Obama Makes Detroit An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse?


Henry Payne’s coverage of the auto bailout shenanigans has been exhaustive — and exhausting, I’m sure. To it, let me add a little item from the whisper mill — make of it what you will.

Out on the road promoting Red Hot Lies, by chance I ran into an industry lobbyist who I have long known to be one of the most well-informed among his peers. He let me in on a recent conversation that had left him dazed, and which I will share with Planet Gore readers.

A senior official of the domestic automobile industry explained to my friend that a deal is in the works with the Obama administration. They have agreed not to reverse the Bush administration’s rejection of California’s application to set its own auto-emission greenhouse-gas standards (of the sort the Germans have just ensured the EU won’t mandate, either). In return, the autos (Big Three or industry-wide he didn’t say, but this auto rep is from the domestic industry) promise to support the Obama administration’s GHG plans.

What are those? Well, the auto rep acknowledged that the contents of the Obama climate plan remained unspoken — and the industry guys were leaning toward accepting the deal anyway, apparently, sight unseen [?!].

My colleague was unsure whether this was involved in the stripping — late one night this week — of the provision in the House auto bailout bill that conditioned bailout loans on a promise to not support, either directly or indirectly, litigation challenging California’s efforts to regulate GHGs (i.e., that the industry would not even support financially any trade association or think tank that might seek to litigate, either as parties or friends of the court).

Welcome to Sausage City, where the reasons against corporate-government deal-making continue to mount daily.


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