In some respects, getting canned is exactly what Wagoner deserved. But, not for poor performance at GM. Rather, for his failure to speak “truth to power” last year. Truth to power, when it really counted. Not, the some childish stunt by some crackpot liberal to embarrass a conservative politician; knowing that, for such rudeness, a well deserved punch in the face will not be forthcoming because of a raucous fourth estate.
And, Wagoner was in a position to do exactly that. I would guess that whether Wagoner ever holds another job, he has accumulated enough wealth to more than comfortably support a sumptuous lifestyle. With that economic underpinning, Wagoner was in a relatively invulnerable position to tell and tell off the solons of congress what the real problems for GM were. Moreover, to tell Congress that many of these problems were made in Washington.
Wagoner could have told Congress that GM’s problems stemmed from running a company for the purposes of de facto social security and medicare programs for the benefit of the UAW. It also happens to make cars. He could have told Congress that the CAFE standards were in place to preserve UAW jobs by forcing the manufacture of money-losing econoboxes, that no one wanted, in the US. He could have told Congress that the CAFE standard business model was predicated on healthy sales of trucks, large cars and SUV’s to generate enough profit to offset the losses on the small cars. He could have told Congress that anthromorphic global warming was a fraud, and a poor excuse for an economy killing tax called cap-and-trade. He could have told Congress there was plentiful energy if bans on drilling off America’s coast lines and in ANWR were lifted. If bans on shale oil extraction were abandoned.
Then, Wagoner could have spoken truth to his power and realized that he need to take the bull by the horns and taken GM to bankruptcy court.
But, Wagoner, being the good crony capitalist, played court jester and prostrated himself before the grandees of Congress and played to the fiction that these hypocritical blowhards actually knew something about running a business and about manufacturing cars.
The jester act was ridiculous. He flew coach to the Washington hearing when it became known that he flew a corporate jet to the first hearing. Never mind that jet junkets member of Congress avail themselves. Or, never mind the veritable darkening of the skies with Hollywood’s private jets coming in for the Obama inaugural. Never mind, that Wagoner, as CEO of an enterprise as large as GM owes his shareholders the most efficient use of his time; hence private jets.
Then the little joyride in the Chevy Volt with prominent members of Congress. As if. As if people with the power and clout of Senator Levin or Dodd are going to ever park their fat behinds in an overpriced econobox that will ultimately join the Trabant on the ash heap of automotive history. Come on, a car that gets 40 miles between recharges. And costs 40 grand.
So, what did these prostrations get? What did all the congressional butt kissing do (other than Barney loving it, euuu)? Just another Obama signature throwing under the bus. Nothing personal, Rick, just business, we needed someone to sacrifice on the altar of populism. Just like those AIG employees.
The irony is that Wagoner actually has done a yeoman’s job in pulling GM back from the brink. I very much suspect that even in bankruptcy court, any judge would have recognized Wagoner’s talents and work and probably kept him on for the restructuring. In the arena of making cars, Wagoner was a star. His failing was not really his. Rather, it was coming up against problems and obstacles made in Washington; a UAW protected by CAFE standards, energy policies designed to jack up the price of gas. Bankruptcy would have laid bare all of this Washington stupidity.
At least in bankruptcy court, Wagoner could have gone with his pride intact, knowing that managed GM with an honest appraisal of the realities that faced GM.
Others have remarked on the gross inappropriateness of Obama giving the commencement speech at Notre Dame. Here we have the most prominent and, in the eye of the American public, the most recognized Catholic institution in America showcasing the most pro-abortion, anti-life politician that’s come down the pike. I would hazard that Norte Dame, as a Catholic institution, is more recognized as such than the Pope.
What ND President, The Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., a fully ordained priest of the Catholic Church, has given the most pro-abortion president ever a forum at the most premiere American Catholic institution. And, with this forum, ND will hand Obama a Catholic imprimatur to speak out on moral issues, including abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research and birth control. As pointed out by on either the American Spectator or Hugh Hewitt’s web site (I can’t exactly remember where) Obama, will now, on such occasions, use the cudgel of the antecedent phrase, “as I said at my speech at Notre Dame.”
But, there’s a deeper undercurrent here. It’s been my impression that the American Catholic hierarchy has been in bed with the Democratic Party for a long time. There’s an affinity that is probably only rivaled by the MSM. And, what we’ve seen is a glossing over of the inconvenient subject of abortion; “social justice” in the form of high taxes and entitlement spending being a so much greater priority.
I remember the late Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” of life. This seamless garment turned out to be a litmus test consisting of a liberal wish list that included opposition to abortion. But, it also included the “social justice” song and dance, opposition to any reasonable defense policy, opposition to the death penalty, and so on. While on the face it did address a whole host of life and justice issues, it became, for a lot of liberal politicians a pass on abortion if you checked off on the rest of the agenda. All, with a knowing wink from a lot of Catholic prelates. And, that wasn’t to hard since this amounted to gutting defense policies and spending for uncontrolled entitlement spending. Opposition to the killing of unborn life wasn’t enough. To qualify for the Cardinal Bernardin club house, you had to buy the seamless garment; Democratic party style.
And, so, in the spirit (not Holy), of dialog, we have Notre Dame handing Obama a seamless garment to cover the ugliness of abortion on demand. An abortion stance so extreme, that it would outlaw conscience provisions and overturn restrictions on partial birth abortions. So now, Obama get his Catholic moral bona fides in the seamless garment club; publically bestowed by Notre Dame. It’s otherwise called an “honorary degree.”
The American Catholic leadership better start treading with care because it may one day find itself on the ash heap of religious history along with the other gutted mainstream Protestant denominations. As in the Episcopalian Catholic Church of America.
Once upon the time there were the Country Club Republicans. The monied old boy network of the right prep schools, ivy league universities followed by employment in the toniest of banks, brokerages and law firms. And, membership in the right country clubs. It could be pernicious since there were many practices of exclusion of those not WASP-ish enough from participation in the above venue. This was back when Protestant meant something more than a transitional state to some “higher” spritial enlightment such as Gaia or Islam. Even from the opportunity to buy a home in certain neighborhoods or communities was limited by “quota or point system dependent on your overall WASP bona fides. And, this is above and beyond discrimination pointed at blacks.
I remember my mother telling me about an aquaitance that couldn’t find a home in the Chicago north shore suburbs because her name was mistaken to be Jewish. I remember my childhood peditrician relating how lucky he was getting past the Jewish quota to get into medical school.
But, as pernicious as these things were, they were largely private sector affairs that had not the force of law (unlike Jim Crow) and, thanks to individual freedom, easily overcome within a generation or two. There arose all sorts of mutual self-help organizations. The founding of new medical schools and hospitals to specifically overcome such things as Jewish quotas. And, there was just opportunity to amass wealth that would simply drown out WASP enclaves of privilege by creating all sorts of parallel universes.
But, now there’s a new country club and its called socialism. What makes it particularly pernicious is that this has the force of law to enforce membership. Socialism is merely the social ossification of royalty; just covered in the thin veneer of egalitarianism. These country club Democrats are all very wealthy individuals, some so because of the unbroken prosperity of Reagan’s economic boom. But, they know that they made it by upsetting the status quo. In fact, every American fortune was made exactly that way. Moreover, every American fortune shares the common dominator of bringing to the common man what was once reserved for the wealthy and privileged. The bi-costal elite is populated with these types of individuals. People who made it big and now are supporting a party that is diametrically opposed to the concept of wealth creation.
But, these same said plutocrats, want to shut the door behind them now that they made it. Now that they rabble-roused their way to the top, they want to make sure that no one will do to them what they did to arrive at the top. They, the once icky Joe-the-Plumbers, want to insure that there will be no future Joe-the-Plumbers joining them at their tony country clubs.
What to do? Destroy the path that led them to success. Nancy Pelosi’s 90% AIG tax is indeed a stalking horse. This tax’s real purpose is to establish a method to cap economic attainment and success. She and her elites can determine what each American may ultimately possess and how high they may rise. And, hold the ability to determine who may so rise. Pelosi, and her fellow travelers in the House and Senate leadership, her fellow traveller in the Oval Office, are all already very wealthy individuals. There taxes scheme miraculously leave their wealth untouched. And, the captains of industry and finance, those who populate the Hamptons’ A-list social register are now seeing their firms bailed-out and their personal wealth largely untouched.
But, any young whippersnapper is going to have his attainments capped at $250,000. Or less. Because you can bet that the need for control will slowly but surely ratchet down that $250,000 because, in reality, Democratic reality, $250,000 is really too rich. And, in this manner, Country Club Socialism, we will have created a de jure system of social stratification that our Declaration of Independence overturned by rejecting the royalist paradigms Europe. It is not the irritation of the nanny state, but this social stratification and ossification that makes this the Europeanization of America pernicious.
Throughout the last ten to fifteen years, the executives that led these many financial, brokerage and banking firms on Wall Street, were a wholly owned subsisdery of the Democratic Party. Who actually ran the social networks in the politically correct swamps of the Hamptons? And, what did all of this butt-kissing buy? Another Obama-style throwing under the bus. The latest being the 90 percent tax on the AIG bonuses.
Maybe, at last, some of these oh-so avant-garde execuctives can now understand that when you’re in the business of creating wealth, you have a job that diametrically opposed to the role of government, which, in its Democratic-party form, is to skim wealth to buy votes. And, if all of these bribes over the years would tame the ravenous wolf that is the taxman, they hopefully now understand that the demand for these bribes will only grow.
The silver lining of this 90 percent tax is that it will chase away more private sector players. Hopefully, we may actually see some in the government realize that the real way out of this current economic downturn is through economic growth. And, that growth will only come from the private sector. More importantly, our oh so clever solons who now run the executive and legislative branches of our government may begin to appreciate that the private sector is to be respected and not regarded a flock of sheep to be fleeced to fund their personal whims and agendas. It may even come to pass that trendy conversation out in the Hamptons may even find such topics as rule of law, bill of attainder, ex post facto, and property rights as passing the politically correct muster.
Leadership involves, among other qualities, the ability to adapt to a variety of changing contiditions; sometimes radical and very rapid. Yet, Obama has yet to truly understand the nature of the conditions facing him. and, he’s refused to adapt to those changes.
Obama spent his life in the unprecedented prosperity of Reagan’s economic policies. Indeed, at least for his adult life, he has known no other. Like Obama, a huge proportion of the American population simply doesn’t know of real hardship since the last such era was in the Carter era of 1977 to 1981. When Obama started his quest for the White House some two years ago, he based his campaign on the then operative paradigm of nearly 30 years of essentially unbroken prosperity. Prosperity that for many Americans has been the only economic paradigm they’ve ever known.
Obama’s campaign game plan was to use the current discontent to get elected and then, in a socialist remake of America, “spread the wealth” by taking the economic gains of the last 30 years and distribute such to his friends and favored constituencies. Then, last September, the bottom fell out and the wealth that Obama was to redistribute vanished. Yet, true to his baby boomer roots, he tried to have it both ways–redistribute wealth that was no longer there and take on the task of economic recovery. (I didn’t say that was realistic.)
The issue now is that the economic crisis that guaranteed his election is the weather change that he, Obama, has not the executive or leadership experience to sense or appropriately adjust for these changes. Real leadership would have called for a immediate reordering of his priorities to delay the rest of his agenda to focus fully on the current economic crisis. Moreover, he had four months to plan and make those necessary changes to re-order his governing priorities with specific plans to address this economic downturn. But, Obama’s obsession with using this downturn as a vehicle to create America’s socialist makeover.
The real irony is that focusing and solving this economic downturn would have accrued such goodwill and political capital that his socialist agenda, in the long term, would have been a so much simpler sell. But, that necessary political capital is being destroyed faster than the plummeting dow averages. But, this precisely is the incompetence and inexperience of our commander in chief. He is so focused on socialist agenda that he has not the flexibility and foresight of a true leader, of real executive leadership, to modify his course of action. Nor, does he have the vision or creativity to use adversity as opportunities to achieving goals by alternate paths.
“We can’t drive our SUV’s and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”
The pillars that stood behind Obama at his Denver nomination acceptance speech were not evocative of ancient Athens, where the Athenian hoplites stood shoulder to shoulder in their phalanx to stop the maw of the Persian Empire at Marathon and Plataea. It is not evocative of the Roman Republic were Rome’s citizen-soldiers filled the ranks of Rome’s legions.
No, it is evocative of Imperial Rome. With Barack, divine Caesar , will dispense largess to the masses from the public treasury. It is evocative of Leni Riefenstahl.
The first is a quote given by Obama, on a campaign stop in May 19, 2008. In Oregon. This represents yet, perhaps more elegant, blame-America-first speech. SUV, eating and heating our homes, all wrapped up in the cloak of environmental correctness. Just three more examples of America’s baleful presence upon the earth.
But, this too was a real campaign promise. A promise to rein big bad America. It render America subservient to the rest of the “world.” To make sure that our domestic and foreign policies are “okay” with the rest of the world. Our national sovereignty will check in with some “world government,” some UN “consensus.” With Obama himself, who, by virtue of his high melanin content and third world name graces the Oval Office with this magical “world cred.”
Riding this economic crisis is an exercise to lower American expectations. To have American’s accept lessened hopes and dreams. To extinguish the concept of American exceptionalism. To prepare Americans to accept the new age of mediocrity and dependence (ht; William Katz, Urgent Agenda). Commentators continue to critique Obama’s economic plans as exactly the wrong prescription to restore prosperity. And, that’s exactly the point. This economic plan is to destroy the legacy of growth and hope for a better tomorrow; to replace that hope with the acceptance of a permanent second place. To accept that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must now subordinate to the will of “international” consensus.
Obama is a complete stranger to American exceptionalism. He spend the first ten years of his life in the third world with a upbringing in the Muslim ideology (not religion). An ideology that is a polar opposite to the defense of individual liberty; the centerpiece of Western Civilization. And, when Obama came back to the US, his mind was well prepared to accept the ranting of Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers and every chic Marxist professor that he ran into. Not America the great, but America the second place.
And, to arrive at that state, he needs to build an electoral coalition of 51 percent who will permanently accept second place. A 51 percent who will forever depend on the government to fill it’s needs and accept it largess as a birthright. A 51 percent who will exchange it’s real birthright, the one secured by the Bill of Rights, for a mess of pottage. A 51 percent who will look to the government for the proper cues on all manner of morals and attitudes.
And, above all, a 51 percent who will forever look upon the other 49 percent as permanent tax slaves. For, that productive 49 percent, the real water carriers (to use CNBC’s Santarelli’s terminology), are the new Kulaks who must have the fruits of their productivity expropriated for being the rapacious, productive louts that they truly are.
Mr. Obama’s Ivy League credentials indicate that the man has at least enough intelligence to at least understand the principles that undergird free market economics. Yet, he chooses to proceed in precisely the opposite direction and pursues spending policies that will leave a legacy that will beggar our grandchildren’s children. On purpose. He does to create a society that will permanently accept lowered expectations. To create an inverse, where the state defines the individual. Not, which is the source of our greatness, where the individual and his individual efforts define the state. His policies invite us to accept serfdom and build our huts next to the moat and castle of the state. To accept what ever pittance Obama and his acolytes will dispense in exchange for obedience to the diktats from his royal, heated to 72 degrees, court.
And, for that pittance you will accept Obama and his acolytes as your betters; your philosopher kings. Rules and laws are for other people. Boy-wonder Geithner doesn’t have to taxes. And, Obama, regardless that we bad Americans have to ask the “world” for permission to as to what to drive, eat and set our thermostats, will eat $100 per pound wagyu steak, drive around in a limousine based on a Chevy 2500 pick-up truck chassis and set the Oval Office thermostat to 72 degrees. Hypocrisy by our betters, is okay with Plato, in his Republic, since our betters, in engineering and directing our lives, are above the law.
And, so for the pittance of the cradle to grave socialism. For the beggaring of our children. For permanent diminution of our horizons and hopes, we shall worship at the altar of whatever fad or fancy our leaders deem important. The latest such fad is the false religion of environmentalism. We are to ignore the man behind the curtain and worship the great Oz, who tells us, despite real scientific evidence to the contrary, that “global warming” is threatening our planet. And, we will save the earth by “cap and trade.” The “green” agenda of “renewable” energy is actually a Luddite agenda. The first solar photovoltaic cell was invented in 1883. Wind power and windmills have been around since the middle ages.
The horseless carriage has been in existence for over a century. There have been battery cars and steam cars and all sorts of novel methods of propulsion. The Prius is nothing new; it’s fuel efficiency is more due to the fact it’s a small light car. A Ford Pinto, an AMC Gremlin, a Renault LeCar, updated to look good in front of a Starbucks. How radical, innovative, is a internal combustion engine mated to a generator? Every modern railroad locomotive uses a diesel engine to run a generator that powers motors to drive the locomotive forward. A diesel Prius on steel wheels.
The fact is that we burn hydrocarbons for transportation and electrical generation because it turns out to be the most efficient and most economical way to accomplish the task at hand. Yet, somehow, our all-knowing leaders, under the beneficent smile of our President, will find us a new, carbon-free solution known only to them; solutions that somehow eluded eluded the thousands upon thousands of engineers who ever worked in the automotive or power generation industries. But, of course, we lesser folks do not have the booby prize bauble from Stockholm like our new Energy Secretary (the Nobel Prize now places you in the company of Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat and Albert Gore).
But, no matter, our car czar will dictate the car we will drive, if we are deemed deserving to rate personal transportation and allowed to buy such a conveyance. But, second class will be acceptable so long as we get our allotments of free food, housing and health care. As long as we do not dare to aspire to a life or lifestyle that would exceed whatever would be “OK” with the rest of the world.