Imagine a scenario in which — with help from a Republican White House — several Fortune 500 corporations were given federal bailouts and afforded a special bankruptcy protection that ran roughshod over investor rights and shorted pensioners — all in order to benefit a major campaign contributor. Imagine the outcry in America’s media.
Imagine no longer. That is exactly what happened in 2009, with the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler. But as that scheme was hatched by a Democratic president, it is being cheered by America’s media.
The GM and Chrysler bailouts have become a key narrative in President Obama’s re-election campaign, especially in Michigan — a Democrat-leaning, must-win state in ‘12. The Democratic media has taken up Obama’s battle cry — ignoring the crooked bailout details that are a case study in illiberal crony capitalism.
“The Obama campaign sees a potential advantage and is moving to seize it,” writes The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters on the front page of Monday’s paper, sourcing Obama and auto industry officials that, no surprise, tell only one side of the tale. “An Obama campaign official said allies will be dispatched across Michigan this week to hold news conferences raising Romney’s opposition to the auto company loans and attacking his economic policies as beneficial to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”
Really? How do you spin opposing bailouts that tipped the scales to America’s biggest corporations and unions over investors as “beneficial to the wealthy”?
By ignoring the facts.
The Times ignores GM investors like Dennis Buchholtz, a 67-year-old retired tool-and-dye supervisor from Michigan, who told The Wall Street Journal that he lived on $98,000 in GM bonds and saw his investment gutted in order for majority share of GM to be handed to a Democratic president and his union cronies. It also ignores the Obama administration’s thuggish, Chicago-style threats to secured bondholders such as Perella Weinberg, who was told to cave or face political retribution. It ignores lawsuits brought by the Indiana State Police Pension Fund and Teachers’ Retirement Fund to protest short-changing their investments in violation of bankruptcy laws protecting secured creditors. It ignores the fact that such actions soured the majority of the American public, which has consistently opposed the bailouts.
Instead, The Times quotes auto executives like ex-GM design chief Bob Lutz and Auto Nation’s Mike Jackson — One Percenters who benefited from Obama’s intervention — both of whom question Romney’s tough medicine. The Times quotes no investors, no pensioners, no bankruptcy lawyers who protested the White House steamrolling of bankruptcy law.
Why? Because that might muddy Team Obama’s pat story that Mitt Romney, the Private Equity Vulture, wanted to gut American jobs.
Yes, Romney’s managed bankruptcy path would likely have been messier, and a President Romney would have had to commit more federal dollars than he lets on. But it would have followed the law, given investors a fair shake, and forced a transparent, competitive solution to the companies’ troubles.
Once upon a time, that’s what liberals believed in.