[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] As Flint and Auburn Hills prepare to weigh in on the anti-bailout Republican field in the upcoming Michigan primary, it’s worth rethinking the political subtext of Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” Chrysler ad. To refresh: The ad piqued Republicans like Karl Rove because it appeared to implicitly endorse the 2008 and 2009 government bailouts that saved the company.
A plan for America’s greatest urban disaster
For much of the United States, Detroit has become shorthand for failure--not just because of the dilapidation of the town’s iconic industry, but because the entire metropolis seems like a dystopian disaster. It is the second-most-segregated metropolitan area in the country; the city’s population is 82 percent African American. No other American city has shed more people since 1950--Detroit is only half its former size.
A few weeks after the 2008 presidential election, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard got a call from an Obama transition aide frantic for advice on the collapsing auto industry. Gerard put his numbers guy on the call, a former investment banker named Ron Bloom, who proceeded to offer a detailed disquisition on the financial situations of GM and Chrysler. Unlike other experts the transition team had consulted, Bloom was refreshingly blunt about the companies’ prospects, which he deemed grim.
Announcing his auto industry plan yesterday, President Obama had this to say about a possible Chrysler-Fiat merger: Recently, Chrysler reached out and found what could be a potential partner -- the international car company Fiat, where the current management team has executed an impressive turnaround. Fiat is prepared to transfer its cutting-edge technology to Chrysler and, after working closely with my team, has committed to build -- building new fuel-efficient cars and engines right here in the United States. Which made me wonder: What's up with this Fiat turnaround of which the presiden
Apart from Austin Powers, there can be few British institutions as groovy right now as The Economist. Der Spiegel has hailed its "legendary influence." Vanity Fair has written that "the positions The Economist takes change the minds that matter." In Britain, the Sunday Telegraph has declared that "it is widely regarded as the smartest, most influential weekly magazine in the world." In America, it is regularly fawned on as a font of journalistic reason.