Monday, December 08, 2008

How Do You Like Your War Now, Conservatives?

As I've already bored you once or twice by expounding, American "conservatives" cheerfully sacrificed everything else that they claimed to cherish -- liberty, free markets, opposition to legal abortion, the whole bundle -- to their true first love: war. They were happy to "pay any price, bear any burden" to discomfit the Commies or the Islamofascists or any other convenient enemy at whom their synthetic anger could be aimed, like a gun, by their supervisors ... as long as stealthy aircraft would rain Shock & Awe™ on the swarthy ones; as long as Abrams main battle tanks buried Eye-rackies in the sand; as long as the wrap-around-shades legionaries kept their boots firmly planted on towelhead necks. During the last couple of years, though, some hint of the scale of "any price" and "any burden" have begun to manifest, a little, as energy prices soared (until the leading edge of the current Really Great Depression has made them plunge) and the first rumblings of the economic meltdown have put tremors of panic and nausea into even the most jingo-"patriotic" of bellies.

Well, conservatives, you've had your war. Sorry it wasn't an especially good one for you. Now, taste of the price:
Congressional Democrats were drafting legislation Sunday for tight government control of the crippled American auto industry, including the possible creation of an oversight board made up of five cabinet secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and led by an independent chairman or “car czar.”


President-elect Barack Obama, whose transition team has been involved in the talks, made starkly clear in an interview and at a brief news conference on Sunday that any aid to the Big Three auto companies should not come without significant concessions.

“They’re going to have to restructure,” Mr. Obama said in an interview on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “And all their stakeholders are going to have restructure. Labor, management, shareholders, creditors — everybody is going to recognize that they have — they do not have a sustainable business model right now, and if they expect taxpayers to help in that adjustment process, then they can’t keep on putting off the kinds of changes that they, frankly, should have made 20 or 30 years ago.”

Still, the bill seemed likely to stop short of authorizing the broad powers that some lawmakers had urged to allow what could have amounted to an out-of-court bankruptcy proceeding, in which the automakers’ creditors could be forced to accept reduced payments, labor contracts could be rewritten and executives could be summarily dismissed.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the chairman of the banking committee that is drafting the legislation, called for the dismissal or resignation of Rick Wagoner, the chief executive of G.M., which is the most imperiled automaker.

“I think you’ve got to consider new leadership,” Mr. Dodd said Sunday in an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “If you’re going to really restructure this, you’ve got to bring in a new team to do this, in my view.”

Asked specifically about Mr. Wagoner, Mr. Dodd said: “I think he has to move on.”

A G.M. spokesman, Steve Harris, said that the company was grateful for Mr. Dodd’s assistance and that it was willing to accept tough oversight, but that it retained confidence in Mr. Wagoner.

“We appreciate Senator Dodd’s support in trying to provide some assistance for the industry, but General Motors’ employees, dealers, suppliers and the G.M. board of directors feel strongly that Rick Wagoner is the right person to continue the transformation of the company that he began and has presented plans to Congress to continue and accelerate,” Mr. Harris said.

All of the proposals made clear that Congressional Democrats and the White House, furious over the need for another huge corporate bailout, intended to make the automakers pay a price far greater than the 5 percent interest on the emergency loans.

Congressional Democrats said that if any of the companies failed to meet government requirements by the end of March, the emergency loans could be called in for immediate repayment.

At the news conference in Chicago, Mr. Obama affirmed his position that it would be unacceptable to allow the auto industry to collapse. But using somewhat tougher language than he had before, he said it made “no sense for us to shovel more money into the problem” if the companies are unwilling to reorganize.
I think the most amazing thing about the economic debacle to date is the blinding speed with which "conservatives" have run from the idea that there might be something wrong with the Sovietizing of what's left of American industry. I mean, a year or two from now, we're going to be reading about the Car Czar's bold new Five-Year Plan under which the new SUX-6000, designed by a committee consisting of Pres. Obama, Sen. Dodd, and Sen. Shelby, will be produced in record numbers of 5,000 units per year; and then when fewer than 200 are built, and they won't start, we'll read about how that represents a "heroic overfulfillment" of the Plan. It's going to be funny, which is good, because we'll all need something amusing to help us pass the time while we're queued up half the day to get the day's ration of black bread and borscht at the local State Commissary.

I don't particularly blame "progressives" for all this. They're supposed to be socialists. No, I think the blame rests primarily with conservatives. They had to have their war, no matter what. I wish there were some way for them to eat the results by themselves -- but there isn't. I'll be studying "100 New Recipes For Old Cabbage" right alongside them. Yum, yum.


Mimi said...

Oh, Jim, I love your turn of phrase! You hit the nail on the head about the neocoms "first true love." But of course, there are never any scarcity of "enemies" to make war upon. So the kids get hurt? Too bad, but after all, they'd grow up to be terrorists, too.

Jim Wetzel said...

Thanks, Mimi, you're much too kind.

I'm not sure that most Americans even go so far as to say that it's OK to kill foreigners' children because they're apt to grow up to be terrorists. I'm afraid that, with many of our countrymen, foreign people in general -- including the kids -- are a good bit less than human ... and they don't merit much thought, one way or another.

Thomas Daulton said...

Be sure to check out "iTulip: Big 3 Bailout Ad" ...

See, the ironic thing is that you have it backwards. Sure, progressives are supposed to be socialists, but rich people are and have always been the biggest socialists of all. Once a person gets to the point where one is rich enough to buy, purchase, rent, and deploy governments, nobody hesitates so much as a moment before doing so in order to in order to protect and expand their own wealth. The guff about "rugged individualism" and "wisdom of the markets" is the fairy tale that the rich tell to the losers and lower classes to keep their eyes off the ball. I always ROTFLMAO when I read something by Ayn Rand. As if government wasn't just another weapon in the arsenal that rich people use to compete with each other and screw with the poor.

American faux-"conservatives" (love your scare quotes) are the ones, rich or no, who think this is a good idea. They never actually did "cherish liberty, free markets" as you suggest -- they only want to watch and maybe participate in a self-righteous stomping match. The more unequal, the better. Everything else is lip service. (I'm certainly not lumping you in with them, however.) "Socialist" progressives, I suppose, are merely the people who think that we vulgar masses ought to master and defend ourselves with the same tool that we will inevitably be attacked with.