’t have a job.
But it's not about just the 85 employees who have been rehired at the Chrysler dealership in Manchester, or the 2500 new jobs at GM's Hamtrack factory. It's the nearly 1.5 million jobs that were saved thanks to the administration's efforts, despite Republican demands that we let Detroit go bankrupt. And it's not just the line workers, it's thousands of engineers who are finding work and finding ways to make American cars the leader in fuel economy as well as safety. The American auto industry is not just coming back, it's putting the world on notice.

Sure, in a very real way, this proves that stimulus works. But what this is really about is a President and a Vice President and an administration committed to ordinary people. This is really about Barack Obama, going up against a tide of opposition, saying to American workers that he's got our back. This is about the resurgence of an once moribund industry because one man, Barack Obama, was not willing to give up on the hard work, ingenuity and dedication of the American auto workers and the innovative American spirit. The comeback of the US auto industry is a story of patriotism as much as it is one of economic success. It is a story of courage, hard slogs and follow through.

As VP Biden says, jobs are not simply about a paycheck - they are about dignity. Millions of Americans today have their dignity today because Barack Obama and Joe Biden stood up and said "we're going to fight for you; we are not going to abandon you." For all the people around the blogosphere and the media throwing around the word "fight" easily from their armchairs, please take note. This is what a real fight (and success at the end of it) looks like. It's not about podium pounding. It's not about red meat. It's not about pontificating. A fight is about standing up for real people, and actually doing something to help them. It's about getting the backs of working people when much of the political establishment is willing to sell them down the river. Fighting is about caring for America enough that you take the political hits day after day - in forms indescribable and horrific - but you do it because you know that standing with those workers is worth it. That is what fighting is about. That is what Barack Obama and Joe Biden have done.