Obama: They Said We Couldn’t Fast-Track Chrysler, Now I’m Doubling Down

Since I’m in town anyway, I decided to go hear the President announce the government taking a 60% stake in GM at the White House today (and they let me in!).

Given the finalization of the Chrysler sale today, the announcement had the distinct tone of an "I told you so:"

And keep in mind — many experts said that a quick, surgical bankruptcy was impossible. They were wrong. Others predicted that Chrysler’s decision to enter bankruptcy would lead to an immediate collapse in consumer confidence that would send car sales over a cliff. They were wrong, as well. In fact, Chrysler sold more cars in May than it did in April, in part because consumers were comforted by our extraordinary commitment to stand behind a quick bankruptcy process. All in all, it’s a dramatic — an outcome dramatically better than what appeared likely when this process began.

And I will confess, I was one of those who–in January–doubted that the Chrysler bailout could have ended as well as it did (though I regard it more as a "least worst solution"). So kudos to Obama’s auto task force team, thus far, they’ve pulled this off.

Of course, with GM’s additional size and complexity, Obama’s announcement of the GM restructuring was basically a bold doubling down. They admit that BK will take three times as long, and I’m sure it’ll be every bit three times as difficult.

In all likelihood, this process will take more time for GM than it did for Chrysler because GM is a bigger, more complex company. But Chrysler’s extraordinary success reaffirms my confidence that GM will emerge from its bankruptcy process quickly, and as a stronger and more competitive company.

There was one piece of news–or news to me–that I hope to check the math on. Obama claimed that this BK process will result in GM "building a larger share of its cars here at home."

As this plan takes effect, GM will start building a larger share of its cars here at home, including fuel-efficient cars. In fact, if all goes according to plan, the share of GM cars sold in the United States that are made here will actually grow for the first time in three decades.

Given the sharp decline in production they’re forecasting, this may just be a matter of math. But it does suggest they’re going to close down some Mexican production (or something) in an effort to keep factories open here. And as I pointed out last night, they have apparently committed to assembling a new small car (possibly the Spark?) here in the US.

Stay tuned, and I will try to clarify those numbers. In the meantime, it was basically a cautiously cocky declaration that the government is going to try to pull of what it did with Chrysler with GM.

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79 replies
  1. oldnslow says:

    ……in an effort to keep factories open here.

    We can only hope that GM production is brought home. Domestic suppliers, and all of the people that feed, clothe, provide services for and shelter their employees will be better off for it and our economy just might recover.

    Not making things in this country is destroying us.

    • selise says:

      Not making things in this country is destroying us.

      if our domestic manufacturing industry meant anything to the pols in deecee, single payer would be on the table and employer based health insurance would be off the table.

      there’s some really obvious stuff we should be doing — and single payer is one of them.

  2. rosalind says:

    whoa whoa whoa!

    I decided to go hear the President announce the government taking a 60% stake in GM at the White House today (and they let me in!)

    as a gen-u-ine official member of “the press”? did the upperclassmen in the front row shoot spitballs at ya?

    • emptywheel says:

      I don’t think Dana Milbank remembered who I was (we met at Libby, but only briefly) until we were walking out the gate together (and it was a good thing bc given the security probs I had no idea what to do). So he didn’t have a chance to spitball me, and I, to be fair in response, didn’t knee him either.

      • freepatriot says:

        he didn’t have a chance to spitball me, and I, to be fair in response, didn’t knee him either.

        that’s good

        I’d have to file a complaint with the union if you decide to dabble in my area

        we got a deal

        I do do the thinking thing, an you don’t do the physical violence thingy

        you can be funny and vicious with words, but it takes a REAL artist to get laughs while yer beatin the shit outta somebody who thoroughly deserves it

        it’s not as easy as it looks

        I don’t care how many “Three Stooges” shorts you’ve seen

        once the eye poking starts, you want a professional manning that wall …

        an on-topically, maybe Obama was born in a manger on Krypton, or somthin

        the wingnuts ain’t gonna like Obama succeedin …

  3. BayStateLibrul says:

    MSNBC was reporting that the White House had received an unidentified
    package… was that your book?

    • emptywheel says:

      I honestly think it was me. It happened right after I got onto WH grounds.

      Though someone should tell them not to worry–I’m across town again.

      • freepatriot says:

        I honestly think it was me

        Marcy goes to Washington

        an Washington shits it’s pants ???

        we was at DefCon 3 for 18 hours

        yer gonna have to stop going to the Whitehouse

        yer scarin the shit outta the President, lady

        personally, I think they’re afraid of your blogger family too (that means us)

  4. hackworth1 says:

    Marcy, Are you now a member of the press? Do you have press credentials or a ‘press pass’? What are the machinizations of getting into a press briefing or whatever it was?

    • bobschacht says:

      Yeah, inquiring minds want to know. Does this mean you have to wear one of those fedoras so you can stick your press pass in the band? If so, please send pix (*g*)

      Bob in HI

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    Perhaps the White House did not want to anger a vengeful and vindictive DFH blogger with a national venue.

    Boxturtle (Marcy’s attendance may be the reason they didn’t allow questions afterward. )

    • MarkH says:

      C’mon, she’d just ask, “Mr. President, why are you so wonderful?” and that would be the end of bloggerdom.

      EW, what would you have asked?

      • emptywheel says:

        WHy none of the health care plans on the table will do a damn thing for the costs employers now pay, meaning we’re still not going to fix what makes employing people in the US competitively too expensive.

  6. Quicksand says:

    Saturn imports cars from Europe and Pontiac from Australia, so ditching those two nameplates will have some effect on the domestic/import ratio at the very least.

  7. BoxTurtle says:

    the wingnuts ain’t gonna like Obama succeedin …

    You’re right, but it’s way too early to declare success. The company still has to turn around and make a profit selling cars.

    Boxturtle (Chrysler(n): Hole in spacetime into which money is thrown)

    • TheraP says:

      I just read this caveat: He supports it, only if deemed legal by state govts and not the fed govt.

      What’s up with that?

      (makes us less safe if the feds do it?)

    • Petrocelli says:

      “… one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family.” – Chin-ee

      The Dick does not want marriage regulated at the Federal level because historically, it has been regulated at the State Level and you know, Chin-ee is all about precedent.

      He concludes, – “People ought to get a shot at that.” … I bet you do, Dick !

      Linky trouble … article is on main page of HuffPo right now.

      • STTPinOhio says:

        “… one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family.” – Chin-ee

        Good catch, Petro!

        I should’ve known a sharpie like you would highlight the most repulsive part of his quote — he speaks of having a gay daughter like it’s some disease to be managed.

        And don’t be fooled, if he didn’t have the gay in his family he’d be just like any other wingnut on the issue.

        • TheraP says:

          Living with teh gay!

          Can’t you see the christianist movie?

          “Our family has sought treatment from evangelicals and fundamentalists. We’ve visited faith healers, therapists, and even a guru. Nothing has changed.”

          • hackworth1 says:

            Our government could use a very hefty dose of treatment from fundies and evangelists. The viability of the Separation of Church and State and Freedom of (and from) Religion demands it.

            • TheraP says:

              Sounds like you can now anticipate the propaganda before it’s even spread! With a skill like this, you should soon be able to come up with the antidote and spread that before the propaganda breaks out. Please provide the antidote soon – before your comment – @ 42 – goes viral.

          • STTPinOhio says:

            Can’t you see the christianist movie?

            You mean, it’s not out yet?

            “Out”, hey that’s funny; isn’t that one of then there dubble enton-sumpthin’-or-the others?

        • Petrocelli says:

          Hey Dood ! How’ve you been ?

          With that remark, Chin-ee equated a gay family member to Plantar’s Wart or a sciatica problem “… something we’ve lived with for a long time.”

          I guess this means he loves Lizzie more …

          • STTPinOhio says:

            Hey Dood ! How’ve you been ?

            Fine, thanks.

            (Until the beat down in Orlando Saturday.)

            Just rounding up pop bottles so I can have enough to get a passport.

      • Petrocelli says:

        She wrote a book while having sex with a bunch of girls ?!!

        *smacks forehead*
        … so that’s my mistake, all I have on my lap is a stupid notebook !

      • MarkH says:

        If it always requires a person involvement with Conservatives, then it would take a long time to get those old white men to go out into the world. Maybe that’s why they brought so many people from all over to Gitmo — it saved them having to leave their cushy offices.

        Of course, their idea of ‘relating’ to those folks wasn’t kind…to say the least. Couldn’t they at least have offered tea with sugar-free cookies?

        “Can’t we all just get along?” — King

    • MarkH says:

      What’s the Onion gonna do now? It must be frustrating to have a headline ready to go and then it gets ruined when Cheney speaks.

      You don’t think the Repubs have eyes in the Onion offices do you? Man that would be really bizarre.

  8. wtlloyd says:

    Cheney supports gay marriage – it’s about containment. Keep it a states rights issue (which is a helpful position to take for other social issues as well) and let go for now those states who support it. It will be easier to attack on a state by state basis rather than on a national front. And it feeds well into rebuilding the party, for now. They know their base is giving up, and the moderates are outta here!

  9. puppethead says:

    Just to nitpick, shouldn’t it be Obama “going all in” with GM? One only doubles down in favorable situations, going all in is a final act when you’re out of options. The blogosphere has generally been abusing “doubling down”, it’s the new “under the bus”.

    • prostratedragon says:

      Bush started it in Iraq with the surge; he thought doubling down was the same as dragging his cojones out the fire. AIUI, what it really is is a strong play in blackjack.

      • freepatriot says:

        Bush started it in Iraq with the surge; he thought doubling down was the same as dragging his cojones out the fire. AIUI, what it really is is a strong play in blackjack

        we’re dealin with a bushite malapropism here, so understanding is nearly unpossible

        double down is an option in Blackjack, when the player has 10 or 11.

        the player doubles his wager, turns up his cards, and receives one card, face down. the player is agreeing to accept that one card, hoping he got an ace or a 10. he can not get another “hit”

        IMO, this looks more like “splitting aces”. If a player receives any pair, he can “split” the pair, and play two hands. The Player recieves one card to accompany the first card of the pair, face down, and the player can accept more “Hits” to make the total of the first hand 21, after the player decides to stay, or busts, on the first hand, the Player then receives another face down card to accompany the second card in the pair, and can play that hand the same as the first

        with regard to the two cards given face down, if the player receives a third to the pair, he can split that also, and play three hands, or even four hands

        In a single deck game of blackjack, my father once split a pair of sevens, got another seven, and then got the fourth seven on the second hand of the split. So he ended up playing four hands off of a single split. Nobody in the casino had seen that happen before. Even the Pit Boss was shaking his head. Pops won three hands, and lost one (for the detail oriented)

        given that information, I think Obama is splitting a pair of aces

        or he could be splitting a pair of deuces

        we won’t really know until the fat lady sings, or the dealer reveals his cards, this hand plays itself out or somtin (pick yer own metaphor if ya like)

        Obama has the chance to call for a new card or two, so he ain’t stuck in a “double Down” position at all

        • prostratedragon says:

          Thanks for the explanation.

          Granted that Obama seems to have won one hand (spell that 3 times fast), does he really get more than one more card in the other? After all, this GM thing is the one that had really better work.

          • MarkH says:

            There are no guarantees in life, only hopes dreams and our best efforts.
            Oh, and government-backed warranties!

        • MarkH says:

          So long as you don’t split a pair of jokers, double down and end up with a Royal Flush. That would be awkward to explain.

  10. siri says:

    (and they let me in!).

    jeeeeeeze!!! marcy if they don’t know who you are or at LEAST have some one who knows you or some face recognition by now, then they’re stupider than we thought.

  11. freepatriot says:

    btw, Pops taught me to play blackjack the same way he taught me everything else, using the “Mother-in-law” teaching method

    it involves constant harassment and pressure

    so we might have had more conversations with the pit boss than most people ever have

    (wink)

    • prostratedragon says:

      so we might have had more conversations with the pit boss than most people ever have

      You all with him, or he with you?

      Hope I understood your explanation above, i.e. suppose the splits play differently, with one winding up in a double-down?

      • freepatriot says:

        I’ll deal with that in two parts

        Hope I understood your explanation above, i.e. suppose the splits play differently, with one winding up in a double-down?

        if you split a pair of aces, and you get a 10 on one ace, I THINK you get the blackjack payout. And it is foolish to split a pair of 10s.

        If you split anything else and the down card makes your hand 10 or 11, I think you could double down on that hand. But the House makes the rules

        You all with him, or he with you?

        my father an my grandfather were similar in their constant bitching at me. Apparently, I needed a lot of “straightening out” as a child. These “corrections” continued into my early adulthood. At the blackjack table, the pit boss would try to interfere with the “straightening out” process. Then, the pit boss might need some “straightening out” too …

        when you’re getting tossed out of some fine establishment, they tend to pick the smallest and quietest member of the group to break the news, and my brother lived in Reno, so avoiding the casinos with these characters wasn’t an option

        when I say I been kicked out of better places than this, I usually mean it …

  12. chetnolian says:

    “As this plan takes effect, GM will start building a larger share of its cars here at home, including fuel-efficient cars. In fact, if all goes according to plan, the share of GM cars sold in the United States that are made here will actually grow for the first time in three decades.”

    Yup; it’s the math. GM just got rid of GM Europe (Opel and Vauxhall) to Magna and some obscure Russians, and is doing something awful with Saab. Don’t know about Holden – any Firepups or Wheelers in Oz?

  13. freepatriot says:

    one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family

    I can’t really sympathize with dick’s problem

    if I was given the choice between “asshole” or “gay” when my brother was born, he’d be the most flaming drag queen you ever seen

    instead, he’s just the biggest asshole you’ve ever seen …

    • BoxTurtle says:

      if I was given the choice between “asshole” or “gay” when my brother was born, he’d be the most flaming drag queen you ever seen

      instead, he’s just the biggest asshole you’ve ever seen

      Jeb, is that you?

      Boxturtle (Sorry, I’ll go back in my hole now)

  14. runfastandwin says:

    Finally – someone who knows what the term “double down” means! You double down form a position of strength, which President Obama clearly is in.

  15. pseudonymousinnc says:

    Saturn imports cars from Europe and Pontiac from Australia, so ditching those two nameplates will have some effect on the domestic/import ratio at the very least.

    From what I’ve seen, the captive imports of G8s and Astras are pretty small (in fact, tiny for the G8) so it’s not going to make a big difference. The Pontiac G3 Wave (5-door Kalos/Aveo) might make a bigger dent, but the main Daewoo-built import line (Aveo) isn’t going away any time soon.

  16. emptywheel says:

    Bomb threat over.

    Hey guys.

    I’m at a bar. Which I guess means the WH risk is over. Thanks to freep for restraining me from physical violence.

    • skdadl says:

      I’ll slurp to that.

      Just realized that the SASC hearing for McChrystal is tomorrow a.m., and I can’t watch (if it’s watchable). Drat. I’m really bothered by this nomination — he’s going to be commanding not just U.S. forces in Afghanistan but the whole of the NATO ISAF mission, which includes us. And his history in Iraq is JSOC and Camp Nama.

      Siun has a good post up about this right now. I am so disappointed in Senator Levin.

  17. bobschacht says:

    As an indication of what we’re up against, I have two “ideas” up at
    Open Government Dialogue:
    Investigate and prosecute war crimes, and Restore Human Rights. If you register at the site, you can “vote” on the “ideas” listed there (each “idea” has an essay of greatly varying length to explain it). But here’s an interesting feature: you can vote thumbs down, or thumbs up. My “Restore Human Rights” idea got 85 thumbs up, and 8 down, for a net of 77. But the “Investigate and prosecute war crimes” idea, while it got 97 thumbs up, got 26 thumbs down! Comments to my “idea” show the “thinking,” if one can call it that, behind the “thumbs down.” “blairsmomma” wrote,

    You people simply don’t get it do you? Terrorists are not covered under the geneva convention. They have NO rights!!!! They wear no uniforms, which means they don’t matter!!!! Stop feeling sorry for the murders of 9-11-01!!! Maybe you would feel different if you lost someone that day!! obama is headed down the same path bush took, so watch what you say, because he may someday be guilty of “war crimes!”

    We have some educating to do.

    Bob in HI

  18. bobschacht says:

    This just in! George (Tenet) did it!
    Well, that’s what Darth sez. Golly, he sez, who knew that Saddam really didn’t have anything to do with 9/11? We wuz just relying on what George told us! And it was Richard Clarke’s fault that we were blind-sided on 9/11!

    Glad we got all that straight, now. Cuz Rachel Maddow just told us Darth said so.

    Bob in HI

  19. RIRedinPA says:

    I’m an idiot so someone please fill me in. Chrysler going into bankruptcy, if only for a week is a good thing. As well GM?

    Look, as I’ve mentioned, I’m an idiot. Back in November, when the Bushies were throwing around the initial bailout Detroit plans I told my co-workers that the money the government was throwing at Detroit was a waste because, like the banks, if they didn’t change their core business practices to deal with the modern economy they would be bankrupt in six months regardless (June 2009).

    And come June 2009 both companies have filed for bankruptcy. I don’t posses an MBA, in fact, my first year of college after I got out of the Army I was an accounting major and squeaked out a measly 2.2 GPA before changing majors. So if someone with my business acumen could see this coming I would have to think, even in the Bush administration, someone would see it as well.

    My thoughts on this is that the Bush administration was just playing kick the can with the auto bailout. Get them through January and let the next guy deal with it. I think the Obama’s knew both these companies were failed enterprises but didn’t think the economy, Wall Street, my parents, etc. could deal with more bad news, kind of a straw and a camel’s back deal.

    It seems to me they decided to float Chrysler and GM till the spring, hoping the stimulus package would be perking the economy up somewhat. The gamble seems to be paying off, Wall Street numbers are up, retail sales seem to be glacially improving, unemployment is still a drag but we’re not hemorrhaging like we were, oil prices are up but we’re all use to our summer fleecing by the oil companies and OPEC and we just shrug it off as part of being American, and who isn’t optimistic when flowers are blooming and baby birds tweeting.

    Perfect time to roll these two pigs over. Sure, GM an Chrysler will be back, albeit different companies, but a lot of workers are going to be permanently out of jobs and a lot of suppliers might not be able to make it through a restructuring period.

    I guess the larger question is whether the amount of money we pumped into these two companies was worth it to have them go under in the Spring instead of the Fall.

    • emptywheel says:

      BK as the Bob Corkers of the world would have had it would have been with no government support, and therefore no debtor in possession funding, and therefore would have been liquidation, at least for Chrysler.

      BK here is reorganization to eliminate the competitive disadvantages that the Big 2.5 have been fighting for years. Whether you acknowledge the changes taht GM has already made or not (I agree that Chrysler was a dog), the reasons for the continued difficulties (and inability to explain to people that their product has gotten better) are largely those competitive disadvantages. And boneheaded management, though GM at least has/had turned that largely around too.

    • freepatriot says:

      dude, you ain’t no idiot

      that’s my gig around here

      an if you keep writin well thought out comments that make several relevant points, yer gonna screw up my gig

      if yer gonna claim to be a member of the idgit chorus around here, stop writin such smart posts

      (wink)

      this is a REALLY GOOD question to ask the brainiacs here:

      I guess the larger question is whether the amount of money we pumped into these two companies was worth it to have them go under in the Spring instead of the Fall.

      let’s try an find an answer

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