By on November 15, 2008

We’ve already reported that the White House isn’t keen on Democratic plans for a Motown bailout. As Automotive News [sub] reminds us, George W. doesn’t want the dems to appropriate the $700b appropriation earmarked for bailing out America’s financial system. As an alternative, the Prez signaled Pelso, Reid & Co. that he’s OK with the idea of “diverting” some of the Department of Energy’s $25b no to low-interest retooling loan program to bailout Chrysler, Ford and GM. Only the Democrats do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to be seen to be watering-down their commitment to encouraging forcing The Big 2.8 to build fuel-efficient vehicles. So… Nancy Pelosi told the press today that the U.S. automobile manufacturers need to restructure “to ensure their long-term economic viability.” Huh? Sorry, I got distracted. I mean, WTF does she mean by “restructure” and do we really want a politician deciding how Motown goes about it business? Right. OK. Nancy is digging-in, sticking with her TARP usurpation strategy. Here’s the money shot [via Bloomberg]:

“In a statement issued in Washington, Pelosi also said that the ‘appropriate source of funding for this short-term assistance is the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recently authorized by Congress… Any effort to divert funds from the advanced technology initiative contained in Section 136 of last year’s energy bill is a step backward in assuring the viability and competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry.'” If you think this is bad, just imagine what it would be like if the U.S. government takes an equity stake in Chrysler, Ford and GM and sicks a Car Czar on them. While it would make for great TTACitude, trust me, you don’t want to go there.

The timeline for this bailout battle: Monday, the dems unveil their grand plan. Tuesday, rep. Barney Frank (he of the Fannie Mae debacle) opens the circus with bailout details. Wednesday, the CEO of The Big 2.8 and union boss Big Ron Gettelfinger appear in front of Frank’s committee to rattling their begging bowl and– thank God– face the music. Live. On C-Span. As much as we like Knight Rider, limited resources mean that we’ll be live-blogging their appearance on your behalf, and living KR to the capable hands of the blissfully married Alex Nunez, of Autoblog fame.

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7 Comments on “Bailout Watch 191: The Battle Lines are Drawn...”

  • avatar

    I think the Car Zar idea would be okay if Lee Iaccoca would come out of retirement to take the position and force the big three to all build hybrid K cars.

    My second Idea comes from A Tom Clancy Novel. Sink all foreign ships entering any US harbor carrying automobiles or parts to build them. Within a few months unemployment would be back down to the good old 4% range we have become use too.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    The irony is that a government-appointment car czar could well do a better job than Wagoner and Co. That’s not an endorsement of the idea, but a reflection of the utter incompetence of GM management.

    I don’t know how much it matters what Pelosi wants to do. In order to pass anything during the lame-duck session, the Democrats will need some votes from more than a few Republicans. Senator Dodd has already suggested that he didn’t think there were enough votes in the Senate.

    If that is the case, then what plays out may be largely symbolic — at least until Obama is sworn in. Given the volatility of the economy, that’s a l-o-n-g time away. Much could happen that changes the optics of the issue.

  • avatar

    Why would or should Bush aid a group that has always voted and lobbied against him?
    The UAW is the epitomy of anti conservative government.
    I am not sure which group votes in higher numbers against the GOP than the auto worker union or the teacher union.
    Its a mighty close call.
    This must seem funny to the white house, what with the Big 3 and their UAW cohorts looking for cash and all.
    I can hear W laughing.
    And even speaking out against any concessions now…this is to, to much!
    Like Biden and Ayers during the election, you would think they’d have been told to shut up and hide while the begging is on-going..

  • avatar

    “Why would or should Bush aid a group that has always voted and lobbied against him? ”

    Because his job is the president of the United States of America and it would be in the benefit of the US if he did. So if he tries to do a good job he would do it.

  • avatar

    Charles Krauthammer, one of my favorite columnists, does a nice summation of the issues between the Dems and Reps:

  • avatar

    @Auto Repair Mechanic

    Maybe modify the Clancy-idea like this:

    Declare that in order to save the US auto industry – cars sold in the US must be built in the US.

    State that US manufacturers will apply this rule abroad, and only sell cars in foreign countries that have been built in these, or in their economic areas.

  • avatar


    “Why would or should Bush aid a group that has always voted and lobbied against him?
    The UAW is the epitomy of anti conservative government.”

    Since when is Bush a conservative? News to me.

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