No Love for Detroit

600-edsel

The NYT, in parallel with the AP’s Ben Evans, notices that the bailout fight more than anything has revealed the diminished political clout of GM, Ford and Chrysler. One problem is that Southern lawmakers care more about catering to the foreign makers who’ve set up shop in their states. Another is that Detroit has pissed off everyone on the left by stonewalling CAFE, pollution and climate-change regs. Bottom line, a bailout, when it happens, will be on terms dictated by the Obama administration and the Congressional leadership.

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Detroit Bailout

Some sort of bailout of the Big 3 carmarkers appears inevitable, most likely in the opening days of the Obama administration, for reasons Jonathan Cohn lays out at TNR. With even Obama himself telling 60 Minutes that the package needs to be conditioned on an industry restructuring, talk is turning to what Congress and the new president should demand. There are many skeptics, such as Matt Yglesias, but the bottom line is this is going to happen. Two million unemployed is not a number Congress can ignore. Less obviously, Detroit still has a hand in making a good number of the military’s ground vehicles and I don’t see Congress being happy with the idea of outsourcing that job to Toyota, Honda or Subaru.

The South Shall Fall Again

Kevin Drum believes the recent election blunted Southern influence in Washington:

For the first time since Reconstruction, the South will be almost completely shut out of national power. There are still a few liberal Southerners who belong to the Democratic Party, of course, but the reactionary, traditionalist South is, for the time being, nearly powerless. They will not control anything, their caucus is a discredited rump, and their influence will be negligible. There is no reason to fear them or to care what they think. Their power to filibuster, itself guttering and only barely alive following the 2008 election, will be all they have left.

It’s nowhere near that simple, given the GOP’s continued dominance in places like Texas and the upper Plains and Obama’s breakthroughs in Virginia and North Carolina.

Bail Out

Ross Douthat, in the wake of Monday’s House vote:

The most likely scenario, as of 3 PM this afternoon: The stock market continues to drop. Some version of the bailout passes in the next week. The American economy staggers into a recession, but passes through the storm without 1930s-style suffering; the Republican Party is not so fortunate. Even though most Americans claim to oppose the bailout [update: not anymore], the House GOP’s obstructionism is widely viewed as having worsened the economic situation; the fact that these are contradictory positions does not faze an electorate that wraps all of the country’s current troubles up, ties them with a bow, and lays them at the feet of the Bush-led GOP. John McCain loses by a landslide in November. The Democratic Party regains years or even decades worth of ground among the white working class, consolidates the Hispanic vote, and locks up a large chunk of highly-educated voters who might otherwise lean conservative. The muchdiscussed liberal realignment happens. And a politician running on a Ron Paul-style economic platform does very, very well in the GOP primaries of 2012.

The Dow dropped 777 points. Thanks, assholes. Main Street is getting antsy:

The United States Chamber of Commerce vowed to exert pressure, warning in a letter to members of Congress that it would keep track of who votes how. “Make no mistake,” the letter said. “When the aftermath of Congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen.”