Finally, there is hope – and change – coming to General Motors. Under the leadership of President Barack Obama and washed through an administration-led bankruptcy proceeding, it will emerge for the first time in four decades as a lean, mean competitive automobile company. Despite Republican whining to the contrary, who would have thought that the UAW would ever have voluntarily agreed to reduce pension and labor costs?
The Republican Party, which ought to be named the Bond Holders' Party, showed where its real loyalties lie when it professed no concern for working Americans but showed the most compassionate conservatism for secured bond holders, fat cat hedge funds and the kind of speculators I thought disappeared after the crash of 1929.
What the Obama administration recognizes, and what his Republican critics simply don't understand, is what GM's real stakes were: not just American prestige, not just the financial solvency of thousands of suppliers and small businesses, but also the livelihood of many current and former working-class Americans, the very Reagan Democrats who Republicans once claimed to represent. It turns out that when push came to shove, Republicans stood with bondholders, not householders.
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This is not to say the Obama administration's handling of the looming bankruptcy has been perfect. The American people would certainly like to learn more not only about what the ultimate costs to the taxpayer will be but also more specifies about GM's plans to compete both at home and abroad. I am confident that these will come.
I find it odd that those now screaming about the "rule of law" were strangely silent during the long years of Bush's "coercive interrogations," that is to say torture. They were silent about Abu Ghraib, silent about Guantanamo, and their continuing silence screams louder about their GM credibility than anything else.
In his management of the financial crises, but especially his plans for GM, Obama has single handedly returned the Democratic Party to a status it was once thought to have lost – the party of the working man and woman. Republicans have attempted to cast Obama as just one more
Democratic elite. But Obama, by his action to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of working Americans, has proved that the charge is flat wrong. It is for this reason that comparisons between Obama and Franklin Roosevelt are not wrong.
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By his actions with General Motors, Obama will do for Republicans what FDR did for their grandfathers: He will save capitalism from its warmest defenders. The American economy that will emerge from the current crises will be leaner and far more competitive than the over leveraged fat cat hedge funded swindle ridden mess that he inherited from the Bush administration. It must be remembered that the foundations for American post-World War II prosperity were laid by FDR's New Deal in the 1930s. Historians will remember that Roosevelt faced some of the most bitter political opposition since the days of Abraham Lincoln. Likewise, Obama is in the process of laying the foundation of American prosperity through the rest of this young century. He too is facing bitter opposition. Obama, like other great predecessors, will not be deterred by this. In the end he will be known as much for how he craftily outfoxed his opponents, as well as the great projects he achieved.
Efforts to cast Obama as socialist, a radical and politically dangerous have all failed. Despite months of ceaseless attack by Republicans and their talking heads from the think tanks, Obama's popularity with the American people remains undiminished while the Republicans continue in disarray.
General Motors is but one product of President Obama's commitment to bring hope and change to the American people. So, I will end this column as I began. By changing General Motors through bankruptcy, he is bringing hope to American workers with the promise of a good product made for a good cost.
I propose adding to two words to the Obama mantra of hope and change: He delivers.