I found 'Liberal Fascism' thought-provoking and unusually well-documented for a mass-market political book. His writing style was not the most invigorating though, and the book would have benefited from another round of editing. Still, if you haven't read it, do (but you can't have my copy 'cuz I already passed it along to my nephew to read.)
Margaret Thatcher used to talk about the "ratchet effect." When the Left gets power, she said, they drive everything Left; when the Right gets power, they slow the Leftward drive, perhaps even halt it for a spell; but nothing ever gets moved to the Right. U.S. politics in the 21st century so far bears out this dismal analysis. What does the Right have to show for eight years of a Republican presidency? I supported George W. Bush in 2000 because I thought he had a conservative bone in his body somewhere. I supported him in 2004 because I thought him the lesser of two evils. At this point, I wouldn't let the fool park his car in my driveway. Bruce Bartlett was right, every damn word.
I see that some of my NRO colleagues are scratching around for shards of optimism -- of Hope! -- in the general wreckage. Good luck to them. I see nothing for conservatives to hope for in an Obama administration. We just have to stick it out. This shallow, ignorant, self-obsessed man, who held an actual job for just one year of his charmed life (low-grade editing for an obscure newsletter -- he felt, he tells us in Dreams, "like a spy behind enemy lines," the enemy of course being capitalism), this red-diaper baby and his wife, will be our First Couple for the next four years and some weeks. It'll be interesting. Interesting.
I have a simple message for Mr. Derbyshire: stuff it.
I'm tired of reading about how every smart Republican on the planet had it in for George Bush, never liked the man, never agreed with his policies, never agreed with his appointments, and in general was the Cassandra proclaiming how we were doomed.
If we'd only listened to Derb. Well, nuts to that.
You try running an administration, big boy, and then tell the rest of us plebians how it's done. You try balancing the different constituencies, the Democrats trying to gnaw your legs off, the hundred Senators each of whom thinks that he or she would be a better president, the feckless allies, the dishonorable media, the thousand demands for more and more dollars, and the various events that just pop up out of nowhere, and then you can castigate the man who did it for eight years.
I won't explain in great detail that we haven't had a successful attack on our country since 9/11. That housing prices are still higher than they were in 2000. That George Bush saw the mortgage meltdown coming and tried to fix Fannie and Freddie. That Bush fixed his biggest mistake, the strategy that was failing the reconstruction of Iraq, and got the new strategy and people right even as everyone at home hammered him. Derb should know all that.
But he thinks Bush is a 'fool'. Must be nice being right all the time. Clearly has a touch of Buckley in him. With that kind of track record, Derb chould write for the New York Times. Or run for President.
Leaving aside his criticism of Bush, who IMHO will be treated far kinder by history than most suspect, he has a very important and salient point: the question over most of the past century has not been, "Move left or more right?" but instead, "How quickly to move left?" Until and unless the right learns to act as decisively as the left has for a very long time now the eventual outcome will never be in doubt.
I don't think Bush was ever a real conservative. That said, I don't think he would have moved as far left as he has if there had not been an ongoing war. I think he realized, particularly after the second election, that things were not going to go his way for much longer and prioritization was going to be absolutely critical. His priority was supporting our troops and winning the war. Everything else came second. If giving in to the Dems' domestic agenda was what it took to keep them from pulling the rug out from under our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, so be it.
For me, the bottom line is this: every military man or woman I know admires and respects George W. Bush. They do so because they know he admires and respects THEM and did everything he could to help them win. Woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn't matter now. We won in Iraq and didn't let the left sell our troops out again, and the credit for that mostly belongs to President Bush. He did the best he could with the tools he had in the situation he faced. You can't ask for more than that.
I suspect it will be considerably more than his successor will do.
Not only HIS agenda, Badanov, but the greater agenda of America.
This was certainly W's greatest flaw, one he shared in no small part with his father, who also lacked the ability to communicate the ideas of the center and right in a way that connected with people. This is the reason that the left continually makes advances; even though their ideas have failed each time they've been tried, and always will, they are able to find individuals who present them in a way which seems to be inspiring, caring, even sexy, to the general public.
I believe it was Arnold Kling (SP?) who said that conservatism and libertarianism have an innate weakness when competing against leftism in the arena of ideas, because leftism has a more romantic narrative, and the center and right tend to be very cut and dried, and less inspiring, at least on the surface.
When someone comes along who can articulate ideas counter to the left in an inspired fashion, they connect and do well, Reagan being the most obvious example. I think W was basically a decent person who latched onto the Iraq venture as his defining event. Effective Presidents in the age of mass media cannot afford to do that. Job one will always have to be communication. It's unfortunate that we live in times when that is so, but it is true, nonetheless. The era of throwing out ideas and letting their inherent greatness speak for itself are long gone, folks. The unfortunate truth is that for the foreseeable future a good salesman is required as well. W was never that, regardless of how authentically conservative he is or isn't.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
Derby is mostly right. Bush is a "compassionate conservative", fiscal restrain was never one of his priorities.
Bush was an atrocious communicator and champion of ideas. He was right on lots of things and history will think better of him than the present, but he failed to meet too many of the the challenges he faced and left the way open to The Chosen One.
Little more "W" or anyone else can do with the Failure Factory as Gertz calls it. Gov't bureaucrats and an uncooperative congress will frustrate any move for change, at least conservative change. We used to call them "B Co." bunch, (Be there when you get there. Be there when you leave) They just laugh at you. Quietly frustrate your every good effort, and await your departure.
Bush started his term doing what he said he would do in his first campaign - restoring the dignity of the office and reaching across the aisle (No Child Left Behind, etc.) Of course it was for nothing, because he was an 'illegitimate' president, having 'stolen' the election.
A few months later he was 'tested' by the Chinese (spy plane downing), and probably played it as well as it could have been.
Then came 9-11 and everything changed. To him, as to me, it was akin to Pearl Harbor. Sadly, to many Americans (in name only) it was more like Gulf of Tonkin. While he could certainly have been a more effective communicator I don't think HE was the problem; Winston Churchill could not have persuaded the blind fools and the media (but I repeat myself) that they were wrong.
Considering the whole situation (poorly configured military for this war, economic weakness, entrenched & infighting bureaucracies, ill-informed & naive populace) I am amazed that the war has gone as well as it has, that the economy chugged right along (until someone kicked it over recently), and that no other terrorist attacks hit us.
Yeah, I don't like the refusal to veto the Incumbant Protection Act (McCain-Feingold), the lip-service (at best) treatment of illegal immigration, his tolerance for unacceptable treatment of veterans, and the ridiculous escalation of spending - but you have to choose your battles, and he fought the important ones.
One thing that continuously impressed me throughout his tenure was how genuinely 'decent' he was - never used people for personal photo ops (truly 'felt their pain' but off-camera - only public when the other party chose to make it so.) The 'elite' ridicule him for his religious convictions, but I am convinced that was what sustained him in what was the most challenging presidency since FDR, if not Lincoln. Sadly, history will not write kindly of him, for he did not 'win' and he will not write it.
IMHO Bush was TOOO nice to his enemies. He should have fired EVERYONE that weas connected to the Clintons or the DNC. He should have pushed more for his Judges to be confirmed. He shoul have not brought Prisoners here for prosecution but allowed the countries in which they were caught to try them. He was too nice for the job but I am sure I will miss him in about three months. P.S. Conservatives are too nice in general. Look at the Minn Senate race and the one in Washington where votes "magically" appear in Donks precincts. Why are ther not loud condemnations for this?
Bush...will be treated far kinder by history than most suspect
I think we're already seeing the beginnings of that. The echo chamber of television news were lock step in lauding Bush's "graciousness" this past week.
Posted by: Grenter, Protector of the Geats ||
Y'know, earlier this century, the Republicans spent a much longer time in the political wilderness until they got a decent shot at the presidency, when the Truman presidency more or less collapsed because of nothing he could control...
Who did they pick?
They found a polymath genius who could sit down at a desk and simultaneously translate something into greek with one hand and into latin in the other, and whose record included managing a half million man amphibious operation in World War 2.
That's who the Republicans picked when they got the Perfect Storm and half a chance to get back out of the wilderness.
Bush is not a fool but he certainly isn't a leader. He was elected as a "Compassionate Conservative" A misnomer if there ever was one. Bush ran his domestic agenda as the "Country Club Pub" that he is. With that said...I don't care what anybody says...the world is much safer today without Saddam Hussein and his two sociopathic sons in power. Not to mention...the smack-down of the entire Sunni Syndicate was long over due.
I think Bush leaned conservative, but did not have any strong desire to move the country in a convservative direction.
I also don't think he had any overarching theme or objectives for his presidency. He seemed to address problems as they arose, but not anticipate them. He did a good job on some of them, not so good on others.
I quit reading Derbyshire about two years ago, when he seemed to become infected with dementia and went on rampage after rampage.
The last eight years have been spent building an infrastructure and system for countering radical Islamism. Just about everything else was considered by the administration as being secondary, and not important. Some of the failures being heaped upon George Bush are deserved, but the majority of them are just sour grapes, or being misdirected at the President when the true guilty parties are members of Congress (think Ted Stevens & the bridge to nowhere, Larry Craig, et. cetera). Both the Rethuglycons and the Dummycrats need leadership, but all they have is a bunch of greedy, self-centered morons who have no desire to do anything that might spoil their cushy lifestyle.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
"all they have is a bunch of greedy, self-centered morons who have no desire to do anything that might spoil their cushy lifestyle"
Like Gov. LePetomaine, they've got to protect their phoney-baloney jobs.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
When the Trunks were running Congress, they did exactly what the Donks do when they run Congress: build and maintain personal power, feed at the public trough, go along to get along. Thing is, with the press firmly in the Dem camp, they have a lot less room for error than the Dems. (Example: Larry Craig deservedly got the bum's rush for cruising the bathrooms, but Barney Frank suffered no consequences for his boyfriend running a gay brothel out of his townhouse!)
As for Derbyshire, he lost me when he started shilling for Michael Schiavo. In the last eelction cycle, he was a Ron Paul supporter. 'Nuff said.
How to judge Bush: base it on the state of the wives of Egyptian Cabinet Ministers. Pre 2001, a photo was taken of same, revealing all garbed in Western outfits and wearing makeup and hair perms. After 5 years of Bush' moves to include Islamofascist animals within pseudo democratic processes, in the name of a fool's concept of "freedom," another photo shows the ladies in Islamic shawls.
I won't define "unintended consequences" here, because there are barriers of comprehension. Its takes depthless depravity to defend plain and obvious subsidization of Islamofascism, manifest in the indulgence of Wahabi genocide advocacy in Saud' mosques on US soil, facilitation of an Iraqi parliament composed of those of the same mentality as the 9-11 pigs, infantile triumphalism whenever a single jihadi is killed (as if there are not millions behind those wastes of flesh and blood), see no evil approach to the hundreds of millions that Taliban/al-Qaeda gets from Afghanistan's pre-napalmed Heroin industry, perverse indifference to the loss of NATO life from the Bush Heroin sanction, etc ad nauseum.
Stop celebrating failure, and start supporting initiatives to do to Islamofascism what we did to Nazism. (Soviet and Chinese Communism succumbed to different pressure; Bush did ZERO to avenge the 9-11 atrocity, and his foreign and military policy has given aid and comfort to those animals)
Posted by: Bob Chetch7999 ||
Derb is at his best when he talks about China, especially the old days when he lived in China. Everywhere less he's hit and miss.
As before, RADICAL ISLAMISTS + "SAVING THE JIHAD" > iff there is any ISLAMIST HIDDEN-IMMAM/MAHDI, He can't have any better or opportune LOCAL-GLOBAL/GEOPOL CONDITIONS TO MAKE HIS [DIVINE] APPEARANCE.
EVEN MORESO GIVEN POTUS OBAMA > as "JOHN KENNEDY 2", ala KRUSCHEVIAN-CASTRO-STYLE "NEW GUY" + ANTI-AMER CRITICISM + GEOPOL CONFRONTATIONISM [Vienna, Berlin, Cuba]; + "JIMMY CARTER II" = EFFEC EXPANSION + PROLIFERAT OF GLOBAL ANTI-AMERICANISM [US Policy naivete vee SE Asia, Lower Americas, Afghanistan]; + not to mention US HOLLYWEIRD'S HISTORICAL CINEMATIC RACIAL STEREOTYPES.
D *** NG IT, MORIARITY, WHOM SAYS THERE IS NO GOD, ANDOR GUAM TAOTAMONAS!
Bob Chetch says" GWB did absolutely nothing to avenge 9/11.Of the ones involved we got them all starting with Khalid Sheik Mohammed who was the mastermind behind 9/11 and the COO of the whole op.OBin Laden was the financier and hes been lying under a pile of bricks n Tora Bora for seven years.The Taliban was removed from power in Afghanistan and a democratic regime installed.In record time.No new attacks in seven years on US soil or interests. Saddam deposed and executed.Khadaffi scared a pale shade of white.The nuclear expert of the Arab world in jail n Pakistan.Really the list is a lot longer but this should be enough.Do try to pay attention.
Posted by: john Morrissey ||
Another change-of-the-day -- he isn't going to that big world leaders meeting this weekend in DC, "cause we have only one president at a time."
And yesterday, I read, he wasn't even sending a representative.
Today's change-of-the-day ---
The transition office also announced that Mr. Obama will be represented at the global economic summit this weekend by former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and by former Republican congressman Jim Leach, of Iowa.
HMMMMM, so MTV + VH1, etc. are till leaving the playing of music videos to YOUTUBE and the like???
E.g. PLAYBOY CHANNEL > risque programs are starting to be shown in the just-after-dinner hours [8-10PM]. EVEN WID SCREEN BLOCKS/BARS, THESE BARELY QUALIFY AS SO-CALLED "SFW" [read, You-Betcha-Still-Too-Revealing/Might-As-Well-Go/Be-Fully-Naked-On-Primetime-Family/Kids-TV].
Given that Obama had served on a Chicago board with Ayers and approved funding of a leftist educational project sponsored by Ayers, one might think that the unrepentant Ayers-Dohrn couple might be of some interest to the national media. But no, reporters have been too busy playing mini-badminton with every random spitball about Sarah Palin, who has been subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.
How dare Palin not embrace abortion as the ultimate civilized ideal of modern culture? How tacky that she speaks in a vivacious regional accent indistinguishable from that of Western Canada! How risible that she graduated from the State University of Idaho and not one of those plush, pampered commodes of received opinion whose graduates, in their rush to believe the worst about her, have demonstrated that, when it comes to sifting evidence, they don't know their asses from their elbows. Amen! Preach it, Sister Camille!
Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.
I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.
As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.
The U.S. Senate as a career option? What a claustrophobic, nitpicking comedown for an energetic Alaskan -- nothing but droning committees and incestuous back-scratching. No, Sarah Palin should stick to her governorship and just hit the rubber-chicken circuit, as Richard Nixon did in his long haul back from political limbo following his California gubernatorial defeat in 1962. Step by step, the mainstream media will come around, wipe its own mud out of its eyes, and see Palin for the populist phenomenon that she is.
Yeah, right, whatever. The notion that any level of outrageous or indefensible behavior by any Democrat - or even trunk who's defaming the right politician, soldier, or victim of terrorism, etc. - would result in a "hangover" or any other consequences is cute, and delusional.
2008 was, more than anything else, about the end of serious elections and the disappearance of accountability. And the bigoty and idiocy she properly denounces is very widespread, and completely acceptable, outside red-state America.
Bush was subjected to a vile tsunami of nonsense and idiocy for his entire term. It only got worse the more serious the issues became. The MSM rules supreme, comically inept and unfit candidates like Obama can walk to victory in the first contested election in their lives, and you can call Pennsyltuckians racist, redneck, gun-obsessed religious nuts and get their votes.
Come on, Camille. Focus on important things, like tickets to inaugural balls, or the associated orgy of craptacular self-congratulation and arrogant preening that awaits in January. Don't cling to bitter hopes that an America that has disgraced itself for years will suffer remorse and get a clue.
remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.
Camille Paglia is also delusional if she thinks Barrack Obama is going to be re-elected. The entire world is going to learn the hard way that OBambi is an empty suit with no character, no strength, and no wisdom.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
With such a solid win the democrats have no need to scrape off the radical nuts that have hijacked a good part of their party. Sadly, I fear that the only way to fight fire will be with fire and that will make for a much less civil society. But when it comes right down to it I don't mind rolling up my sleeves and kicking some hippies.
Paglia is a disciple of Marshall McLuhan, and thus, a believer in some seriously heavy-duty witch-doctory bullshit. Don't expect anything too excessively rational from Camille. She specializes in fuzzy-headed, pugnaciously gender-bent vagino-swagger. Her inevitable girl-crush on Palin was overdetermined, but it won't turn her into a Republican. She just likes to play pretend, especially when it helps her pick up chicks in dyke bars.
She's sort of like Guiliani that way.
Posted by: Mitch H. ||
Camille Paglia is also delusional if she thinks Barrack Obama is going to be re-elected.
We can only hope that he even aspires to be re-elected. I fear an actual election won't be of concern by then.
ION IRNA > US STRATEGIST [Simon Rosenberg] HIGHLIGHTS IRREVOCABLE SHIFT IN US POLICIES.
"Irrevocable" meaning the US DEMOLEFT could dominate US Politics for at least A GENERATION, espec as per US National Policies on GLOBAL WARMING, IMMIGRATION, + FINANCIAL CRISIS.
IN 30 YEARS [circa 2038 = 2040-50 r.o.] > US MAY NO LONGER HAVE A WHITE MAJORITY.
PAKSITANI DEFENCE FORUM Thread > PSST, DID YOU HEAR, OBAMA IS NOT A SECRET MUSLIM - HE'S A [pseudo]BUDDHIST!? Despite formal membership in the UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST + early/original childhood MUSLIM UPBRINGING, MANY OF BIG O's PERSONAL OR PREMIER BELIEFS ARE VERY CLOSELY IN LINE WID BUDDHISM [hence, CHINA-ASIA]???
Anyhoo, also from PAKISTANI DEFENCE FORUM > FISCAL WOES COULD [protractively]DELAY CLIMATE CHANGE FUNDING, RESULTS. NOT very much in the near- or short-term but likely in the long-term as wealthier nations cut back on $$$ support to combat MMGW = Climate Change, espec as per assistance to econ/cash-strapped smaller nations.
I think we can agree that the questioner is a simpleton of rare dimension. In short, a total ass. What I get from this from Emanuel, knowing he spent some period of his life in Israel, is something similar to the common service required from Israeli residents. If 3 months were spent on studying the Constitution and general civics, coupled with some service, such as preparing and delivering meals to elderly, or picking up trash in urban areas, erasing graffiti, etc., I could see it. Nearly all American youth expect everything be handed to them on a platter. Some period of national service is entirely reasonable and may reconnect them to reality and to the nation at large. I get no sense he is talking about a military contingent. Hussein, on the other hand, seems to be proposing a Black Panther force writ large. That ain't going to fly far. Something for the common good could be accepted; anything militarily related is DOA.
I want to know when they will start drafting the geezers over fifty. Older people have been included in the early talk of this Civil Defense Corps. Can I get a 4-F deferment? Will Canada open it's borders to us slackers? Will honary status be given to draft dodgers from the 60's? If not, why not?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon ||
Required national service is not reasonable. Military draft is only reasonable in times of war.
In peace time all citizens should be free. The government is supposed to work for us, not us for the government.
I read this in the comments section of a related and recent post and I think it is worth repeating here:
"It matters not that the purpose is for "the common good." The good that a man decides to do, or not do, should be an issue between himself and (if he recognizes one) his God. Any other source makes that source the master and the man a slave."
Regarding the 13th Amendment, if a military draft was able to be imposed legally I suspect this will also.
When you consider the number of Boomers that will be heading into old age homes in the coming decades I imagine the system will be unable to handle the numbers and all the volunteers (voluntary or government forced) we can get will be helpful.
Having said that the government still has to pay them, and at the same time those elderly are no longer paying into the kitty, so we're screwed.
If this old geezer is conscripted, can I ask for reparations too?
So if you are a teacher, doctor, policeman, community volunteer, mental health worker, pro bono lawyer, etc., does this count as service? Or does the work you provide have to be provide gratis? If it does, this sounds a lot like involuntary servitude.
Now that I am retired I think I'll volunteer for the draft conscription. Grow a beard, let my trousers hang down, smile a lot and go to all the meetings wired. Maybe establish an underground railway and help conscipted young people escape to Oklahoma.
A "common experience" for impressionable young people under the influence of loony liberals like Rahm Emanuel? I don't think so. High school is bad enough. And besides that, who's gonna pay for it after we get done bailing out all the crooks, bankers and union goons?
Regarding the 13th Amendment, if a military draft was able to be imposed legally I suspect this will also.
FYI, the draft is a misnomer. It's the selective activation of the federal militia which the Constitution gives the Legislative Brand the authority to form and embody under Article I, Section 8.
"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"
They implement that power through Title X, United States Code, subsection 311, note well para (b)(2) -
"311. Militia: composition and classes
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia areā"
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia."
So, by the powers of the Constitution, all males 17 to 45 are already in the militia whether they understand it or not. Notice that it also authorizes - "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;". No where else is there such an authorization to form a "Civil Defense Corps". However, that was all before it became what ever they could get away with a 'living Constitution', i.e. we make this up as we go along.
Why bail out Wall Street and not GM, demand many people. Why do we care about bankers and not ordinary folks?
I think this misses the point of the financial bailout. Whether or not it works--and I sure hope it will--I don't think very many people wanted to bail out the financial industry because we were so moved by the plight of those plucky traders on the mortgage desk. We bailed them out not because they deserved it--they didn't--but because if we didn't, there was a very big risk that they would take us down with them.
This is not generalizeable to other industries. Money is weird. Finance is weird. There is no other industry that is, first, so tightly coupled, and second, severely affects every other industry in the country. Moreover, there are few other industries that are so vulnerable to panic. Strategic injections of capital can actually salvage operations that are otherwise sound.
GM's operations are not otherwise sound. They have been headed for this moment since 1973. Conservatives blame legacy costs, and liberals blame management. They're both right. GM's legacy costs are crazy. So is the UAW leadership, which, goaded by the retirees, is knowingly driving the company into bankruptcy rather than negotiate clearly unsustainable deals. Those legacy costs would probably not be supportable by any company in a competitive environment; the UAW's expectations were created in an era of comfortable oligopoly, when all costs could be directly passed on to the consumer. And the poor quality control on American cars is, from all reports, the responsibility of the union, which maintains downright silly work rules that not even the most ardent liberal could defend in both the Big Three and their various parts suppliers. My favorite was the supplier plant that was forced to work in english measurement even though they had to sell parts in metric. But the examples are legion.
But too, management doesn't seem to be trying much harder to keep themselves out of bankruptcy court. The company could have limped on for longer if it had, y'know, made cars anyone wanted to buy. That's not the UAW's fault. GM's management seems to have a positive genius for making horrible cars, as if they'd deliberately sat down and asked themselves how they could best combine ugly, inconvenient, and unreliable into one expensive package.
What is government money going to fix? Will GM's management be so grateful to America that they decide to make an attractive, reliable vehicle as a thank-you gift? Will the unions realize that they owe the taxpayers a little more flexibility at collective bargaining time? Oh, hear that hollow laugh.
Merging with Chrysler doesn't solve anything. It's like two alcoholics deciding that they could maybe quit drinking if they got married. Everything that's wrong with GM is wrong with Chrysler, in spades. Adding the chaos and expense of a merger will not improve the toxic rot of horrible labor relations and muddled management. They can't even save money in the traditional way, by streamlining operations, because it costs them so much to lay anyone off. They'll save on steel and electricity from cutting car lines. But they can cut those car lines right now. And steel and electricity are no longer the major costs of auto manufacturing.
GM can't be saved. It needs to go into bankruptcy, which is the only possible way I can see to adjust its legacy labor problems, and possibly provide sufficient shock to the corporate culture to allow the company to make a competent car. Even that may not work. And it's going to involve a whole bunch of pain for everyone.
But unless we're willing to essentially nationalize three auto companies, that pain is going to come, sooner or later. And if we want to keep auto workers from feeling pain, then we should just up and give them money. There's no reason to waste steel on a lot of crappy cars.
I bought a Saturn in 1998, wanting to buy American. It was mechanically reliable, but after less than 10 years, the roof liner started to detach and sag down in the passenger area -- just like every other GM car my family had ever owned. The Saturn dealership refused to fix it, even for pay! "We don't do interior upholstery work" they said. My new car is a Mazda, and I'll never buy another American car.
I say let 'em sink! Bankruptcy is the best thing for them. Let the Koreans or Japanese buy their idle plants for pennies on the dollar, and start making decent cars.
It's shameful that you toss aside supporting American-made products simply for your headliner.
Did you know that the #1 cause of headliner failure is temperature, i.e., parking in the sun, and that it does not matter what brand your vehicle is? Go to the wrecking yard and see for yourself. Dealers don't do upholstery...never have, dude.
You park in the sun, you tossed aside a 'mechanically reliable' vehicle and bought a foreign car because the Saturn was a POS?
With your story & comments, I nominate YOU for 'idiot of the day'.
I had the same problem with the headliner on my old Chevy. The dealer wouldn't fix it but they recommended an upholstery shop that did the work for a reasonable price. It's kinda hit and miss whenever you buy a car. But that old Chevy had 247,000 miles on it when I finally had it scrapped. It was still running strong but it had failed a smog test and the state of California had a program going where they were paying $1000 to owners of these old "gross polluters" to get them off the road and I figured that was the best deal I was ever gonna get from it. I almost cried when I turned it over to the wrecker.
I have mixed feelings about this. I never thought GM cars were all that bad and I never believed that German and Japanese cars were all that great. The Pontiac I drive these days is reliable and comfortable. But I'm extremely uncomfortable with all these people begging for bailouts. This ain't no video game, kids. In real life there are consequences.
My parents wouldn't buy anything made by anyone else but Chevrolet until my mother bought a brand-new Caprice. It was in the shop eight times in the first year she owned it. After four years and dozens of problems she finally sold it at a loss and bought a Nissan. She owned that until she lost her drivers' license due to medical reasons - eleven or twelve years. It was in the shop twice - to replace the radiator after she hit a vulture, and to have the distributor replaced.
If US car manufacturers want to remain in business, they HAVE to greatly increase quality control and cut costs. If UNIONS want to continue to exist, they'll have to learn NOT to kill the industries that support them. Unionized labor has killed quite a few national industries, and still can't seem to understand that they're part of the problem.
Posted by: Old Patriot ||
This editorial is right on the money. How is giving these companies money going to change anything? You know the dems won't put the squeeze on the unions to change. You know the management won't make the hard choices needed on their end. It is only kicking the can down the road a little bit. A total waste.
That said, I have no big angst about the quality of American cars. I've had American, German and Japanese cars and they all had about the same quality level (the worst were German). The syling on American cars is not the greatest.
I put more of the blame on the UAW. They are stuck in 1959.
Owned Hondas for a while. Then I decided to help America, and I owned a Saturn for nine years. The first seven years were great. Had I known what was coming in the last two I would have sold it.
Then owned a Rendevous. Stunk. Comfortable, nice enough, always in the shop. Always. Now I own an Enclave. Best car I've ever owned, period. Comfy, reliable, smart, decent power, looks great, and the best fit and finish I've ever had on a car, any car.
GM is capable of making a decent car, but it seems like the people who make the final decisions don't understand the markets at all. The workers are capable of working hard and well but the union isn't capable of understanding how the world works now.
Too bad. I'm hoping I hang on to that Enclave for a while.
Posted by: Steve White ||
"to replace the radiator after she hit a vulture"
Dang, OP - your family has all the fun! ;-p
Posted by: Va. Gal ||
Oops. Forgot to change back. :-(
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
Did you know that the #1 cause of headliner failure is temperature, i.e., parking in the sun, and that it does not matter what brand your vehicle is?
Yeah, sure. I'll get my boss to install a roof over the parking lot.
I've had one headliner failure. Chevy S-10. My daughter has had one headliner failure. Saturn.
High temperature resistant glue isn't rocket science. Nor is building decent cars.
"I put more of the blame on the UAW. They are stuck in 1959."
I would say 1954. But your point is correct.
Posted by: no mo uro ||
The basis of GM's claim is essentially that they are too big or too important to fail due to their massive labor force. But how massive is their labor force relative to other American companies? It may be surprising that the following companies employ a larger number of workers than GM: Target, AT&T, GE, IBM, McDonalds, Citigroup, Kroger, Sears, and Wal-Mart. It is also worth noting that Home Depot, United Technologies, and Verizon all employ nearly as many workers as GM.
The question must be posed: Should the government bail out all 12 of these companies and, if so, at what cost? I doubt that if Wal-Mart, with their 2.1 million employees, went to the government or the American people and demanded a bailout that they would receive much sympathy, let alone money. But if we are going to base worthiness of bailout on number of employees alone, then Wal-Mart is almost 7 times more worthy than GM.
(I have largely neglected Ford, whose executives are also demanding a bailout. I believe that it is enough to simply state that Abercrombie & Fitch employs almost 7,000 more workers than does Ford. Would the failure of Abercrombie & Fitch's threaten the economy? I think not.)
Auto workers are a privileged group. They have been for a long time. This is not a rescue of the Auto companies. There are plenty of auto companies in the US besides the Big 3, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan come to mind. What will be done for their employees if they go belly up?
No, this is a bail out of the UAW. And no entity more deserves to go belly up. F^*k em.
--- There is an analogy between the auto industry and the finance industry.
--- There are a great many suppliers and their employees who depend on the auto industry. Minimal if any media coverage of the size of this vulnerability, rough figure I found was 4x the employment, 17 states who would have major damage from a hit on their auto suppliers, much more than from a failure of any one the "Big" 3.
---- Also, there is a liability for the federal pension guaranty program, to pay for the existing pensioners of the Big 3. Big money there. Again, no media coverage of the total amounts at risk.
---- I notice our esteemed representatives are gearing up to do another rush-rush, no consultation, railroading of a massive package through Congress. This will likely work as well as the Mother of All Bailouts passed a few weeks ago.
In my experience the dealers are the primary thing that drives customers to the imports. The import dealer contracts give the manufacturers more leeway in enforcing their rules. The domestic makers have to jump through a lot of hoops to discipline a dealer. The imports can do it much easier.
Posted by: Formerly Dan ||
I have a 94 F-150 that I bought new, going on 200K and the 300 cid straight six still runs great, air even works still. The body is going to rot away to nothing, but the motor will still be running. Some cars are good ones when they roll off the line, some are lemons.
People act like these companies are just going to vanish if they go into bankruptcy. They'll keep lurching along as they are now. Job loses, even including suppliers, etc, aren't going to be any different whether they are in Ch11 or just idling 1/2 their work force. The only difference is in CH11 they will be able to shed the burden of the damn UAW and they will be forced to reorganize. Let them go under and let the UAW take care of those who lose their jobs!
Sure go ahead with this, and buy the Anheuser-Busch stock so I can draw my political cartoon of palosi sitting in the back of a recalled '08 silverado pick'mup truck with a case of beer mumbling something about how nobody will give her a loan and the value of a dollar ain't what it used to be.
If GM was allowed to go bankrupt and then reorganized, minus the UAW and half its dealer network, there would be a good opportunity for a really competitive auto maker to emerge. Until then there's really no hope.
It's a free market - you buy what car best for you. Period. I've owed a 1985 Fiero - piece of shit. A 1985 Toyota Tercel - awesome car. A 1997 Ford Escort - good car. A 1999 Plymouth grand voyager - excellent van and a 2003 Dodge Ram - excellent truck. I'd love to be able to buy only American products. My dad worked for GM for 30 yrs. However, as a free market capitalist I say let them sink or swim on their own merit. Everytime you buy a big 3 car you support the UAW and by substitution the Democratic party. So why don't these latte sipping liberal Obama backers buy a big 3 car if they care so damn much? A lot of the obamaphants I see are driving Volvos and Prius'.
I've had enough of the unions. This is just another vote buying scheme from the democrats. The auto industry is in trouble and it's their own fault. Fuck'em. If they get a bailout watch for the airline industry to get in line next. I won't hold my breath, W is no conservative, he'll cave.
My 1995 Voyager has been great - I'd buy another if they still made that model. My 1995 Prizm (alias Toyota Corolla) has been great - but I tried the 2000 Chevy version & it was more like the Cavalier. Tried a Saturn - not bad but expensive to fix and my daughter kept wrecking it. Escort - real good for 80,000 then expensive stuff kept breaking. 72 Datsun pickup - fantastic. 73 Corona - sucked, but never left me stranded. 84 Marquis - solid but had this nasty intermittent electric problem. 68 Rambler - basic, but really practical and cheap and easy to maintain. I don't sense a strong pattern relative to national origin.
DILEMMA > WAR POWERS + "WORST CASE" NATIONAL CONTINGENCY > in case of major war, Washington Pols and the USDOD expect and plan for US AUTOMAKERS, etc. US-BASED INDUSTRIES TO BE ABLE TO QUICKLY PRODUCE ARMAMENTS FOR US MILFORS.
US-based, US-owned Automakers = US ARMY-MARINE AFVS, USAF PLANES, + USN COMBAT SHIPS, including support, the "GUNS" OF POLITICAL "GUNS-AND-BUTTER" ISSUES.
* E.g PAKISTANI DEFENCE FORUM > US SECDEF GATES FAVORS EXPANSION OF SCOPE OF US PREEMPTIVE WAR DOCTRINE TO INCLUDE OPTIONS FOR UNILATERAL US PREEMPTIVE NUCLEAR STRIKES. Against both GOVT-NATIONS as well as NON-STATE ENTITIES [Terror Groups], ETC. AS PERTINENT/NECESSARY.
Also, SAME > THE MAPS OF THE MUSLIM WORLD, ASIA, AND AFRICA IS BEING QUIETLY REDRAWN DUE TO THE US-ISLAMIST WAR ON TERROR.
So how much of the US economy, the home of free enterprise, will end up being nationalised or bailed out by the state during the current economic crisis?
So far we've seen banks, mortgage companies, and a mighty insurer all being propped up and bossed around by the federal government. And now it's the real economy, manufacturing, that US taxpayers are set to rescue.
Last night, for example, the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, urged Congress to provide emergency financial help for the crippled US automotive industry.
What's being requested by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler is $50bn in loans, on top of the $25bn in low-interest borrowing approved by Congress in September for retooling plants.
As cash-strapped US consumers continue to feel this is not the best time to buy a car, and are purchasing fewer vehicles than at any time since the early 1990s, most at risk of collapse is General Motors, the largest US carmaker.
Pelosi made clear that she felt the big automakers had to be kept out of bankruptcy at all costs, because of the danger that its failure would lead to massive damage to suppliers and connected businesses, with the possible loss of millions of jobs. A recent study by the Center for Automotive Research concluded that the failure of just one carmaker would lead to 2.5m job losses.
The scale of what's at stake was captured chillingly in a quote from a bankruptcy lawyer at White & Case, Alan Gover, who is quoted on Bloomberg: "Trying to reorganise the auto industry in bankruptcy would be as close to reorganising the whole US economy as you could get," he said. "The vast supply chain involves thousands of businesses, millions of existing jobs and just as many retirees, as well as whole communities and states".
But here's what some may see as ironic, even - in a dark way - slightly amusing. The fundamental cause of America's woes (and ours too) is that its consumers, businesses and government all borrowed too much in the good years, especially from China.
China's semi-nationalised, heavily state-controlled economy generated huge financial surpluses through its massive trade in manufactured goods with America. And those financial surpluses were recycled back to America in the form of loans, so that US consumers and businesses could buy even more from China's factories and workshops.
These massive trade and financial imbalances were unsustainable - and are now being brought closer to equilibrium in a painful way.
Because US financial institutions both borrowed and lent too much, and because many other mighty companies took on far too much debt, they have been facing collapse. And where they are perceived as too big too fail (where the collateral damage were they to fall over would be devastating), the US government is stepping in with financial succour from taxpayers.
For years the great trend in the world was the embracement of free enterprise in China. But now, in America's darkest hour for generations, the US is embracing a form of state-control and intervention that looks remarkably Chinese.
If we put the exact same tax on imported goods that their country of origin puts on American goods, I suspect we'd be out of the woods in a very short time.
Free trade and globalism advocates have been busting their collective sack explaining the virtues of the global economy for the last 20 years at least, as things steadily went down the toilet. Now we've hit rock bottom, almost, so where's the great benefit in the global economy now? I know, I know, cheap shit at Wal-Mart, yada, yada, yada. But if we've lost millions of jobs, doubled our national debt, became beholden to other countries for our energy, and have to kiss china's ass to keep them from dumping their US bonds and crashing our bond market, what HAVE we gotten out of this deal? I think its a fair question.
Gloabalism didn't cause people to spend more than they make. Globalism didn't force the UAW to create ridiculous work rules and unsustainable cost demands on its employers. Globalism didn't force our government to create huge entitlement programs (also unsustainable). Globalism is about competition and enabling different countries to specialize. Globalism is about Honda, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes building plants in the US and employing non-union workers at those plants and paying them a very good wage. You want a far worse recession, then erect trade barriers. That sure worked like a dream the last time around.
You are right too, remoteman. But during the Republican presidential primaries my guy Duncan Hunter said his policy on tariffs would be like a mirror - whatever tariffs they put on our products would be the same tariffs he would put on theirs. That made sense to me but it's not what happens, is it? Not only that but the Chicoms don't protect their workers or their environment like we do. How about a level playing field?
EU did you boy Duncan spend his time reading Tom Clancey novels?
This mirror idea is a perfect example of the maxim that things should be as simple as possible AND NO SIMPLER.
Global trade is way to complex for sound-bite answers from anyone. If you want to know what really caused the depression look into REPUBLICAN idiocy known as Smoot-Hawley. FDR just came along and kept pushing the ball down hill till WWII bailed us all out.
I think you are all right, but do you not see globalist policies as a goodly part of this problem?
I wonder how many people do or don't. It has certainly been a godsend for big business, but for the American worker? It seems to have brought few of the promised benefits.
ION FREEREPUBLIC > BARNEY FRANK WANTS TO NATIONALIZE THE US AUTO INDUSTRY.
HMMMM, ala the USSR the Bolsheviks + Soviets lasted from 1917 thru 1989 or 1991 > WID US POLITICOS + GLOBALISTS, ETC WAFFLING BWTN THE WORLD-DOMIN/CONQUERING USSA, versus WEAK ANTI-SOVEREIGN OWG USR of Amerika, IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN HOW LONG US-CENTRIC SOCIALIST ORDER WILL LAST.
At last check the Islamists are still a'rampagin thru CENTRAL- AND SOUTH/SE ASIA [desired FUTURE NUCLEARIZED ISLAMIST ASIA].
WORLD MIL FORUM [paraph = Google Chinglish translation] > CHINA AND TURKEY HAVE THE LARGEST "BEST" WORLD ECONOMIES, for the USA to heavily interact with in order to resolve its on-going Financial Crisis and related.
Also from SAME > PROLONGED US FINANCIAL CRISIS CAN RESHAPE THE MAP OF ISLAM, ASIA AS SUPERPOWER USA DECLINES BUT GROWS MORE ECONOMICALLY DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN STATES.
Robert Zubrin has a good point. The financial markets of the last few months have been and are continuing to be absolutely insane. I can't make any sense of it at all. Zubrin is right. Forget about risky mortgage loans, greedy Wall Street moguls, and all the rest of the bogey men being paraded out as the reason for our woes. More than doubling the price of oil in a short time was enough to bring our prosperity crashing down. His flex fuel mandate is the panacea we all crave, except for one thing. Noone in government or business is pushing for it. Why, I ask, aren't we seeing this and some other simple solutions to a part of the problem being pushed by someone who could actually get something done? At times, it almost seems like a conspiracy between the radical left and the big money right. But then I shake off my natural fur cloak of paranoia and ask myself who is benefiting from this rolling crises? And just as important, who is getting creamed? Besides the poor, that is, they always get hit the hardest. Agressive countries fueled by oil such as Russia, Iran, and Venezuela are hurting much worse than we are. As the revenues drop below costs in OPEC countries, those with the most agressive outreach programs and least functional governments are most in danger of collapse. Then, could this, in part, be advancing a major new front in the War on Terror? But who would be the big winner? Like Warren Buffet, the US is rich in irreducible resources that retain value even when currency fails. The history books in 2100 A.D. will be filled with the answers and they will seem so simple and straight forward that only an idiot could have missed it. Well, this idiot missed it completely. Can anyone explain it to me?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon ||
It's too bad the author took a good article & argument to close with supporting ethanol-based fuel technologies...
I think you're mistaken. Government is pushing ethanol BIG TIME. Forcing the automakers into flex fuel will make all of us shareholders (if we aren't already by next week).
We cannot survive a transition from oil to corn-based fuels without a significant trade-off that, I believe, no one is willing to make (and everyone is already grumbling about the initial effects, while at the same time arguing about what caused them. Reminder: If food cost inflation was due to transportation costs, the cost of food should come down at the same rate as transportation costs (oil/gasoline). Otherwise, 'ethanol inflation' is absolutely correct. It's only been 2 weeks...the jury's still out, though factoring in the effect of the domino failure of ethanol-producing firms and the consequent adjustment to corn futures & inventories will be a complicating factor)
The current problemn is not due to energy. It's due to excessive borrowing and spending by governments, organizations and individuals worldwide.
The price of energy reflects this. As the spending bubble grew, prices rose. As the spending bubble contracts, prices are falling. In boom times ethanol was a feel good luxury. Now its a white elephant.
Mixing with diesel is required in low temperature places as well as the other types of oil tend to freeze up more than petrolium products. Still a little diesel is better than all oil and no solution is 100% perfect.
Henry Kissinger did much to promote OPEC parasitism. As advisor to President Nixon, he told the Shah of Iran to raise oil prices, as means for purchasing advanced US weapons systems. And he did that during an recession. After the failed Arab attack on Israel, Arab members of OPEC placed an oil embargo. Kissinger called a favor from the Shah and he helped undermine the Arab subversion. After that incident, the Nixon regime indulged Shah greed. Then Iranians took notice of same and accepted the most depraved regime on earth.
Reminder: the Soviet factor - they had allies in the Middle East - enabled Arab belligerence in the seventies and eighties. Currently, there is absolutely NOTHING to stop an American regime from imposing its will on those headless chickens, who have long posed as human. That is NOTHING except the lack of will to tell pro-Saud lobbyists to go to hell, and dictate terms to Middle East savages. Anyone who defends the set up of America's finest soldiers for sniper attacks and IED massacres, is a wild animal. If that shoe fits, you wear it in disgust.
Hmmm...will this post induce specious, myopic, deferential (to oil patch parasites), and infantile reply? Spew the vomit, starting...now!
Well, the statement "oil patch parasites" tells me all I need to know about you. You know, we used to be able to produce our own OIL, like the 80's, where we produced 60% of what we used, instead of 40%. Those of us in the actual industry aren't the ones who decided it was more important to shut down offshore oil drilling anywhere besides Texas and Louisiana; it's about time the rest of you stopped blaming US for the consequences of y'all's decision to export more or less the entire industry to the middle east.