I can understand why conservative ying-yangs like Sarah Palin and that crazy lady at the McCain rally who said Obama was an Arab think we liberals hate America. We certainly hate a lot of American stuff, like Winnebagos and frozen pizza and pro wrestling, while liking a lot of foreign stuff like Volvos, Le Creuset bakeware and Yoga.
One thing lefties have always stayed away from are American-built vehicles. In my family of liberal Jews, owning an American car would have elicited an intervention (exception: my Grandpa Carl, who had a pathological attachment to Oldsmobiles. Perhaps the siren song of crushed velour...) I don't really understand why, anymore than I understand why Temecula and Roseville are seemingly populated only by enormous 4 X 4 pickup trucks. It's just what people do.
So if you are a conservative reading this, allow me to be predictable by hopping up and down with excitement at the thought of not one, not two, but all three of the US automakers going bankrupt by the end of 2009. Hopefully, the factories will be used for something productive and the autoworkers--among the last union jobs in America--will be employed in a different industry, hopefully making solar panels or wind turbines.
Why will I be so happy to see them go? Hey, I grew up watching Dukes of Hazard and the wife and I own (or are at least happily upside-down on) a Ford Focus, which is a pretty frigging good car for the money, if I say so myself. Also, my best pal Kenyon runs a most impressive site chronicling all things Chrysler Imperial. So I have a love for the heritage of Detroit Iron.
But since the mid-70s, the leadership of these companies has been so greedy, so stupid, so duplicitous--to the public, to their workers, to their shareholders--that those companies (pale shells of the companies that won WWII and invented tail fins and the muscle car) deserve to just die quiet, whimpering deaths.
They had their chances, dozens of them. The Clinton administration gave them billions to develop hybrids almost 15 years ago. Toyota and Honda did it--without government subsidy! Electric car? GM did it, then crushed them all when the State of California yielded to lobbyist pressure to end its zero-emissions mandate. Big 3's solution to global warming, the war in Iraq and the end of cheap oil? Lie to the public and bully and bribe the government to pretend there's no problem.
Well, guess what? Party's over. No more subsidies, no more bailouts, no more buyouts from suckered European companies. The end is near, dinosaurs. At 40, I'm used to the companies coming to the brink of death, then getting bailed out, only to return to their shitty ways after making one or two decent cars.
It will be a sign of the times, and maybe a wake-up call to Americans that things have changed, forever, and we're not going back.