I've allowed the dust to clear after last week's late night auto bailout debacle. In the passage of time, Senator Dodd's performance looks sorta like this
Several weeks ago, Senator Dodd was appointed the Senate's point person on the auto bailout. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/manufacturers/3711734/US-Senate-close-to-14bn-auto-bailout-deal.html The evening of the critical vote he claimed there were just "some issues that remain outstanding"
Hmm...like not having enough people in your own caucus behind the deal. http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/12/senate_democrats_had_enough_re_1.asp
Not really addressing the issue of competitive employee compensation http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081212/ap_on_go_co/congress_autos this year...not 2011..when GM is losing money at a titanic pace http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/13/BU5KV10HF.DTL
and allowing the Republicans to control the final negotiations http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081213/ap_on_go_co/autos_corker
Indeed, one wonders why Dodd bothered at all, since he seemed to not care what sort of dreck the federal government generated on an issue of rather pressing concern...saying of Bob Corker
"If perfection was supposed to be his goal, he was sent on a mission he could never complete,"
Well, Chris, we know never to expect perfection from your efforts in the Senate. But we have learned to expect petulance and finger pointing after your failures http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hcu-autobailout-1212,0,6886086.story
An effective chairman would have rounded up his votes and forced some form of temporary compromise between the GOP and the UAW to pass a bill that offerred some meaningful relief. But after the TARP disaster, http://www.thenextright.com/ironman/chris-dodd-on-the-bank-bailout-yep-i-pulled-a-plaxico Chris Dodd's delivery skills might be better employed at Domino's
It's not just that Dodd is a liberal, or as my CT compadre Artful Doddger points out, his act back home is wearing very thin http://theartfuldoddger.blogspot.com/2008/12/this-was-not-good-weekend-for-publicity.html. It's that he just isn;t very effective at what he does anymore. And after almost 30 years in the Senate, there's little reason to expect improvement.
The irony, of course is much as the Bush adminstration does not want a GM bankruptcy on the record, they also do not want to be directly blamed for creating "American Leyland" . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Leyland Hence, while they may permit the use of TARP cash to tide over GM and Chrysler, they may not be a whole lot more lenient than Bob Corker was http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ac2c623a-cafe-11dd-87d7-000077b07658.html?referrer_id=yahoofinance&ft_ref=yahoo1&segid=03058
This will kick the can down the road a piece. Upon further reflection, I would suggest that the DC wizards think about a few other issues than whether GM ought to replace its CEO http://www.thenextright.com/ironman/message-to-senator-dodd-you-first
The always inquisitive Michael Barone suggests that beyond pay packages, union work rules have to be redone for the domestic firms to become competitive http://www.usnews.com/blogs/barone/2008/12/15/who-is-at-fault-for-the-decline-of-the-big-three.html
I would also suggest to the "save the planet" people out there that the market is indicating that in the immediate term, a massive retooling to electric cars is going to be an exercise in fiscal insanity. If Toyota doesn;t see that much of a market for the Prius until maybe 2011, http://www.courant.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-toyota-plant,0,7578590.story, perhaps a more prudent short to mid term strategy for Detroit might be to maximise revenue selling conventional vehicles?
Sure it's unplesant and dull, but I've yet to see anyone explain how this works even for the purposes of postponing a bankruptcy until better economic times unless the Detroit 3 cut costs and sell profitable cars http://thenextright.com/ironman/can-hope-change-a-spark-plug
(as an aside, I figured out why the image is a) Detroit only sells big SUV's and b) no one buys their cars. I was in lower Fairfield County this morning. That's the deal down there--the only GM products I saw were Escalades and Tahoes--yuppies assume that's how it works for the whole country)
I might also suggest much as the auto industry is a big picture, it isn't the biggest picture. Since the election of Obama, we have seen the Dow plummet and recover, but as the zeroes on the proposed stimulus package get larger, the value of American currency gets smaller.
Maybe its time to ask Senator Dodd who gets to bail out Uncle Sam?