By on November 11, 2008

With Gullinkambi crowing the end of time and fate for a once-proud industry, the heroes of Detroit and DC are gathering to fight the future. But one hero is turning a deaf ear to the sounding of the Gjallarhorn… at least until his fate drags him inexorably back to the fray. Bloomberg reports that today’s meeting between President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush was “friendly” while they discussed “the broad health of the auto industry.” But, as the battle for a short-term federal bailout joins in Washington over coming days and weeks, Obama will be conspicuously absent. Before leaving town, The One told reporters he won’t be “spending too much time in Washington over the next several weeks.” “It’s important to bear in mind that Congress was wrestling with issues like an economic recovery program prior to the election and didn’t come to a conclusion,” said Obama. And if Congress can not come to a decision before January 20? “It will be the first priority,” Obama swears. Until then, Obama will sing praises of the Democrat’s planned short-term stimulus package, which may or may not be DOA. From a comfortable distance. In Norse mythology, the Ragnarok is merely the final fate of the Aesir, not the end of times. As a fierce battle brews in DC, Obama will wait and watch while he still can. His hour in Valhalla will come soon enough. The battle will go on.

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19 Comments on “Bailout Watch 164: The Obamadämmerung...”

  • avatar

    In Norse mythology, the Ragnarok is merely the final fate of the Aesir, not the end of times.

    Yes, but it’s not a cakewalk for those not involved in the battle, either.

  • avatar

    Like any good politician, Obama is sitting this one out so it can be blamed on Bush.

    If the bailout works (and it won’t), he claims he was behind it all the way, and claims credit for the success.

    If it fails (and it will), he blames Bush for not doing enough, or doing it too late, or both.

    But he CARES. Well, he did, until he got the votes counted, anyway…

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    True enough. The point is that Obama can only pass the buck on this for so long.

    Also, headline credit goes to Dave Wiegel of Reason Magazine.

  • avatar

    To amend:

    Obama’s advisers have no doubt told him to stay FAR away from any bailout; they know it’s pissing into the wind, and they don’t want his name on such an epic failure at the start of his administration.

    He NEEDS this to fail, so he can ride in on January 20 and save the day by guaranteeing GM pensions, and pressing them into a prepackaged Chapter 11, one that protects at least some of the UAW’s jobs.

    He takes credit for saving the old folks and protecting union jobs. He blames the whole mess on “Bush Economics”, and using the bully pulpit, forces GM management to resign.

  • avatar

    In case this is forgotten with the heat of covering the demise of GM, etc:

    Obama is not President. He is the President Elect. Other than advise, comment, and select his future staff, he can do virtually nothing about the situation until he is sworn into office this coming January. Ditto Congress, until the elections are decided (not all of ’em are yet, as of this writing) and the new Senators and Represenatives are sworn in.

    Meanwhile Bush and Existing Congress will do what they are gonna do.

  • avatar

    Who wouldn’t want to be a Viking?

  • avatar

    james surowiecki of the new yorker postulates that we have to bail out the general because we let lehman bros fail. not sure i follow his logic, but this notion plus the politics more or less guarantee my taxes involuntarily support crappy products i’d never buy.

  • avatar


  • avatar


    Obama is a sitting Senator from Illinois, and as such does have a dog in this fight. He enjoys enormous power in Congress right now, as anyone who wants to see their pet projects go forward will want to curry his favor now.

    Right or wrong, Obama is making a calculated decision to stay away from this mess as long as he can, and to hang it on George Bush.

    Again, whether this is good for the automakers is merely a sideshow. What matters is what’s good for Barack Obama.

    That’s just politics.

    As they said, “If you want a friend, get a dog.”

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    Mr. Obama is currently a U.S. Senator. He is not jobless until 1-20-09, like Giuliani or Romney would have been if elected.

    The sad irony is that even as a Senator, Mr. Obama can still do virtually nothing because he is such a low-ranking Senator. He sits on zero committees or sub-committees that could do anything with this situation. There are literally 49 Senators that outrank him until 1-20-09.

  • avatar

    There are 49 Senators that outrank him? That means he outranks 50 others, right?

    And if he “won’t be spending too much time in Washington over the next several weeks,” what exactly are the citizens paying him to do as Senator?

  • avatar

    what exactly are the citizens paying him to do as Senator

    We are coming up on a winter break period for the US Congress, where most of them go home. So Oboma, and all the other Congress critters won’t be in session much.

  • avatar

    Wait a minute, do I have the logic right?

    1. We need GM to go into bankruptcy, which is the only thing that will cure it’s long term problems.

    2. Obama’s dragging his feet on a bailout, thus increasing the probability that GM goes into bankruptcy.

    3. Therefore, Obama’s a jerk?!?

  • avatar

    Cashual Observer: “even as a Senator, Mr. Obama can still do virtually nothing”

    Nonsense. He can do what every other member of Congress can do: propose legislation for his colleagues to debate and enact into law. He can put forth his ideas in concrete form, by introducing the Obama Terminally Ill Automaker Life Extension Act. Just as he did with the Obama Balanced Budget Act, the Obama Deluxe, Universal and Free Medical Care Act, and the Obama National Defense Act.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Nobody’s calling Obama a jerk. He’ll have this whole mess in his lap soon enough…

  • avatar

    Cashual Observer Opined:

    “even as a Senator, Mr. Obama can still do virtually nothing”

    50merc Replied:

    Nonsense. He can do what every other member of Congress can do: propose legislation for his colleagues to debate and enact into law.

    Or to not enact into law.

    Either way, The People would then learn where their own Representatives and Senators stand on the issue, which is what we need to know for future elections. I for one, am taking notes!

    Unless somebody votes “Present”, which in my opinion is cowardly, childish, and should not be allowed.

  • avatar

    Wow, and here I thought I was the only guy who reads Reason.

    Between Reason, TTAC & The Onion, I have all the best sources of news an analysis!


  • avatar

    You forgot Hoofy & Boo at Minyanville.
    Somebody should ask their favorite “self-serving SOB”, er, I mean congressperson: if there is a bailout, will we each get a car? I mean, we will be paying for one afterall.

  • avatar

    Er, Obama is a sitting Senator now, and could work right now as the single most influential member of Congress.

    As he always has, Obama’s voting “present” on this.

    And by staying away from DC, won’t even be present.

    This guy really is Chauncy Gardner.

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