Detroit, Mich. — Public humiliation of American industry executives is a Washington ritual, but this week’s gluteal osculation of Congress by Big Three auto executives is particularly uncomfortable to watch.
General Motors’ Rick Wagoner, Ford’s Alan Mulally, and Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli will come crawling to Washington Thursday to beg — again – for $25 billion to band-aid their financial bleeding. And compared to the private jets they sped in on during the first go-round, I do mean “crawling.”
All three will drive (presumably at a politically correct 55 mph) 15 hours from their Metro Detroit headquarters to DC across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. They will each pilot a separate, green vehicle symbolizing their commitment to the planet. Wagoner will be at the wheel of a Chevy Malibu hybrid, Mulally a Ford Escape hybrid, while Nardelli hasn’t yet disclosed his vehicle (though his company’s European-imported Smart car would seem the obvious choice).
Upon their arrival, their first congressional interrogator will no doubt demand to know why they didn’t carpool.
Regardless, they will be met with contempt from Democrats who despise their products. That includes Democrats, like California senator Diane Feinstein, who view Detroit automakers as carbon-belching dinosaurs and who are seeking to siphon some of the $25 billion to subsidize electric-car start-ups in California like Tesla Motors. Or House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.) who has said: “If I had my way, all three of those guys would be in the unemployment line and I think that ought to be one of the conditions for doing this.”
Last fall, Clyburn led Congressional imposition of $85 billion in additional regulatory costs on the industry by mandating a 40-percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2020. Shouldn’t Mr. Clyburn also step down for this reckless, ill-timed diktat?
Each auto executive will present a business plan to be leaner and greener in return for their public loans. On Tuesday, global-warming true-believer Mulally told the Wall Street Journal that he will present a plan redefining Ford as “a global, green, high-tech company that’s exactly where the country and the Obama administration want us to head.”
Not his customers, mind you. He will make cars that the “country” and the “Obama Administration want.” Sounds like a bid for nationalizing the industry to me. Mulally added that he — like Wagoner — would only take $1 in salary for the coming year. On that meager sum, one assumes these beggars will also be checking into an Arlington Motel 6 for their stay.
Henry Ford must be spinning in his grave.