Debt runs deep, too

This commercial ran during the MLB All-Star game this evening:

So a car company which is only in existence now right now due to a massive government bailout funded by taxpayers, feels their product is so amazing that it deserves a blank check for any repairs.

That sounds about right.



Other car makers are making a mistake, too

Toyota is grovelling to Congress, and other car manufacturers are missing out on a big opportunity.

Google and Google News searches for Toyota predictably bring up plenty of ads.  On my screen, I see ads for Toyota itself, plus a few places where I can buy a Toyota, like CarMax.  The only other auto maker with an ad is Mazda.

Toyota has been in the news for weeks, which has led to a spike in search traffic.  Among these searchers are, likely, consumers curious about buying a new car, parents worried about their current, and other groups ripe to hear why they should look to trade in their Toyota for a Honda, Chevy, or Ford.  The nature of search ads would allow these competitors to send internet users directly to a page about safety, or to a Turn-in-your-Toyota program page.

As a part owner of GM by way of my American citizenship, I’d like someone to look into why we aren’t trying to sell more cars this way.

Quite an enemies list you’re building there…

Ever heard of  It’s an information site for prospective car customers.  As businesses looking for free publicity often do, they decided to publicly discuss something which was already making news, releasing an analysis of the Cash-for-Clunkers program that put the per-car cost to taxpayers at $24,000.

The dignified. measured response from the White House to mild criticism from an obscure consumer site?  A point-by-point analysis of the analysis… under the headline “Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers.”

If you’re scoring at home, Fox News is not an officially approved news organization and is where to buy your Mars rover.  And the White House doesn’t take kindly to made-up numbers… well, usually.

Lobbying the government on their own dime

The Washington Times’s Amanda Carpenter reports that GM is encouraging its remaining dealers to contact their Members of Congress.  The message: oppose legislation which would re-open dealerships which have closed as part of the bailout.

Obviously, anyone and everyone should have the right to write their Congressman; and in politics, nothing moves unless it’s pushed, so the idea that GM leadership was encouraging  its employees to contact elected leaders makes sense.   But GM isn’t just any big company, it’s a company that owes its current existence to the Obama Administration and an infusion of public money.

The bailout/sale of GM to the government this spring included the administration forcing out longtime CEO Rick Wagoner and replacing him with someone who promised to “learn about cars.” Perhaps it should not be surprising that an Obama-administration-owned GM has proved to be better at lobbying than making cars.

Dealergate: Obama’s First Scandal

A historic nomination to the Supreme Court is this week’s story; next week look for questions on “Dealergate.”  A preliminary review of the 789 Chrysler dealerships that were ordered to close has demonstrated that their owners overwhelmingly gave to Republican candidates in 2008 (about $450,000) – and the ones who gave to Democrats largely gave to John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign raised just $450 from the dealerships which are closing down.

Where did this story come from?  Not on CNN, or MSNBC, or even on Fox News – but from the blogosphere.  You may know them as the folks who are often derided by the established media for “not being real journalists.”

This story hasn’t really hit the mainstream news outlets yet, but it should soon.  A sample of nearly 800 business owners is as large or larger than samples taken for many opinion polls, which means the initial findings certainly warrant more research.

Having a group of 789 business owners who give to Republicans at a 90-95% clip who happen to have their businesses taken away by a Democrat-controlled government could be a mere statistical anomaly.  But it could be more.  Some questions I would like to see answered: What was the donor activity of for dealer owners that stayed open?  Where were the dealerships that are closing in relationship to the 2008 electoral map – and in relation to key 2010 races?

Aside from being the Obama Administration’s first major scandal, Dealergate offers  study in modern media.  The story was uncovered by citizen journalists – bloggers who did nothing more than examine public documents with fresh eyes and a criticical viewpoint likely unshared by their paid counterparts in the mainstream media.  Now it’s up to the media establishment to prove their worth by seizing upon an interesting lead and doing the research to determine what the full story is.