By on June 16, 2009

File this one under “You’re Talking a Lot, But You’re Not Saying Anything.” The Detroit News‘ “wide ranging” interview Presidential Task Force on Automobiles (PTFOA) jefe Steve Rattner’s ranges entirely over well-trodden ground. In fact, you’ve got to give the DetN credit for publishing an entire pow-wow with the man behind the meltdown without revealing a GD thing. Well, other than the between the lines stuff. Like the “I’m a car guy now” subtext to this lump of coal: “We found that the game plan that we had designed back in the March time period actually worked,” “Chooch” Rattner told the Detroit News. “It’s like you build a new car and you take it out and you test drive it and it actually works. It made us feel pretty good going into GM — even though we know GM is bigger and more complicated — that we should be able to accomplish a similar result albeit over a slightly longer period of time.” I like that sense of surprise: this thing actually works! Wing and a prayer GM engineering at its best. Anyway, more . . .

“We get it when people tell us that the culture of GM needs to change,” Rattner said. “We agree. The management change that the president announced back on March 30 was the first step of that. Fritz is doing a great job of embracing the need for change, but now it has to happen.”

How does that square with this?

“Our view is that both companies have announced very thoughtful, measured, fair restructuring plans with shared sacrifice. Now they should be left alone to implement them.”

Hmmm. Maybe GM CEO Fritz Henderson should file THAT discrepancy under “Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better run run run run run run run away.” Certainly, there are signs of psychopathology. “[Rattner] rejected criticism that the administration had used bankruptcy law to force unfair concessions on secured creditors. ‘This idea that we broke bankruptcy law or made new law is ridiculous,’ Rattner said.” And that’s that, I suppose.

No. Wait. One more: “Rattner said the government would look to sell its auto stakes as soon as possible.” Thank God the DetN didn’t push him for a more precise timeline. There could have been blood everywhere.

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