Bob Corker, After Begging for Auto BK, Wants Dealers Exempted

Wow. Even I am surprised at Bob Corker’s rank hypocrisy this time. After begging and begging and begging that America’s auto manufacturers be forced into bankruptcy last year–a process, after all, that allows companies to renegotiate all their contracts to make them more competitive–Bob Corker is now pushing to force those same manufacturers to not only honor the existing contracts they’ve got with dealers, but hold off on terminating them for 180 days.

 Chrysler and General Motors Corp would have to fully reimburse terminated dealerships and give them 180 days to wind down their operations under a proposal introduced on Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

"We filed this amendment to apply pressure on the automakers to keep their word to rejected dealerships and fully reimburse them for their inventories of vehicles and parts," said Tennessee Republican Bob Corker.

"We hope Chrysler and GM will take these appropriate actions and make this amendment unnecessary Corker said in a statement after introducing the measure.

Corker’s amendment would not permit judges in both automaker bankruptcies to approve government-funded debtor financing unless his terms are met.

Aside from the fact that this is probably mere posturing, at least in the case of Chrysler (because by the time this passed, it’d be too late, because the judge is going to finish this up next week), consider what this means. After having made sure that tens of thousands of working men and women will be out on the street overnight (not to mention the big number of supplier workers who will lose their jobs, too), after having made sure that the health care of hundreds of thousands of retirees is at risk, Bob Corker now wants his small businessmen friends to go through this process without losing out at all.

As I’ve said: what’s happening with dealers is tragic–for many of them, generations of life work is being ended almost overnight. But that’s no more or less tragic than the thousands of middle class workers losing their livelihood (and for many of them, that livelihood is a multi-generational thing, too). And Bob Corker was personally responsible for making sure there wasn’t a more viable way to do this back in December.

48 replies
  1. JohnnyTable70 says:

    Corker and other Republicans should have listened last fall when rational Americans were warning that failure to bailout Detroit would have serious ripple effects on the economy. Corker was told that suppliers, sub contractors, and dealerships would be some of those businesses most effected by the bankruptcy of the Big Three, and the real trickle down of economic hardship would harm dinners, coffee shops, grocery stores, retailers, landlord and other property owners hurt by declining real estate values (hello Flint, MI).

    Yet Corker clung to the stupid self interest in preserving Tennessee’s foreign (except Saturn) car cottage industry. Now that he failed to do something and some of his wealthy dealership buddies won’t be able to cut checks for Corker 2012 reelection, panic mode sinks in. Cry us more crocodile tears BC because your Johnny Come Lately “empathy” for your friends is your responsibility. Take some ownership of your absurd cheering for bankruptcy and STFU.

  2. oldnslow says:

    I think it is far worse for domestic manufacturing than has been discussed to date. The car companies funded a huge amount of research in tooling, production methodology and the like which helped drive productivity gains throughout the manufacturing base. Without the car companies funding and driving research for constant improvement our entire domestic manufacturing base is severely compromised.

    Thanks for this post Marcy. Your strong and relentless voice for the blue collars is much appreciated.

    • rapt says:

      “…far worse for domestic manufacturing…”

      There are thousands of small manufacturers who rely on the domestic auto industry for their bread and butter. They are required to bid the jobs at barely above their cost, or even below cost to get the work; the buyers set prices.

      So naturally these small manuf cos use the automotive cash flow to work into more lucrative lines to whatever extent that is possible. Sound like the American Dream? For the past ten years or so, a lot of this sub work has gone offshore, as Asian companies have gained skills required to produce stampings, plastic parts, etc. and the necessary tooling. This is a large and less visible part of our offshore job/money flow.

      It has been said before of course, but this trend is toward leveling (downward for us) the “standard of living” of the working class world wide. Leading me to believe that our dog-eat-dog capitalist model will inevitably be modified before too long. I mean borrowing food and fuel for survival looks like a terminally limiting lifestyle to me.

      • oldnslow says:

        ..this trend is toward leveling (downward for us) the “standard of living”

        I worked for a time as a “fixer” of technical and quality problems for a good sized manufacturer of multi-system multi-function electro-mecanical assemblies for the simiconductor equipment industry. At the outset of the bush years the decline in revenue began in earnest. I am still in manufacturing but make less now than I did in 1990 and half of what I made 8 years ago. I’m not sure how much more leveling my family can take.

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    Msg for Corker: You dug this hole, now lie in it.

    Still, I have a certain amount of sympathy for his position. It seems only fair to me that the dealers be given a reasonable time to wind down their businesses. But at the end, it’s fire sale time and you get what you can for inventory.

    Boxturtle (I dislike agreeing with Corker, even in part)

    • JimWhite says:

      Msg for Corker: You dug this hole, now lie in it.

      Aw, c’mon. Corker already knows how and where to lie. He’s an expert.


    • gryphon says:

      it would have been good, boxturtle, to give the Unionized workers who are losing their jobs time to wind down their affairs, too, but that wasn’t a priority. I have little sympathy for a multi-millionaire car dealer (there are no poor dealers, just some less rich ones) who has lost his cash cow after supporting Republican economic lunacy for 2 generations. Cry me a freakin’ river. They got the Government they paid for.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I agree completely. But for every millionaire dealer, there’s a dozen or so mechanics, a similar number of salesmen and support staff and such.

        Boxturtle (one person getting screwed does not justify screwing another)

  4. plunger says:

    I’ve known that the end of GM was coming for several years. Car dealers who sold their dealerships to the last greater fool within the past few years were rewarded for their acknowledgment of reality. Those who bought at the top, just like those who bought real estate at the top (or practiced the “buy & hold forever” theory of capitalism) have lost everything.

    That’s the nature of capitalism. It involves both reward AND risk. Get it wrong – you lose. Tough shit. Just because every politician has such a deep kinship with Used Car Salesman (picture Newt Gingrich, for example), doesn’t mean they deserve any more financial assistance than any other business owner in this country. They’re not rocket scientists, they’re car salesman.

    When California runs completely out of money in the next two weeks, then what? Auto dealers’ welfare will be the least of our concerns when anarchy reaches our shores.

    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Aside from the fact that this is probably mere posturing…

    Too much ‘mere’ posturing by the political class in this nation has become too damn expensive.

    Here’s hoping that new communications tools can broaden the conversation and put a lot more focus on a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y.

    The sooner, the better.

  6. emptywheel says:


    I agree with you that one economic tragedy does not justify another.

    But one of the reasons the posturing on dealers pisses me off so much is it’s a sort of NIMBYism. Dealers matter to Congressmen because dealers are everywhere. And, of course, dealers are bigger donors than even manufacturers and definitely the UAW.

    So I insist on drawing attention to the hypocrisy and frankly the unequal treatment that one can get from influence in this country. If everyone were even just seeing what the autoworkers have been going through, we’d be having a different conversation. And now that people might see the outcome of this decline, they want hte govt to pay to make it go away–for just the localized, powerful ones.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      So I insist on drawing attention to the hypocrisy and frankly the unequal treatment that one can get from influence in this country

      Well, that’s what we pay you for!

      Boxturtle (Just remember, when MSM comes looking to hire, we gotta contract!)

  7. JohnJ says:

    The (surprisingly healthy) company I work for is on the hook for $7M for one of those now chapter 11 suppliers.

    I’ll bet our Michigan location is now going to close.

  8. oldtree says:

    shorter corks; Judges should be able to cram down anything as it relates to my contributors, and screw anyone else. Don’t you understand how the game works? Bankruptcy is relative to how much money you give me.

  9. foothillsmike says:

    Corker et al want to jump up and down about the government running business but lets have the government run how the car cos. go thru bankruptcy.

  10. BayStateLibrul says:

    If you had invested in Penske Automative Group (PAG), three months ago you would have tripled your money.
    Old Penske knows value, I’m thinking…

  11. oldtree says:

    Am I confused. GM won’t be manufacturing any more Saturn products, and this guy just bought the rights to what no longer will be made. That does seem like a contradiction to “smart”

  12. timbo says:

    Look at the bright side–at least the used hypocrisy dealships have seen an uptick in sales.

  13. Mary says:

    OT – Obama’s current head of FBI counterterrorism and pick to head up DHS is withdrawing after reports that COllins office is looking into his torture ties.…..=105032726

    Kit Bond was suddenly interest in torture as well…..QD98KN6201

    I guess one bright note is that those in OBama’s entourage who return with yens for falafel won’t find themselves on a Mudd inspired terrorist list.…..e-is-mudd/

  14. fatster says:

    Oops! Mary beat me to it, but I’m going to post this anyway because EW gets some well-deserved credit (click on “Indicates” in the 3rd paragraph below]!

    DHS intel nominee to be withdrawn
    Fri, 06/05/2009 – 3:39pm

    “The anticipated withdrawal of the nomination of Philip Mudd, a veteran CIA analyst who had worked in recent years as a senior executive at the FBI, comes after an AP report yesterday that said Mudd had had “direct knowledge” of the Bush-era harsh interrogation program while serving in a senior analytical role at the CIA.

    “. . . Mudd started working on terrorism matters back in the 1980s and had extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern terrorism related issued developed as a former analyst in the Near East and South Asian sections of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence. “He rode through the analytical ranks and knew something on this stuff,” the former CIA official said.

    “Mudd worked for several years in the CIA Counter Terrorism Center, serving as its deputy director from 2003 until 2005. Recently released Justice Department memos show that the CIA first used waterboarding on an Al Qaeda terrorism suspect in August 2002. One memo indicates that detainee Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding 83 times in August 2002, and another detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was waterboarded 183 times in March, 2003.”

  15. klynn says:

    Oh Marcy, Corker’s so transparent and SO slow.We brought this to his attention (and Bohner’s) in December and suggested he shut his trap and look at the long term picture… His short-sighted anti-union views will follow him to the grave and hopefully out of the halls of Congress.

    • dosido says:

      I was just thinking of the ol’ corker when some fox idiot was going on about VW being fascist cars and what.ever! I wonder if manufacturing BMWs and other foreign cars in the South makes them fascist.

      The wingnuts sure love to fling poo.

  16. eCAHNomics says:

    Corker has the second worse voice in the senate (Collins is #1 imo). I’d rather listen to fingernails on blackboard.

    • dosido says:

      Thanks to the Stephanie Miller show, I can’t help but think of Alice Ghostley now when I hear Collins. lol.

      Liarman is pretty bad too. ugh.

      • SouthernDragon says:

        We haven’t heard much from Short Ride lately. Be thankful for small favours.

          • dosido says:

            He is a useful piece of litmus paper.

            Whenever I hear his voice I feel I have to run to the bathroom, because someone has to do it.

        • PJEvans says:

          He’s apparently been playing footsie with Graham on an amendment to an appropriation bill. According to KagroX, either the IMF gets funding (and the conservatives vote against the bill) or the FOIA is amended (by Liarman and Graham-cracker) to prevent the release of those photos (and the liberals vote against the bill).

  17. eCAHNomics says:

    Short Corkhead: What’s good for TN is good for America. I’ll tell you what it is, and then you do it.

  18. fatster says:

    Appeals court clears Chrysler exit from bankruptcy

    “A US appeals court Friday cleared the way for Chrysler to exit bankruptcy under an alliance with Italy’s Fiat, dismissing a challenge from Indiana’s state pension funds.”…..52009.html

    • bmaz says:

      I’m taking a poll: Anybody ever seen a business bankruptcy go that fast through judgment in the district level BK court through appeal and certification by the freaking Circuit Court of Appeals? Any business in any District/CCA?

      Kassy @41 – They do have very long noses.

  19. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Bob Corker (R. Nissan), true to his word, is giving Tennessee what it asked (paid) for. Too long Southerns have voted against their own financial interests because they were distracted by a snake oil salesman who convinced them to vote for their “family values”. Bob’s family won’t be in them, but bread lines will be forming soon.

  20. fatster says:

    O/T, or as Dan Hicks says, How can we miss you if you won’t go away? And how can we expect them to go away if they keep getting hired in DC?

    Fed Intends to Hire Lobbyist in Campaign to Buttress Its Image
    By Robert Schmidt

    June 5 (Bloomberg) — “The Federal Reserve intends to hire a veteran lobbyist as it seeks to counter skepticism in Congress about the central bank’s growing power over the U.S. financial system, people familiar with the matter said.

    “Linda Robertson currently handles government, community and public affairs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and headed the Washington lobbying office of Enron Corp., the energy trading company that collapsed in 2002 after an accounting scandal. She was also an adviser to all three of the Clinton administration’s Treasury secretaries.”…..8;refer=us

  21. skdadl says:

    OT: NYT: U.S. may permit 9/11 guilty pleas in capital cases.

    The Guardian is also carrying the story under breaking news.

    If Obama takes this way out, it will be a historic and historical tragedy, imho. It may play well with those 90 senators who caved in to the xenophobia and paranoia of the far right last month, but it’s an understatement to say, as professor Glazier does there, that “it’s going to lack international credibility.”

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