Bailout Watch 307: Keith Crain Has A Chip on His Shoulder the Size of Montana

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I’m sorry to keep harping-on about this. But I am flabbergasted by Fortress Detroit’s reaction to the bailout. Today’s the day that GM and Chrysler actually get their checks. And today’s the day that the doyenne of Motown media Keith Crain continues his incessant, indignant whining. The headline of his Automotive News [sub] column asks “Does it matter anymore?” Intriguing. Does what matter anymore? The $60b or so Uncle Sam’s pissing away to sustain a brace of unsustainable automakers? That would, of course, make sense. As the Brits might say, those of you looking for sense should look away now. “Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans. And General Motors and Chrysler will be required to return to Washington for more hearings so all the politicians can have more TV time, which they find invaluable.” Yeah, ain’t democracy a drag? There’s more of Crain’s paranoid passive aggressive paternalistic pandering after the jump…

“It won’t be a slam-dunk. There are still people in Congress who are out to get GM and Chrysler, and they’ll be loaded for bear. Plenty of them are still smarting from the last encounter so chances are good that it won’t be pretty even though there will be a new administration and Congress.”

Just because Crain thinks people are out to get GM and Chrysler doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t rake them over the coals for their ongoing incompetence and subject their taxpayer-funded “viability plans” to the oxygen of public debate, does it? Keith?

“It’s going to be tough for everyone except perhaps the UAW, which will have a few more friends than last time. It will be painful for most of us, but you do what you need to do.”

How, exactly, is Mr. Crain going to share GM and Chrysler workers’ pain? And, if AN’s publisher and editorial director is going to suffer from blowback after years of lapdogging his hometown heroes, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s really such a bad thing. Not in any vindictive way, of course. Just in the sense that the free market has a certain… wisdom to it.

Anyway, I’m still not sure what what Crain was wondering about.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Dec 29, 2008

    Detroit, the universal boogeyman. If a local newspaper does a human interest story about gifting a car for Christmas, it's seen as hyping Chrysler. If a local paper says that since the auto industry employs a lot of blacks, the current crisis will hit blacks disproportionately, the paper is accused of playing the race card instead of being seen as covering a story of interest to the large black population around here. I'm no huge fan of Keith Crain. He's another member of the lucky sperm club and like Dutch Mandell he walks around the auto shows like some kind of royalty, expecting, and getting, favored treatment. But at least Crain has some skin in the game, unlike most of the folks who reflexively bash Detroit. He has a financial interest in the auto industry. Apparently to some, that's a crime. What's interesting is that Daniel Howes of the Detroit News has been outspoken on the need to do things differently in Detroit, with criticism of all the stakeholders, and these articles never got noticed on TTAC. Perhaps they don't fit the prevailing narrative or TTAC's branding. Howes is not the only local critic of the domestics that thinks that redemption is better than condemnation. That's not enough for the Detroit bashers. Some here won't be satisfied unless the domestic automakers slit their wrists, beat their breasts and wail chatati, chatati, I have sinned, I have sinned. The Detroit bashers want their pound of flesh and then some. If you want there to be a viable US based domestic auto industry then offer some constructive criticism. If not, well, schadenfreude and vindictive behavior are not examples of moral behavior.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Dec 29, 2008
    Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans. This Detroit apologist refrain is particularly annoying. Other governments might well be assisting their automakers, because they have fundamentally sound and rather transparent businesses otherwise. This is not the case with the Bigish3. If VW asked for it, I'd loan them $1. GM/Chrysler, no way. The reason should be obvious.
  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.