Mitch McConnell’s Undisclosed Location

I’m utterly fascinated by two aspects of the debate over the bailout. First, why it is that reporters repeatedly cite Richard Shelby–the biggest opponent of the bailout–without noting that if GM goes under, the foreign manufacturers making big inefficient SUVs and trucks in his state will get a huge competitive advantage? Carl Levin is presented as representing Detroit, why isn’t Shelby described as representing Detroit’s foreign-owned competition?

I’m also fascinated by the role of Mitch McConnell–with McCain’s electoral embarrassment and John Boehner’s imminent ouster, the leader of the Republican party. McConnell, of course, represents an auto state–a pretty fascinating auto state, in fact, one that has a bunch of union manufacture of American products, as well as non-union manufacture of efficient Japanese cars. So does Mitch lead the opposition to the bailout–and oppose the interests of thousands of his constituents? Or does he support it, presenting an awkward defection for the Republican campaign to break the unions?

Apparently, if you’re Mitch McConnell, you chose option "C," none of the above. Instead, if this article from McConnell’s state is any indication, you hide.

The article cites,

  • William Parsons Jr., who organizes the annual Global Automotive Conference in Kentucky
  • Ken Troske, director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research
  • Toyota spokesman Mike Goss
  • Laurie Harbour-Felax, an industry observer and president of the Harbour-Felax Group
  • Kristin Dziczek, a researcher at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich

And of course,

  • Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala

But no mention of the hometown Senator and the most powerful Republican in the country, Mitch McConnell.

I’ve got unconfirmed sightings of Mitch in a spider-hole in Iraq, but I’m still working to confirm that report.

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84 replies
    • emptywheel says:

      I’m sure he IS leading. Isn’t that the Republican way, leading from an undisclosed location, so you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions?

    • bmaz says:

      I dunno, maybe McConnell is leading by not Shelbytizing. You go to the auto bailout with the GOP leaders you got, not the GOP leaders you want.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    I think it’s nice of Dick to let Mitch use his undisclosed location for awhile.

    Mitch will QUIETLY work against the Unions, while making non-committal comments when trapped in the daylight.

    I wish this had happened before the election, it would have been great fun to watch Mitch squirm.

    Boxturtle (Knows a coward when he doesn’t see one)

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    How long does McConnell think he can hide from this? It’s going to come up in the lame duck session. Is he desperately hoping that some deal can be done that satisfies enough people that it’s not a big issue? Good luck on that. Why is he worried anyway? He just won reelection. He doesn’t have to face the voters for six years. That’s when you’re supposed to be bold and statesmanlike and screw over provide leadership to your constituents.

    • klynn says:

      Mean I tell you…you are being mean! I can tell you are just baiting me!

      (Klynn runs screaming, not the TS b-day fact again! My day is ruined! Ruined, I tell you!)

      I requested of you earlier, exercise your musical abilities for today!

      (PhilipMunger raises Doctor Evil pinky finger to the corner of his mouth with his wrist turned at a slight angle.)

  3. klynn says:

    And even Japanese automaker Toyota, whose flagship North American plant is in Georgetown, would be in trouble if the Detroit Three fail because the four share many of the same parts suppliers.

    This is a point I made yesterday. It is the perfect economic storm; especially, for certain states like Kentucky and Ohio…

    Is Boehner in the same hole?

    Then McConnell and Boehner can draft the biggest welfare legislation in the history of the country…I did not realize the Republican party became so pro-welfare all of a sudden.

  4. CasualObserver says:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expects a vote on the plan this week — perhaps as early as tomorrow — though it is unclear if it can pass.

    “We’re seeing a potential meltdown in the auto industry whose consequences would be felt by millions of American workers,” he said.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican whose state has three plants operated by domestic automakers, declined to discuss the plan yesterday.

    But, given opposition within his party, the issue puts McConnell in a difficult position.

    In Jefferson County, Ford employs 5,400 members of the United Auto Workers union and about 300 white-collar employees at the Kentucky Truck Plant and the Louisville Assembly Plant.

    In Bowling Green, GM employs 2,164 hourly workers who assemble Corvettes.

    Reid said last week that it was his understanding that McConnell opposed the package. But McConnell said he and other Republicans were withholding judgment at least until the legislation was written and the bailout’s impact on the budget deficit could be determined.

    More from Louisville-based article…

    • emptywheel says:

      Nice catch.

      Declined to discuss it, huh?

      I actually think Reid is insisting on this vote just to put Mitch in a tough position. Not that it’ll help it pass (though who knows? If we get the moderates plus Voinovich, Bond, and McConnell, we might at least get to a vote), but I guess it’s worth it to make Mitch squirm…

      • CasualObserver says:

        Senate is picking its leadership this week, no? That may be another reason–McConnell may be waiting to get that hurdle jumped before coming out on autos.

        I scanned the comment pages of that louisville-based article. Not a single comment in favor of the bailout–this in a city that has an assembly plant.

        • klynn says:

          The commentors do not get that 4.5 million employees unemployed nationally is simply the parts suppliers and the big three shutting down. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are millions more “down the supply chain” and in related industries which will lay off millions, if not close their doors too.

          It has been difficult to get a full grasp of the level of “shutdown” once all those individuals are needing the public safety net and towns and cities are losing consumers and a significant tax base.

          It is McConnell’s job to walk his constituents through this reality. Unfortunately, the Repugs have played the fear card so much, few will believe the perfect economic storm is coming.

          • CasualObserver says:

            It is McConnell’s job to walk his constituents through this reality. Unfortunately, the Repugs have played the fear card so much, few will believe the perfect economic storm is coming.

            I’m not sure he sees it that way. He may view it as his job to hold together his opposition party, curb ‘Democratic abuses”, and figure out which issue will get him back in the majority. It may be deficit spending.

            My guess is they are going to become very concerned with deficit spending. Very very concerned.

            • klynn says:

              If McConnell wants to brand his position as getting back to “core party principles” of small government, less spending (yeah, he suddenly wakes up after 8 years), I’ll make sure he, Shelby and Boehner and their party are “branded” with creating the LARGEST welfare spending environment in the history of the US government.

        • emptywheel says:

          It be more worthwhile doing a campaign against Shelby:

          Why does Richard Shelby call GM’s fulfilling its promise to its retirees a “dinosaur” business model? Why does Richard Shelby hate our nation’s seniors?

  5. klynn says:

    EW,

    I’ve been thinking, perhaps the states which will be most affected might want to consider some type of short term investment partnership with the UAW to float everything until Obama is in office?

    All these states are tight budget-wise to begin with, but perhaps a short term fix would be better than the “perfect economic storm.”

    Hey, if the Federal government does not have a pair, perhaps the state leaders do?

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    I noticed a similarity in the governance style too, a paradigm I would call the healthy duck m.o., instead of issuing gestures of leadership, those still intact are in the command bunker invisible for the nonce.

    By way of parallel, a similar effect was evident in a personal finance column in a local newspaper Sunday; the writer describes a way for people who have 90/90* problems with their homes to obtain an instant government underwritten adjustment of their monthly mortgage downward to 38% of income. (*90/90 is you owe >90% of the principal, and your mortgage payments are already delinquent 90 days.) The article cited the source at the Federal Housing Finance Agency with a familiar Republican m.o.: “the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

  7. bell says:

    ot – back to the accountability issue with obama’s ‘new gov’t’…

    >>Outside of the Democratic caucus meeting today, Sen. Harry Reid said he is “very satisfied with what we did today” in letting Joe Lieberman keep his powerful chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. “Yes, I trust Senator Lieberman,” he said.

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      Didn’t The Who sing a song about this – something about new bosses and old bosses?

      Yep, yep, yep, change we can all believe in. This is a joke.

      JH

  8. klynn says:

    BTW, if this bailout does not go through, I just found out from my dearest family member, whole divisions of his work, which indirectly are a part of the supply chain to the auto industry in terms of polymers and adhesives, will simply wash up and many will lose their jobs. I just found out. The work from the foreign manufactures in the US will not be enough…

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    [email protected], Somehow Rove’s notes had escaped my catalog system, on instantaneous review, the latest there being 6 weeks ago HouseJC v Miers+Bolten, US court of appeals DC circuit 3-judge panel granting motion for stay pending appeal, the reasoning being the 111th will have to review the matter while defendants appeal either to en banc or Scotus, by Ginsburg, Randolph, Tatel. However, I located a year-old record of the SenateJC voting to send the contempt matter to Reid, specifically addressing Rove’s participation, as the KCStar document shows, an intereating feature being today’s date on that document from the SJCommittee.

  10. klynn says:

    Hey EW, I am not a fan of digging into the DOE funds but what about something like I suggested at 14 with some of the DOE funds reallocated? Many of the states affected have auto industry initiatives in place that even reward new technologies. This could be a win-win in the short term.

    Could the UAW fund their own investment through municipal bonds?

    Or maybe a combination of all three?

    I’m crazy, I know…The Feds could pick up the taxes on the municipal bonds used as the purchase?

  11. jackie says:

    ‘President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition.’

    http://www.blog.newsweek.com/b…..neral.aspx

  12. klynn says:

    Just to remind everyone, writers at CNN are on something funny today. Their numbers on those affected by the bailout not happening, are not adding up.

    This article sets the numbers straight…

  13. eCAHNomics says:

    First, why it is that reporters repeatedly cite Richard Shelby–the biggest opponent of the bailout–without noting that if GM goes under, the foreign manufacturers making big inefficient SUVs and trucks in his state will get a huge competitive advantage?

    Actually, a reporter on CNBC this morning did point that out.

  14. GregB says:

    I think the answer for the blogoshpere’s problems and the auto industries’ problems is to hire a team of rivals.

    -G

  15. eCAHNomics says:

    Also Martin Feldstein (Harvard, ex-head of National Bureau of Economic Research, Reagan’s head of Council of Economic Advisors iirc) was on cnbc this morning arguing for the auto companies to go bankrupt to break the union contracts. The only objections on the portion of the progam I listened to is what would happen to the poor suppliers who are already on life support. Breaking labor is a goal accepted by all the cnbc crowd of course.

  16. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Under the SolarWorld plan, Opel would still produce cars, though SolarWorld would begin pushing the group to produce more environmentally friendly vehicles. Already, the Ruesselsheim center has worked on the Chevy Volt, the planned electric vehicle on which GM has largely placed its development hopes.
    “After the restructuring of the product range the tradition-fraught German car maker would especially offer electric-drive and hybrid-drive vehicles in the future as well as models equipped with the latest technology like extended-range electric-drive vehicles that combine electric motors and combustion engines in a highly efficient manner,” SolarWorld said.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/new…..ist=msr_17

    My bold Obama has to move fast the German’s seem to want to buy the Volt’s tech without that GM is nothing.
    Even if GM shares the tech with the Germans GM looses its exclusive advantage in electric car tech.
    No word if GM will say yes.

        • SouthernDragon says:

          Not familiar with the players in AZ but hope the Dems can field a progressive, not another goddamned conservative. Wanna be a conservative, join the Rethugs.

          • DWBartoo says:

            Good morning to all;

            SD, I am told that a new term, ‘post-partisan’, is to be the watch-word of our coming days.

            Presumably this means that those words, ‘conservative’, ‘liberal’, or ‘progressive’ as well as notions auch as ‘right’ or ‘left’ are not only no longer in vougue, but represent a mind-set which is retrograde and destructive of the new comity.

            It would well behoove we oldsters, therefore, to consider that our very vocabulary renders us both quaint and irrelevant.

            How this has happened, I am at a loss to explain, but apparently this new ‘program’ is designed to usher in a new age and a new world.

            I am now able to understand how the dinosaurs must have felt when the furry little pre-shrews began to scurry around, heralding a new era …

            Nonetheless, it seems to me that certain realities shall remain in this transformed age, whatever the most-evolverated might choose to be-name or not be-name them.

            ;~D

            • eCAHNomics says:

              Luv the way you put that.

              Just the latest way for us oldsters to feel irrelevant. For the past 8 years, it was living in a post-secular, post-science world.

              Cornel West was on democracynow this morning. He expressed some concern about Obama’s centrist tendencies & said that progressives were going to have to organize from the bottom up to pressure Obama. Glad to hear at least one prominent black has noticed & will speak out.

  17. i4u2bi says:

    If we have to give away a Trillion dollars, lets give it to drivers to buy new cars..then money goes to GM and such for recapitalization and retooling. Trickle down and not trickle on.

  18. foothillsmike says:

    One of the questions I have not been able to get an answer to is if the auto industry goes under will there be a credit default swap hit? ie. will we be dumping more $ into AIG et al.

  19. eCAHNomics says:

    Hoyer is doing his leader thingy. Before National Press Club he said that the Ds would not backtrack on offshore drilling.

  20. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Who says that bankruptcy for the big three is a good idea. Who ever has the most money will buy the companies not necessarily an American. Then they could take all those jobs and move them to Mexico where the labor cost are even cheaper.
    Of course the GOP talking heads never think of things like that.

    • SouthernDragon says:

      Of course they’ve thought about it. I doubt foreign competitors would be allowed to buy any of the big 3 but if some venture capital firm wanted to buy, strip and flip them with all the jobs and production going to Mexico that would be fine with the Rethugs and Wall Street crowd.

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        In this market who could the banks are not loaning money. The hedgefunds are stuck with home loan paper nobody wants. Toyota though has a ton of cash.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      But the GOP does think about precisely that. They conclude that US workers should be content to drop their compensation demands to match the Mexicans.

          • ThingsComeUndone says:

            The GOP has given up on getting Michigan I take it, and Ohio? Not smart if you want to regain control of the House, Senate and White House.

            • eCAHNomics says:

              Heh. Hadn’t thought about it that way.

              My economist pov is that workers are also customers. No one on the right thinks about the consequences of cutting wages for consumer demand. That is because consumer spending has been held up by their using their homes as an ATM. But Rs never stop to ask themselves what will support consumer spending now that the housing boom is over.

                • eCAHNomics says:

                  Nothing. It’s dropping like a stone. In the second quater it was held up by the tax cut, but after that …

                  The other blind spot for people on the right is that they assume there will be a demand for credit if they can succeed with the bailout plan to get the supply of credit unfrozen.

                  The drop in oil prices is helping out some households, but that’s not large enough to get aggregate consumer spending to recover, especially as layoffs will accelerate.
                  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27801332/

  21. CalGeorge says:

    Bailout rule no. 1: Any company that lobbied Congress and supported Republicans to defeat fuel efficiency standards gets no money.

    Politico:
    “For more than two decades, the auto industry used its clout in Congress to block passage of new federal mandates for gas mileage. Even as gas emissions were increasingly being tied to global warming and more efficient Japanese imports rose in sales, the industry stayed its course, killing new mileage standards and building bigger, gas-guzzling vehicles.

    In those same years, it used deep pockets to keep friendly lawmakers in office. It backed Michigan Democrats sensitive to the industry while delivering lopsided donations to even friendlier Republicans. According to Opensecrets.org, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in Washington, 75 percent of the $14 million given out by industry executives and political action committees in 2006 went to Republicans. In 2004, the GOP pocketed 78 percent of the donations.”

    http://www.politico.com/news/s…../5165.html

    Let it all go to hell.

  22. CalGeorge says:

    Look at CAFE standards around the world on p. 3 of this PEW report.

    http://www.pewclimate.org/docU…..110719.pdf

    Look at where the U.S. is. Look at where Japan is. And the EU.

    We are PITIFUL.

    “The United States and Canada have the lowest standards in terms of fleet-average fuel economy rating, and they have the highest greenhouse gas emission rates based on the EU testing procedure.”

    PITIFUL.

  23. ThingsComeUndone says:

    How is this issue playing in the polls? A bank bailout was unpopular but trying to save regular people’s jobs is different. The GOP seems to think that this issue is a winner with voters?
    Or are they just against everything Obama wants to do even if it hurts them later at the polls?

  24. alank says:

    Corvette. Now there’s a vehicle that needs to be made.

    As of Friday, November 14, 2008,

    U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell taking Bush line to oppose more aid for automakers

    Tuesday will put leaders of Detroit 3 automakers and the United Auto Workers before the U.S. Senate in a hearing as they seek aid in addition to $25 billion in low-interest loans approved last September.

    The Detroit Free Press reports today that General Motors Corp., which has a Corvette plant in Bowling Green, has only enough cash on hand to survive until January. President Bush opposes more aid. So far, the Free Press reports, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) is backing the president.

    For their part, automakers lament that the loans approved last September are too narrow in scope, and not enough to help them survive a downturn projected to worsen until the middle of next year.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) will convene the Senate hearing Tuesday to hear them out.

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) is willing to risk loosing an auto plant in his state. I think the GOP wants to loose Kentucky too?

  25. ThingsComeUndone says:

    The other blind spot for people on the right is that they assume there will be a demand for credit if they can succeed with the bailout plan to get the supply of credit unfrozen.

    But banks are not lending now so unless they have a plan to get the banks lending it won’t work.
    Credit card losses are killing banks people need to get paid before they spend.
    Who is advising the GOP on economics Newt? Bush
    The market will really crash after we get Christmas shopping numbers.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      It’s a testimony for how deeply embedded supply-side economics has become in the psyche of those on the right. And of course, they stopped using the words because they became toxic politically, so they don’t even know what is driving their thinking because they no longer have the vocabulary to express it.

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        The GOP seems to think Bush personally is toxic but not his ideas? Even when they don’t mention their ideas by name anymore? They are trying to claim that Bush failed to be Conservative enough and that was the problem?
        I think they have no real idea why the banks are in trouble.

        • eCAHNomics says:

          The GOP seems to think Bush personally is toxic but not his ideas? Even when they don’t mention their ideas by name anymore?

          Well put. Yes.

          The true believers are trying hard to marginalize the RINOs. Just like the communist diehards, who argue that communism never failed because it was never really tried, the wingnuts think the same thing about their positions.

        • DWBartoo says:

          I note, eCAHN, that your anti-coin riffling never mentions that coins were, in essence, the first ‘vanity’ plates … commemorative reminders of self-proclaimed greatness and grandeur …

          If only ‘they’ had got Reagan’s visage stamped onto the quarter, then we would truly have change we could ‘believe’ in …

          Sigh.

    • karnak12 says:

      …yeah, the post-money thing. Good turn of phrase. But whatever the wording, the underlying reality will be a problem.

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