Saturday, December 13, 2008

Senate GOP Class Warriors Head For Hooverville

Countdown Friday:


Epic Bail: Our fifth story tonight, the end of an era, as we learn that Senate Republicans are now willing to kill GM, regardless of whether it's good for our country, in order to kill the union of GM's workers.

GOP: 'Action Alert - Auto Bailout'

Countdown has obtained a memo entitled "Action Alert - Auto Bailout," and sent Wednesday at 9:12am, to Senate Republicans. The names of the sender(s) and recipient(s) have been redacted in the copy Countdown obtained. The Los Angeles Times reported that it was circulated among Senate Republicans. The brief memo outlines internal political strategy on the bailout, including the view that defeating the bailout represents a "first shot against organized labor." Senate Republicans blocked passage of the bailout late Thursday night, over its insistence on an immediate union pay cut.


Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:12 AM


Subject: Action Alert -- Auto Bailout

Today at noon, Senators Ensign, Shelby, Coburn and DeMint will hold a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery. They would appreciate our support through messaging and attending the press conference, if possible. The message they want us to deliver is:

1. This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.

2. This rush to judgment is the same thing that happened with the TARP. Members did not have an opportunity to read or digest the legislation and therefore could not understand the consequences of it. We should not rush to pass this because Detroit says the sky is falling.

The sooner you can have press releases and documents like this in the hands of members and the press, the better. Please contact me if you need additional information. Again, the hardest thing for the democrats to do is get 60 votes. If we can hold the Republicans, we can beat this.

What’s good for the GOP is not good for GM

Dec. 12: Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter talks with MSNBC’s David Shuster about the effort by some Republican Senators to turn the issue of the auto bailout into a debate over organized labor:


"Herbert Hoover Time"

Robert L. Borosage, HuffPo:

In their last obstruction, "Dr. No" Mitch McConnell's Senate Republicans blocked a bridge loan for the auto companies, unwilling even to sustain them long enough for a new administration to sculpt a responsible response to their crisis.

What was the sticking point? It wasn't getting rid of the CEOs that drove the companies into the ditch. It wasn't forcing the creditors to cut their loans in exchange for stock, giving them a stake in the future. It wasn't accepting an auto czar to enforce the agreement and drive a transition to fuel efficient cars. That was agreed to. No, led by benighted Tennessee Senator Bob Corker -- known previously solely for his "call me" race bait campaign ad that helped him win election -- Republicans wanted to break the union, and punish the workers. [...]

For Republicans, the problem wasn't the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It wasn't wrong-headed management that was skewered when soaring gas prices wiped out their SUV cash cows. It wasn't the Wall Street dominated trade policies that sacrificed US manufacturing behind a high dollar that made it profitable to move plants and production abroad and aided foreign competitors. It wasn't the burdens of health care costs that make US manufacturers less competitive.

No, for the Republican Senators, the bailout was a chance for a little class warfare. Why should an autoworker make $50-60,000 a year, plus health care? The workers should accept half that and be happy. Autoworkers have agreed to wage givebacks and benefit cuts over the last years. They pledged even deeper cuts in relation to the agreement. But their sacrifices weren't great enough nor the cuts fast enough for Corker and the Republicans. [...]

Forget about the deepening recession. The Senate Republican position was essentially that the price of bailing out GM and Chrysler was to insure that the union was broken and the workers went bankrupt. [...]

There are defining moments in politics. Here Republicans defined themselves. They are not free market conservatives, for they were willing to do the bailout. They don't object to nationalizing the banks or micromanaging the auto industry on the fly. They are class warriors, willing to risk a worse global economic calamity in order to break a union, to force workers into bankruptcy. Herbert Hoover time. Let's not forget this last ignoble obstruction, committed just as the Senators went home for the holidays.

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