GM: The MSNBC-Endorsed Car Maker

Hugh Hewitt

6/9/2009 9:31:12 PM - Hugh Hewitt

GM has launched a new ad campaign to try and rebrand the company. No need. MSNBC has ridden to the rescue and is proud to declare Government Motors its new favorite cause. The hard-left cable network had adopted GM, so let the word go forth that if you want to support President Obama, his cheering section at MSNBC has made it clear that means buying GM product.

MSNBC's hapless Ed Schultz accused me of "hating" President Obama on his Tuesday's show because I have announced that I will not buy a GM or a Chrysler car. (Since 2001 I have purchased two GMs --a Saab and a Trailblazer.) My reasoning is explained in this WashingtonExaminer.com column and this Townhall.com column. Briefly put: The socialization of GM severely disadvantages Ford, Toyota and other auto workers while undermining basic, bedrock principles of free enterprise, and I will not endorse the deal with my dollars and don't think any other car buyer should either. In Ed's rather fevered world this means I "hate" President Obama. In fact I supported the first GM/Chrysler bailout and would have been happy to see the feds support the two companies with loan guarantees or other assistance that would not have resulted in government ownership of the company.

But I won't support a government-owned car company that tilts the competitive field against every other car maker, and the feds now own and control GM, and the new Government Motors has a $65 to $75 billion dollar advantage over the shareholders, bondholders and workers at every other car company in the country. The left doesn't care because President Obama decreed this state of affairs it so it must be good, but it is inimical to the American way of doing business, building widespread prosperity, the middle class and great cars, and to ideals of freedom and liberty. A government-owned car company is a car company that can dictate who wins and loses and who gets the good deals. That's the danger of Government Motors.

Think Chris Dodd and his mortgage --Dodd was rewarded for being a big shot D.C. deal-maker. That's cronyism. Now elevate cronyism to the biggest industry in America and you get President Obama's car company. The president, Rahm Emanuel, and the rest of the Chicago crowd will now be deciding who wins and loses at GM and among its business partners.

Which is why the president's call to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to assure him that GM's headquarters would remain in Detroit or Barney Frank's call to GM's "president" to demand that a GM distribution center in Massachusetts stay open are just the first indications of how Government Motors will be run. Crony capitalism isn't capitalism at all. It is the worst sort of political chicanery, and the average American, and the UAW workers at Ford plants or the non-unionized workers at other plants understand this even if everyone at MSNBC doesn't.

Schultz's shouted tirade is par for the course for a left long used to screaming at its opponents, and his attribution to me of "hatred" for the new president is simple projection of Schultz's feelings towards the old president on to me. We had a good laugh on my show at Ed's expense, and at his desperate attempt to find a new ratings hook now that George W. Bush is beginning to fade from the mind of a public that is beginning to chuckle at the number of jobs President Obama "saved or created" this week, even as unemployment continues to rise after the near-trillion dollar stimulus that wasn't. The Dems are running everything in D.C., and not well, so the MSNBC play-book is down to one page: Attack center-right commentators.

What the left doesn't understand is that Team Obama would rather they drop the whole GM takeover issue. There's a reason the White House isn't talking up the nationalization of GM and would rather talk about anything else: They know the public hates this, including large majorities of independents and significant numbers of Democrats. The advisors around Obama also know that the cumulative effects of the trillions spent the president's friends are adding up to one enormous bill the staggering total of which will give even liberals pause when the subject of a "government option" for health care comes up this month and next. President Obama wants the feds to take over health care just as it has GM, but even the enraptured MSM is beginning to ask the inconvenient questions, such as "If you can't run Medicare how do you propose to expand it hugely and contain costs?" The unfolding misadventure with GM is simply an introduction to how government-run operations function. The Post Office and the DMV are exhibits one and two on that list, but more than any other Obama initiative, the takeover of GM promises to illustrate what the new Democratic Party stands for: A pay-off of friends and a kiss-off to everyone else.

If you are fine with that, but a GM instead of a Ford or now a Saturn or a Toyota. GM is now the brand endorsed by MSNBC and Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and the rest of the crew over there. The folks at Government Motors must love this rebranding-assist. Let's wait for the ads starring Ed, Keith, Chris and Rachel pitching Obamacars.