GM's Rick Wagoner Falls On His Sword-- What About The Banksters?
This morning, President Obama is going to reveal the details of the government's next step in bailing out the auto industry. Yesterday Rahm Emanuel leaked the news that as part of the deal General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, is resigning and that the plans for restructuring from GM and Chrysler don't make the grade. Excellent idea on the firing and important oversight on the restructuring! I can't understand why Obama hasn't done the same thing with the far more venal and far more criminal banksters. Wagoner has been CEO since 2000 and the catastrophic decision to make GM into an SUV company and ignore fuel efficient vehicles was his. He deserves his fate.
When Paulson forced Robert Willumstad out as CEO of AIG as part of the deal to bail them out, they forced Republican hack Edward Liddy on the Board of Directors. It isn't clear yet how Wagoner's successor will be determined but it isn't likely Obama would make the same kind of power play that Bush did with Liddy. GM President Fred Henderson will probably take over on an interim basis.
G.M. and Chrysler have almost exhausted the $17.4 billion in federal aid the two companies have received since December. G.M. has asked for up to an additional $16.6 billion, and Chrysler has requested another $5 billion.
According to people close to the talks, the task force will treat G.M. and Chrysler differently with respect to their restructuring plans and aid requests.
...Mr. Obama, in comments in a televised interview on Sunday, said neither G.M. not Chrysler had yet to meet the conditions of their existing loans.
“That’s going to mean a set of sacrifices from all parties involved-- management, labor, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, dealers. Everybody’s going to have to come to the table and say it’s important for us to take serious restructuring steps now in order to preserve a brighter future down the road,” Mr. Obama said in a taped interview on the CBS news program Face the Nation.
While President Obama did not specify a need to replace Mr. Wagoner at G.M., the president has repeatedly cited mistakes made by management as a contributing factor to the industry’s troubles.
Wagoner makes most of his political donations through the General Motors PAC, although he wrote personal checks to members of both parties, mostly Michigan elected officials. Nationally he tended to give to conservative Republicans like Bush, Gingrich and Ashcroft. The General Motors PAC gave overwhelmingly to Republicans until this year. In 2006 the PAC gave 74% of it's $626,330 in donations to Republicans and it's heaviest non-Michigan contributions went to very conservative Republicans: Joe Barton (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Denny Hastert (R-IL), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Bill Thomas (R-CA), George Allen (R-VA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Jim Talent (R-MO). In 2004 the PAC's donations were even more oriented towards right-wing Republicans (76%) and until 2008 the donations have always overwhelmingly favored rightists.
In 2008, with Democrats firmly in control of Washington, despite GM's efforts, the PAC started donating about equally to the two parties. Last year the top non-Michigan recipients were John Boehner (R-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mary Landrieu (semi-D- LA). And although they were about even on Democrats and Republicans, many of the Democrats they contributed to are Blue Dogs and other corrupt corporate-oriented Democrats like Joe Baca (Blue Dog-CA), John Barrow ((Blue Dog-GA), Melissa Bean (Blue Dog-IL), Marion Berry (Blue Dog--AR), Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA), Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL), Don Cazayoux (Blue Dog-LA), Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY), Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Bart Gordon (Blue Dog-TN), Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN), Nick Lampson (Blue Dog-TX), Tim Mahoney (Blue Dog-FL), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA), Dennis Moore (Blue Dog-KS), Earl Pomeroy (Blue Dog-ND), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), John Salazar (Blue Dog-CO), David Scott (Blue Dog-GA), John Tanner (Blue Dog-TN), Charlie Wilson (Blue Dog-OH)... almost every single Blue Dog and just a small handful of non-Blue Dog Democrats, mostly powerful high-profile members like Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Charlie Rangel, Rahm Emanuel and Chris Van Hollen.
A careful examination of the GM PAC's contribution patterns, while Wagoner headed the comnpany shows they are very effective-- FAR, FAR more than labor unions-- at picking out members and candidates who are ideologically predisposed to fight for their special interests, with large sums always going to up-and-coming right-wingers like Eric Cantor (R-VA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), as well as taking care of any rightist who looks like he's facing electoral trouble-- so donations to losers and near-losers like Phil English (R-PA), Randy Kuhl (R-NY), David Dreier (R-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Sam Graves (R-MO) and Lee Terry (R-NE).
UPDATE: Obama Looking Seriously At Using Bankruptcy Filings To Straighten Out GM & Chrysler
Watch the videos first and then read the interpretation in today's Wall Street Journal. The one thing not to do is go anywhere near Fox News today.