Commentary Magazine


Driven to Distraction

This report on the car bailout suggests that Congressional Republicans have not been invited to join in crafting a compromise bill. Sen. Bob Corker is unhappy that the plan may not include any requirements for union concessions or debt restructuring. Although Republicans have been frozen out, Harry Reid still has the nerve to declare that their help will be needed to schedule and pass a bill. Yeah, lots of help you’re going to get, Senator.

This is a preview of what’s in store for next year. Despite ludicrous promises by Nancy Pelosi  during the campaign that greater Democratic numbers would make her more “bipartisan,” it will come as no surprise when the opposite turns out to be the case. That’s not a bad thing for Republicans. On the car bailout and other measures, Democrats can fight among themselves, run up the tab on taxpayer giveaways, ignore public opinion, and try to muscle through votes with their own members. Then they can be held accountable. In the meantime, the pressure will be on moderate and conservative Democrats to toe the line, at the expense of their own electoral interests.

As far as Republicans are concerned, the car bailout provides a perfect test of this thinking. They’d be wise to follow Sen. Corker’s lead in explaining precisely what is wrong with the bailout. This will deprive the Democrats of cover, if they want to drive over the proverbial political cliff. They want to subsidize horrid management and Big Labor gluttony. They want to set in motion a pattern of perpetual dependence on Congress. Go for it, guys and gals. We’ll see if the voters approve.