Ford pulls bailout-criticism ad after pressure from Obama administration

posted at 1:25 pm on September 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Remember the Ford ad that featured a new buyer telling “reporters” that he chose Ford because bailouts aren’t “what America is all about?”  Hope you watched it while you could, because the video has been removed from YouTube, and the ad has been pulled by Ford, too.  The Detroit News’ Daniel Howes reports that Ford pulled the ad after getting a call from the White House (via Is This Blog On):

“I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work.”

That’s what some of America is about, evidently. Because Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early ’09 and again when the ad flap arose. And more.

With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that.

The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision.

In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.

Howes makes a good point about Ford’s track record on “bailouts,” which isn’t nearly as clean as the ad suggests.  Ford sought and received “billions” in government loans to retool its plants, which is probably why Ford’s CEO was such a vocal advocate for bailing out his rivals.  Had Ford not failed prior to the collapse and hired Mulally to rescue it, Howes writes, Ford might well have lined up at the trough for the big bailouts in 2008 and 2009.

Still, the fact that the White House exerted pressure on Ford to cease and desist is a rather ominous example of why we want government to stay out of the business of running auto companies at all.  In fact, government shouldn’t be running any businesses, not car makers, banks, or mortgage lenders.  A free market doesn’t stay free when government begins competing in it, and just the mere existence of the ability to use its regulatory power to favor its own operation will distort market behavior in significant and freedom-chilling ways.  Knocking an ad critical of government policy off of television and the Internet is simply a more visible symptom of those dangers.

Update: Ford is responding on its Facebook page that it didn’t pull the ad under pressure, but instead had it rotate out normally.  That doesn’t explain why Ford pulled it from its YouTube account, though.

Update II: Actually, it appears that Ford deleted the ad and then reposted it on Friday, for some reason, where it now has only 305 views.  Here it is again:

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Comment pages: 1 2

How progressive

Hening on September 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM

I guess “Government Motors” is becoming Jackboot Motors, protected by the Obama syndicate.

FloatingRock on September 27, 2011 at 2:36 PM

And I was so proud to own a Ford. “Was” being the operative word.

ncborn on September 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Considering the update indicating the ad was reposted Friday, I guess my previous statement about “Jackboot Motors” might have been wrong… but considering Solindra and Fast and Furious, the part about the Obama syndicate still stands.

FloatingRock on September 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Obama administration Justice Department and IRS to Ford:

“Nice little car company ya got there….it’d be ashamed if something should happen to it….know what I mean?”

olesparkie on September 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Re-reading Atlas Shrugged. Eerily familiar and downright depressing. It’s having a much more profound effect on me this time around ~ 30 years older, wiser and more weary. Who is John Galt?

greeneyedconservative on September 27, 2011 at 2:47 PM

How progressive Oppressive

Hening on September 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM

FIFY

Chip on September 27, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I will thoroughly enjoy my next Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, or __________, because I know it was built WITHOUT the help of the UAW thugs.

ClanDerson on September 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM

The Detroit News’ Daniel Howes reports that Ford pulled the ad after getting a call from the White House.

Well , the first amendment was nice while it lasted, eh folks?

Chip on September 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Look, Ford is trying to strike a deal with the unions – which are part owners of its competitors. The last thing they need is the Obama Regime – also part owners of those same foul perversions of companies, the corporate version of The Monkey’s Paw – pressuring their union cronies to strike.

“Nice company ya got here, be a shame if something . . . happened to it . . .”

Adjoran on September 27, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Good for Ford, but in truth they are still a greedy UAW company. Until the UAW is broken we are not going to see a long-term viable American automobile industry.

Buy cars and trucks made in the USA by Japanese, German, and Korean companies.

slickwillie2001 on September 27, 2011 at 2:55 PM

And that’s why I love my Toyota Tacoma. Just like I loved my 4Runner before that.

Dominion on September 27, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Surrounded American Acting Division Commander General Tony McAuliffe’s answer to the German’s demand for surrender at the seige of Bastogne: “NUTS!”

American business’s answer to Obama Administration’s demand for surrender: “Yas, Master, right away, Boss.”

Yoop on September 27, 2011 at 2:57 PM

It was not approved by the Joseph Goebbels commissar.

esnap on September 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

How sad for our country that Ford was ordered to kneel before Zod. 2012 can’t get here soon enough – we just need our own Superman/woman to get this thug out of office.

GrannySunni on September 27, 2011 at 3:01 PM

That was a great commercial but I still love my Honda.

Fallon on September 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I’m sorry if that link I posted is not working. It was just a video from Superman of “Kneel before Zod!” I’m always reminded of that segment whenever I read of Obama’s thuggery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFyHTU8tg_0

GrannySunni on September 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM

That’s a nice car manufacturing plant you got there. Be a real shame if anything happened to it…

Mojave Mark on September 27, 2011 at 3:12 PM

This ad wasn’t out long, so I don’t believe Ford’s explanation.

For a fair comparison, how long did we all have to listen to those stoopid GM commercials?

madmonkphotog on September 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

For a fair comparison, how long did we all have to listen to those stoopid GM commercials?

madmonkphotog on September 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Speaking of which… Linky.

hillbillyjim on September 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Who made the call from the White House..? and when was it made?

d1carter on September 27, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Wow. How very Arab dictator-like of them.

Threaten to take away access in order to get the media in line.

Threaten companies that are critical.

Next they’ll have a newspaper editor fired for not putting O’s picture on the front page.

Ben Hur on September 27, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Wow. And I had considered buying a Ford truck based on the fact that they didn’t take the bailout. But I can’t do business with someone with no balls. And the executives at Ford are obviously eunuchs if Barry scares them. So, now I guess I need to look at the Japanese models, maybe the Tundra or Frontier. Buh, bye American cars. Nice knowin’ ya.

WarEagle01 on September 27, 2011 at 3:51 PM

WarEagle01 on September 27, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Check the updates. They put it back up.

mankai on September 27, 2011 at 3:57 PM

I’ve drove every full size truck made and Ford is the best I’ve had. I wish they could break those union contracts and move to the South.
I’m not ripping them for pulling the add because they’re at the mercy of the UAW. If they strike on them it could break them in this economy and we all know Barry says jump and the UAW says how high.

Big Orange on September 27, 2011 at 4:19 PM

ClanDerson on September 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Agree. I need to replace my old Grand Cherokee, but no time soon. When I do, it will be with something built by non-goon labor.

oldleprechaun on September 27, 2011 at 4:25 PM

That settles that. Hellooo Toyota Tundra.

Mr. Grump on September 27, 2011 at 4:59 PM

I will thoroughly enjoy my next Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, or __________, because I know it was built WITHOUT the help of the UAW thugs.

ClanDerson on September 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Same here.

Ford tough, huh?

Mirimichi on September 27, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Today, on this thread, is the first time I’ve ever seen that ad. Pulled it out of normal rotation my butt. They yellowed. Too bad.

HAnthonyWayne on September 27, 2011 at 6:03 PM

BTW. I recall FDR’s government harassing Henry Ford way back when.
Ford resisted. Had to do with the Blue Eagle on products, or something like that. Price fixing.

Badger40 on September 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

My first instinct was to be upset at what appears to be a cowardly response to government pressure but, to deal in the real world, Ford knows that government can make their life a living hell. It’s the Chicago Way when Chicago is in charge. And boy, are they doing a number on America right now.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on September 27, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Well, just look at the economy-themed Carl’s Jr ads that have been running lately. There’s one that asks you to “invest” in their burgers and another that contrasts their food to the stock market.

Originally there was another that showed the White House as a backdrop and, to paraphrase, said ‘our great prices are helping stimulate the economy’ and closed with “your turn, Mr. President”. Haven’t seen that commercial in ages… and trust me, I watch a lot of TV.

salmonczar on September 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Comment pages: 1 2