Even before the automakers have had a chance to address Congress again, Senator Reid is already telling the press that there are not enough votes to give the auto industry any money from the $700 billion bailout.
Also, some "you can't make this up" reaction to the Chambliss victory in Georgia and will we ever really know the true winner of the Minnesota Senate race?
And, Plouffe writes a book and apparently $150,000 wasn't enough for Palin's RNC-funded wardrobe.
It's round two for the automakers in Congress today. But as the industry executives prepare their pitch, Senate Majority Leader Reid is already saying that the votes aren't there:
Imperiled automakers and their union worked feverishly Wednesday to sell a skeptical Congress on a $34 billion aid plan, promising labor concessions and restructuring. The Senate's Democratic leader said there still weren't enough votes to tap the $700 billion federal bailout fund to prop up the foundering Big Three.
So if there aren't enough votes to tap money from the federal bailout, what's next?
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday asking the central bank chief whether there was anything stopping him from using his considerable lending authority to help the automakers.
Yeah, right! Does anybody really think that is going to happen?
GM and Chrysler said they needed an immediate infusion of government cash to last until New Year's, and both said they could drag the entire industry down if they fail. Ford wants a $9 billion standby line of credit in case a competitor fails.
My guess is that nothing is going to happen until we actually have someone in charge again. Bush is clearly abdicating his responsibility in this whole crisis and Congress... well... I guess I don't have much faith that they will get anything done before Obama comes into office. Your predictions?
Meanwhile, the UAW is making more concessions, promising to end the "jobs bank" program. Rick Haglund, columnist for the Grand Rapids Press (MI) argues this may help persuade Congress:
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Wednesday the jobs bank was a relatively small cost for the automakers. But he acknowledged it was being used as a symbol of excess by some members of Congress to reject loans for the automakers.
"The jobs bank has become a sound bite that people use to beat us up," Gettelfinger said at a news conference in Detroit.
But in giving up the jobs bank, the UAW has taken away a key excuse for Congress to deny federal aid for Detroit.
The New York Times also claims this move is "critical" in the automakers' efforts to get federal assistance. But if the votes aren't there, will this make any difference?
The Estherville Daily News (IA) editorial board says Congress should proceed - but with caution - on the auto bailout:
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley recently said that most of the calls he receives in his office are opposed to the Detroit bailout. At the same time, he recognizes the fact that something needs to be done.
Grassley is right. If we lose Detroit, we lose more than cars. We lose the heart and soul of America's manufacturing capability. It was Detroit that was quick to turn around and retool during World War II and produce a B-17 bomber every hour.
Bloomberg News is reporting that Timothy Geithner is "seeking to push Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair out of office." Bair has been one of the only voices in the Bush administration pushing for direct aid to homeowners:
It isn't clear that Obama would ask Bair to step down. Such a move would be fraught with political risk for the new administration, especially on Capitol Hill, where Bair's campaign to rework mortgages for struggling homeowners has won respect from top lawmakers, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, his counterpart in the House.
According to Bloomberg, Geithner thinks Bair is not a team player.
With Geithner at the table, will Obama be more reluctant to change course? Will Peter Orszag at the Office of Management and Budget or Larry Summers at the White House National Economic Council, the other key economists named by Obama, be willing to challenge Geithner if they disagree with him?
It has often been said that in government, people are policy. When the people are holdovers, their policy needs extra scrutiny.
Ugh, you knew this headline was coming... Chambliss: Victory could be a model for the GOP, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Chambliss told reporters at this Cobb County campaign headquarters Wednesday morning that he believes his double-digit runoff win can be a “model” for Republicans in the next election cycle.
“This is the first election of 2010,” he said, as movers in the background were already carting out furniture and campaign volunteers prepared to head home.
Chambliss said the GOP must get back to the principles preached by Ronald Reagan if it is to win elections in the future. He said his win in the nationally watched election proves that voters still support the Reagan mantras of “smaller government, fiscal responsibility, more individual rights and lower taxes.”
Actually Chambliss, I don't think it proves that at all. It only proves that Georgia is still a pretty red state. Also, Chambliss thinks he can be the new star of the Republican party. Oh goodie, because I would so look forward to hearing more from him over the next six years...
And, for this morning's helping of "you can't make this sh!t up," an opinion piece posted on the Wall Street Journal argues that Chambliss' win is:
... a victory for civility and decency in politics.
I kid you not.
Charles Seife argues that, because of errors and missing ballots, there is no way to accurately determine the true winner of the Minnesota Senate Race:
Minnesota’s instruments for counting votes are simply too crude to determine the winner in a race this tight. This is not the state’s fault. In fact, Minnesota’s election laws, procedures and equipment are among the best in the country. The problem is that a voting system that is based on physically recounting chits of paper is inherently error-prone, and in a close election like this, the errors are too large for the process to determine a winner. Even though, at the end of the recount, it will seem as if one candidate has won by a hair, the outcome will really be a statistical tie.
Luckily, Minnesota’s electoral law has a provision for ties. After all the counting and recounting, if the vote is statistically tied, the state should invoke the section of the law that requires the victor to be chosen by lot. It’s hard to swallow, but the right way to end the senatorial race between Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken will be to flip a coin.
Have Democrats "hit their ceiling" in Northern Virginia? Tim Craig at the Washington Post examines the Democratic vote in NoVa:
If Democrats have maxed out this year in Northern Virginia, the GOP will have a road map for starting to chip away at Democratic margins, allowing Republicans to once again prevail in major statewide races.
But if this year's results in Northern Virginia are just a harbinger of ever-growing Democratic vote margins out of the area, hopes for a GOP comeback could be crushed for future conservative candidates.
Obama won 60% in Fairfax County and 72% in Arlington County and Alexandria. What do you think Virginians, can we do better than that?
The book has been tentatively titled, "The Audacity To Win," a reference to Obama's million-selling "The Audacity of Hope." Having helped manage one of the most sophisticated and highly praised campaigns ever, Plouffe plans not only an inside look at the Obama run but also advice for how to manage a large organization.
"Hopefully, there will be some lessons on how to put together a three-quarters of a billion dollar operation," Plouffe said Wednesday, adding that the book would be high on tactics, and low on gossip, with an inevitable critique of the rival campaigns.
Awww... low on gossip? No fun.
And, remember that whole $150,000 clothing story? Yeah, turns out it was more like $180,000. The RNC will be disclosing an additional $30,000 spent on "accessories" for Sarah Palin today. It's all going to charity, of course.
So what's on your mind this morning?