Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

Katon Dawson, candidate for RNC Chairman tells Jim Geraghty about his decade-long membership in a whites-only club: “Dawson is bothered by the possibility of his club membership stirring a perception of racial insensitivity, and worries that his bid could be defined by this.” Well, yeah.

Pat Toomey on the car bailout: “The United States is quickly becoming a bailout nation . . . partially nationalizing major industries, allocating capital based on politics, and profoundly undermining our free-market economy.  Our economy’s ability to recover and grow is being further hampered with every new bailout.”

Grover Norquist economizes on words.

The WSJ editors sum up the sentiment of most fiscal conservatives: “Friday’s taxpayer bailout of Detroit’s auto makers isn’t the worst moment of the Bush Presidency, but we’d put it in the top 10. President Bush will now avoid getting the blame for letting the companies declare bankruptcy on his watch. In return, he’s essentially handing over GM and Chrysler to the political ministrations of the United Auto Workers and the green lobby, as mediated by Congress. Taxpayers are likely to own a piece of this Corvair for years — and tens of billions of dollars — to come.” To be blunt, it was a frantic attempt to avoid blame — the very type of political cravenness the President usually deplores when touting his own devotion to principle and willingness to make hard choices. Yes, “Perhaps that isn’t ‘Herbert Hoover time,’ but it’s bad enough.”

The Washington Post entirely misses the point — or hopes its readers do — with its “sacrifice or surrender” hooey about the UAW. There are no binding requirements for the UAW to do anything.

Really, where’s Margaret Thatcher when you need her?

Congress’ approval rating is down to single digits again.

Megan McArdle is right: “The really miserable thing is that even a total bankruptcy may not be enough.   Wipe out the shareholders, cut the bondholders to the bone, shuck the gold-plated medical benefits, toss out the UAW contracts, close the dealers–and we still may be left with companies that cannot make a profit without a now-defunct financing business based on ever-growing loans to ever-poorer credit risks.  The Big Three, with the help of the UAW and all their other partners, has spent 25 years building a reputation for poor reliability and ugly cars.  Brands matter.  Once destroyed, they’re very hard to repair in the best of times.” And if this is true, we will pour tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars into unrescuable companies — money that could have been put toward far more productive undertakings.

One way of looking at it: Caroline should get the senate seat because we owe the Kennedy family. Sort of reparations for the rich and powerful.

The consensus on the Franken-Coleman race: who knows who will win and we won’t settle this for awhile.

Headline of the day: “Rice says only an idiot would trust North Korea.” Yeah, what kind of fool would for example, take to the bank an oral “agreement” which the North Koreans themselves refused to put in writing?

From Sens. McCain, Graham and Lieberman: “Iraq can serve as an anchor of stability in the region, a counter to Iranian hegemony and a model of democracy for the Middle East. This outcome is not yet guaranteed, even with all the success we have seen over the previous two years in Iraq. That is what makes it all the more important that Republicans and Democrats put aside the differences over Iraq that have divided us in the past. The president-elect has the chance to repair this breach in our politics by adopting a set of policies, resting on the best judgments of our commanders and diplomats on the ground, that all of us — Democrats and Republicans alike — will be able to support.” Well, John McCain always said he’s rather lose an election than lose a war. And that’s just how it looks.