By on June 7, 2009

Regular readers will know that we’ve taken Washington Post carmudgeon Warren Brown to task for his shameless Motown cheerleading up to and through the federal bailout. You may have also noticed a huge disconnect between Warren’s blind bailout boosterism and his paper’s entirely skeptical stance on federal intervention in the U.S. automotive industry. In an ironic twist of fate, Warren’s decided to take the WaPo’s latest buyout offer—and do so with all of the grace displayed by his bailout boosting pals in The Motor City. He leaves the paper spilling vitriol all over his colleague’s rejection of Uncle Sam’s “investment” in Government Motors.

I’ll begin [my endless swan song] by arguing against the often inane analyses of the challenges facing the domestic automobile industry, sometimes served up on the editorial and opposite-editorial pages of this otherwise fine journal.

Was that really necessary? Anyway, first, Warren regurgitates all his own pro-dole pro-GM arguments.

We owned General Motors in World War II and in the Korean conflict when we needed it to build tanks and other weapons of limited destruction.

We owned it when we needed it to help build what once was the free world’s strongest middle class . . .

And we owned it after the devastating 9/11 attack on our nation, when it was GM that pulled us from the economic brink and got consumers buying again through a savvy marketing campaign.

I know! Let’s set that to the Lemonheads’ version of Mrs. Robinson! Anyway, Warren sets ’em up . . .

In commenting on the new GM’s future, Robinson writes: “In truth, I don’t see much more than a temporary reprieve [from ultimate failure] for General Motors and a somewhat easier landing for GM workers. Obama said he plans to leave management of the company to the professionals. At this point, I have to wonder why.”

And Warren knocks ’em down . . .

The “bad management” that trapped GM and Toyota in their current unhappy states occurred at the federal level, where politicians repeatedly failed to come up with a sensible national energy policy, balanced to require participation, however painful, from automobile manufacturers, politicians and consumers.

The bad management that slowed sales of new domestic and foreign vehicles to a barely sustainable trickle occurred among federal regulators who were supposed to regulate the banking industry, but who apparently failed to regulate anything of any kind.

So GM’s meltdown is the government’s fault? And now the government will save GM? Yeah, that makes sense.

As for placing bets on future longevity: Here’s betting that GM will be around a lot longer than many of the traditional news outlets — print and broadcast — covering GM today.

On this, we agree. Bt first we should come up with a timeline for the death of traditional news outlets. Judging from this piece and Warren’s departure, it’s not going to take long.

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13 Comments on “Bailout Watch 548: WaPo Carmudgeon’s Departing Salvo...”


  • avatar
    Luther

    Brown is an ignorant little twit…I guess one would have to be to work at WaPo.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Guys like this have to be getting paid by GM to post his kind of crap. I mean really. Only a paid shill would keep supporting such a bankrupt bunch of bad actors.

  • avatar
    pleiter

    WaPo is hurtin’, you have to TELL them if you still want a TV guide. Warren leaves July 1, and the weekly car review will remain. Trouble is, the cars he typically reviews are ones nobody can, or would want to, afford.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Man, this guy is all over the road:

    Chevy trucks are (or could be) to GMC trucks as VW is to Audi?

    The problem with GM is not their management, but a lack of “sensible” federal energy policy (whatever that means–although I think we can guess)?

    Good move selling (sic) Hummer to China. That way the Chinese can used cheap labor to build more monster SUVs, and then export them back to the US (good thing we don’t have “sensible” energy policy).

    Buick is the leading automobile brand in China?

    On the other hand, he’s probably right when he suggests that, sans a government bailout, many news outlets will be history long before GM.

  • avatar
    WEGIV

    I think it’s really funny that he’s trying to act like he’s really responding to real editorial opinion pieces despite the fact that his byline never appears on any actual news related to the auto industry, nor has he been printed in the actual editorials section. For those who don’t get the print WaPo, his article runs Sundays. It was previously in a dedicated Cars section, shared only with one of his “excellent” reviews of a car, “Click and Clack” and 9 million local car dealer ads. It was eventually relegated to the second-to-last page of the Business section when they did away with the standalone Cars section a few months ago.

    Independent with whether I agree with what he’s saying, I’ve seen high school debates with better logic than most of his articles.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Typical statist cur.
    Since the gov’t didn’t establish a “sensible” energy policy, i.e. tax the shit out of the working stiffs by taxing the shit out of the oil industry thereby forcing the automakers to build Yugo-esque shitboxes, he hoped that gov’t takeover of GM & Crapsler would result in a Washingtoon fuhrer befhel (correct spelling?) forcing the manufacture of Yugo-esque sb’s.
    Which, being so cramped and tiny, would force Americans into dieting to be able to fit into them– a gov’t win-win since they intend to run the MD industry eventually…

  • avatar
    slumba

    Wait six months and see who hires him, would be my advice.

  • avatar
    Jaywalker

    I get The Washington Post, but stopped reading Warren Brown years ago. His judgments were based in large part on the result of his “Head Turning Quotient” conclusion. Thanks, but I don’t need any help telling me whether the car is good looking or not – I need what the sales brochure doesn’t tell me, and Brown didn’t do that. He won’t be missed.

  • avatar
    elhefe777

    Either Warren’s very small or Deb’s really large…

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    eljefe, I’ve met Warren Brown, he’s quite short.

    His bailout support is quite inconsistent with his political views otherwise, as he’s pretty clearly a conservative Republican.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    So GM’s meltdown is the government’s fault? And now the government will save GM? Yeah, that makes sense.

    Since “the government” changes in content depending on a given election, there’s not necessarily a contradiction. It’s totally factual that petroleum prices are inversely related to the market cap of American auto firms. It’s been that way for a long time. This stands in stark contrast to the performance of Honda and Toyota, which tend to be positively correlated with petroleum prices.

    Furthermore, substantial recessions in this country are nearly always preceded by petroleum price spikes. The lack of a coherent energy policy in this country since the Carter Administration has made the domestics vulnerable by not forcing them to have a more diverse product line that would be resistant to strong run-ups in the price of oil. Since foreign manufacturers’ domestic markets are usually ones in which retail fuel is relatively expensive, they tend to have the product lines and technology that are reflective of the need to be fuel efficient.

    So I don’t really see what’s wrong with his assertion.

    If the cause of GM’s bankruptcy were simply its own incompetence, then why would Chrysler go down simultaneously and all other makers be in the dumps as well?

    It’s multifactoral causation.

  • avatar
    AG

    Wow, I had no idea Debbie Stabenow was so huge.

  • avatar
    nevets248

    yep, when she sits around the house, she sits AROUND the house.
    Oh,and here from the not-so-great state of Michigan, we refer to her as “stab-and blow”!

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