Republicans hand Bush a goodbye defeat on auto bailout

December 12, 2008

Republicans in Congress effectively said good riddance to President George W. Bush this week, handing their unpopular leader a last big defeat by rejecting a $14 billion auto industry bailout the White House negotiated with Democrats.
“No one cares what the White House thinks,” scoffed a senior Republican leadership aide.
With Democrat Barack Obama set to replace Bush as president on Jan. 20, the aide said: “There’s frustration among Republicans that Bush doesn’t have a feel for our positions, and relief that he’s leaving.”
With Bush at the head of the party the past eight years, the Republicans’ reputation for fiscal conservatism has been shredded by record federal deficits.
Republicans, seeking to restore that reputation, say market forces, not U.S. taxpayers, should decide the fate of the auto industry. They charge the bailout would be no more than a downpayment on failure.

 In addition, they argue automakers would be better off to reorganize under bankruptcy protection.

“I’m not surprised Republicans wouldn’t listen to Bush,” a Democratic aide said. “This really shows how weak the president is.”
“Republicans figured this was about their political skins and their political message,” the aide added. “But I don’t think they win anything out of this. They just put on a political show with people’s lives at stake.”
Bush further upset Republicans Friday when he yielded to mostly Democratic demands and signaled he was willing to provide aid to automakers through the $700 billion bailout he pushed through Congress to help Wall Street.
That rescue package generated plenty of voter backlash in the Nov. 4 election, particularly against Republicans.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who had a tougher time winning re-election than initially anticipated, seemed among those happy to see Bush go.
“Our members, in one way, are kind of relieved by the departure of an administration that became unpopular and made it very difficult for us to compete,” McConnell said shortly after the election.

The Republicans’ plight, it seems, is not so very different from that of the automakers': An unpopular model has made it difficult for them to compete.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Top: Reuters/Larry Downing (Bush at Texas A&M commencement ceremony Dec. 12) ; Bottom: Reuters/Rebecca Cook (United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, center, criticizes Republican handling of auto bailout negotiations during news conference in Detroit Dec. 12)


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People quit buying cars because we were gouged for gas this past year so our leaders could get rich off us. If everyone wants GM and the other companies to stay in business let the oil companies bail them out since they have so much of our money already.

Posted by Jaeger | Report as abusive

Republicans are pulling a smart trick…leave the mess for Obama and the Democrats…let them take all the heat for the wasted tax payers money when GM fails anyway.

Posted by old ewok | Report as abusive

Marc Dreier arrested in Canada for using a false business card
I do not believe the irony or that this is true, this is the law firm who represented me against these two people Fahs, Iskowitz my cpa of 27 years. I filed this in court by my lawyer dryer …I have been victim of ID theft and millions of dollars missing….and I found out Monday 5th of Dec. the partner of the law firm is in jail for false impersonation and for embezzling money from his client. This lawyer is representing me for the same crime that he is charged with. I am a victim in my belief of the same thing that can be viewed in public court documents and or contact me about my story. Part of the story is with Bank of America refused to turn over cancelled check, statements for three years. Under several subpoenas from the court still refuse to give me all of my documents and I am going to the court again in February to ask for my own copies from the bank. Public court documents available at: uments.html
or you can contact me directly at:
I only want the same consideration for justice as any other citizen,
Georges Marciano

Posted by Georges Marciano | Report as abusive

The US automakers should not be allowed to make an end run around the bankruptcy courts by begging from the Congress.

GM, Chrysler and Ford have shown for decades that they have a non-responsible management who are bereft of a long term strategy or design for building quality vehicles. UAW workers, who are paid exhorbitant, non-competitive wages & benefits, refuse to relinquish any of their over the top monies to make the manufacturers viable.

Our US bankruptcy courts will allow the UAW and the automakersto to restructure into a viable industry using the proven systems of these courts.

Such restructuring shouold not cost the US Taxpayer anything. And, in the end, if we are left only with Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, KIAs, BMWs and Mercedes, so what? Its called capitalism. Its the results of competition. Its what America is all about.

Posted by joebears | Report as abusive

The old republican mantra – blame the workers.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

I agree with the oil companies bailing out the auto industry. On my husbands’s company Ford work van are these words printed on the gas cap “Ford recomends BP gas”. Where the heck are all the “responsible, loyal” citizens who care about “for the people, by the people, of the people”? They just push their products at any expense. Never mind the greater good of society.
Annnnnd – as far as wages are concerned – we owned a burner/boiler business for years. Labor was always a smaller piece of the “overhead pie” chart. The car industry laborers accepting lower wages will not make that much of a difference on the final retail price. Lowering wages just puts us, the citizen (not the consummer), that much closer to slavery. And slavery would suit the moguls just fine. Lincoln delivered the slaves from the plantations – Obama will deliver the citizen slaves from the corporations.

Posted by Eloise Nyman | Report as abusive

yes great idea to bail out auto companies.then we should give people incentives to buy these cars against our taxes and put a quality tax on imported cars at a percentage of how much better than the us models.then eventually we can rename them as moscovich or lada.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive