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Why Being A Republican President Is The World's Most Unenviable Job

The Politico is reporting:

Facing the potential bankruptcy of iconic American firms, President Bush on Friday abandoned his longstanding objection to using using the Wall Street bailout fund to help save G.M. and Chrysler.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino announced, in part:

"...[W]e will consider other options if necessary - including use of the TARP program -- to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers. A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy, and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time."

Unfortunately, as Michelle Malkin notes, the TARP program -- according to its own guidelines -- can only be used to offset troubled assets held by financial institutions.

What would make the President change his mind on such an issue, and possibly order a violation of the terms of the TARP program in order to save Detroit?

Legacy.

According to the same Politico story, Vice President Cheney bluntly told an unnamed Republican senator that if Congress failed to pass an auto bailout, it would be "Herbert Hoover time" for the Bush Administration. Sadly, I think that Cheney is right.

Perhaps George W. Bush has finally reached the breaking point, with respect to the amount of piling-on that he can take and still remain unrattled. He probably realizes that those who shape our popular culture (the majority of whom are very progressive and loathe anything to do with Republicans) have been diligently crafting the perfect hyperbolic description of his legacy for the last four years. First he was the president who mired us in the unwinnable quagmire of Iraq. When that didn't work out, they rejoiced at the prospect of casting him as the most unpopular and deviously criminal President since Richard Nixon. Now, they are dying to make him into next Herbert Hoover, the President who single-handedly destroyed a balanced budget and a surging economy, and failed to even lift a finger to help the country, even as Americans were begging in the streets for relief. Concurrently, they have enshrined Barack Obama as America's greatest President, even though he has yet to take the Oath of Office.

I believe that President Bush also knows that standing on principle and refusing to give money to Detroit is a losing proposition. There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama will bail out Detroit if President Bush doesn't. Therefore a Bush stall serves no purpose other than prolonging the inevitable, which will simply make Bush look like a villain and Obama look like a savior. And Bush knows that at this late date, no one will be willing to back him up. A Senator can deflect some portion of his responsibility back onto the corporate body of the Senate. The President stands on his own.

I'm a little angry at President Bush for caving in on this issue, but at the same time I can't help but pity him. He is a good man, he has thus far refused to lower himself to the level of his most vicious critics, and I truly believe that he has a compassionate heart for this nation. Few things are more exasperating than seeing a good man smeared as an evil-doer, or more wretched than watching that same man sign a deal with the Devil in order to save himself.

- Michael Laprarie


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Comments (16)

I disagree. I do not think ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I disagree. I do not think GW cares about short term history. Most of which is based on emotion and rhetoric. There is no comparison to the Great Depression. This is a blip compared to that time. If anything, I think he has compassion for the american worker and doesn't want to see them lose there job. ww

Funny how the same guy who ... (Below threshold)

Funny how the same guy who had the backbone to keep troops in Iraq despite widespread public opposition and all the name calling from Democrats folds like a blanket on the bailout even though a majority of the public is opposed to the bailout, there isn't a single conservative principle that supports action, and he himself not too long ago said the TARP money wasn't to be used for this purpose.

I don't pity him, I pity all of us who have had to suffer him for the past years.... and those kool aid drinkers who have lack that certain something upstairs that would make them realize they're perpetuating the fraud that he has a clue.

Poor republicans. Keep figh... (Below threshold)
max:

Poor republicans. Keep fighting the good fight.

Palin/Huckabee '12!

I heard someone say Bush ra... (Below threshold)

I heard someone say Bush ran as a social conservative and ended up a conservative socialist. The bailout is a knee jerk reaction to decades of unions jacking up wages and benefits to ridiculous levels. Toyota, Honda, & Hyundai all produce cars in America and they're not begging for government funds. The difference? They're not hamstrung by the unions.

So UAW will continue to make the American auto makers unable to compete, and in the mean time everyone of us will pay.

We'll be competitive when we get away from quick fixes and back to a principled approach to finances. The problem is that principles take time to work through. No democrat is willing to risk something in the short term in order to pay for the long term.

Good luck, we'll be at the government teat for a long time to come. Thanks Gee Dub.

Their business models are b... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Their business models are better, but note also that a) Nissan makes way cooler cars than GM, Ford, or Chrysler; b) Hyundai makes equivalent cars that cost a lot less; and c) Toyota and Honda have affordable hybrids.

Maybe the Big Three should have pissed away less money on marketing during the 1980s and 90s and focused instead on R&D? Naaah...

Actually I do see a purpose... (Below threshold)
KnightHawk:

Actually I do see a purpose in stalling, it could force GM to file for Chapter 11 in between now and Jan 20th, in so doing it could muddy up the situation enough to where it's more difficult for congress to insert themselves.

Bush is screwed either way, if he really thinking delaying gm's chapter 11 by 8 weeks is some how going to get him some credit or keep him from being mocked by the media he's become delusional.

I hope President Bush can t... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

I hope President Bush can take queue from a former first lady and JUST say NO to Bailouts.
GM and Chrysler need to get their act together and file for chapter 11.

Ford Business model is not that bad off. They are increasing market share and hope to become profitable in 2 years. Their cars and trucks are ranked as high in quality as Toyota. Ford loses money on ever car it makes because of labor obligations. Ford and Toyota sells the same number of cards worldwide. If Ford were to get rid of that cost they would once again be in the red. Toyota sales are down steeper than Fords in all segments.

Ford makes Quality is equal Toyota. Sales of Ford cars and trucks as falling slower than Toyota in November they increase market share by 2% while Toyota's has fallen.

To quote from an article I ... (Below threshold)
jmc:

To quote from an article I read by: Robert L. Borosage.


"What was the sticking point (for republicans)? It wasn't getting rid of the CEOs that drove the companies into the ditch. It wasn't forcing the creditors to cut their loans in exchange for stock, giving them a stake in the future. It wasn't accepting an auto czar to enforce the agreement and drive a transition to fuel efficient cars. That was agreed to. No, Republicans wanted to break the union, and punish the workers."

It gets better.

They insisted that the UAW agree to cutting workers wages and benefits immediately to match the average hourly compensation paid by non-union foreign auto companies based in the South. This would entail cuts in pay by about 50%

and more:


The article then mentions the numerous areas the union has made concessions. And then moves on to show the severity of these cuts.


Now imagine telling a family that lives on $50-60,000 a year that they will make one-half that in six months. They've got mortgages, kids in college or the costs of children, and credit card debts just like the rest of us. how many Americans could survive a cut of half their paycheck in a few months, without going bankrupt?

Gotta love that war on the middle class.

Oh, it looks like ... (Below threshold)
jmc:

Oh, it looks like the Dow fell 217 points at the open today, then regained when Bush announced He and the Treasury would work to secure the bailout.


I'd take your money out of the market if he doesn't come through, because we will be looking at another minus 500 point day.

With the exception of the W... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

With the exception of the War Bush has pretty much done this throughout his 8 years. What has it brought him? He was hated from Day 1, anyone remember the Press going in fit because he used the God in his inauguration speech? When the SEC found violation that were committed under the previous administration it was Bush fault for appoint the head of the SEC who found past wrongs. When Bush used same intelligence that everyone else used he was wrong. When after years everyone said he should admit that his information was faulty and he finally did they called for his impeachment. When he wants to reform SS the pres said it was not problem and did not need it. When he wanted more oversight over FA/FM the democrats argued against that. After months of everyone demanding that he declare fighting over in Iraq so that the next phase could be completed he did it and then he was told he should not have done it. There are a dozen other incidents and every time he has given in to it has been worse for him.
Though I think the war was just. I fear that the Bailout will be what is remembered about his presidency as the point where America took the next step on the road to Socialism.
The truly sad part about this is if Bush was a Democrat , with the prescription drug program, no child left behind he would be praised to high heavens for them.

hcddbz:Is English yo... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

hcddbz:
Is English your first language? Because WTF did you just say?

Short version. Bus... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Short version.
Bush has always been despised by liberals from the time that he won the election. (Selected not elected)

On multiple issues President Bush has given into the opposition instead of standing on principle. This has not endeared him to his political opponents; it has only made him more despised by them and increasing has caused the base to become disenchanted with him.
He has kept the US safe from attacks for 8 years, but in the last year he has compromised our long term security. The stimulus package, the bailouts have all undermined US Independence, by indebting us to foreign powers. The US is now marching down the road to socialisms with the near nationalization of Banks and other industries. He has given the Treasure sectary unprecedented power. The idea, that Bush's legacy will be helped by giving 14 Billion dollars to Auto makers, is incredulous.

Keep in mind GM is a financ... (Below threshold)

Keep in mind GM is a financial institution. It is the premier health care funding and retirement solution for unionized auto workers, while providing billions in loans to people who buy new cars.

(Like Wal-Mart considers itself a logistics [shipping and distribution] company first, a retailer second.)

I find it curious that I have heard at least two commentators call for Ford to give up its family-operated structure, and yet it is the one least in trouble. I guess it's that dislike of personal ownership and wealth. Obama is Barney, and John Galt is long gone.

only commenting to note tha... (Below threshold)
ShyAsrai:

only commenting to note that the terms include that ever popular caveat including, but not limited to...

jmc:I am sorry, but ... (Below threshold)
jdgjtr:

jmc:
I am sorry, but my family WAS making less than half what an autoworker makes. After I got my BS last year, we now make 3/4 what an autoworker does, without having benefits nearly as good as theirs. I feel for them in some ways, but both management and the unions killed the goose that laid the golden egg. The price and quality of their vehicles was part of the war on the middle class and it wasn't on our side.

Now imagine telling a fa... (Below threshold)
John S:

Now imagine telling a family that lives on $50-60,000 a year that they will make one-half that in six months. They've got mortgages, kids in college or the costs of children, and credit card debts just like the rest of us.

Let me dig out my violin.

Guess what? My wife and I used to work 4 jobs (because we don't make UAW wages) but 2 of those jobs are already gone in this recession. So we've already experienced the 50 percent cut. My wife's day job (and our health benefits) move to India in March. The tiny 50 person company I still work for may or may not survive Obama's Joe the Plumber taxes. So where is my f***ing bail out?




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