Rachel Maddow Exposes Corker (R)’s Attempt to Kill US Auto Industry
Remember the Republicans filibustering the auto bailout, demanding that the workers receive less money or they would vote no on the bailout? Those same Republicans are showing up to auto plants to take part in the celebration, essentially taking credit for a stimulus and auto bailout they are simultaneously campaigning against and did indeed vote against.
Last night, Rachel Maddow applied her razor-like intellect to expose the inherent hypocrisy in the modern GOP, hiding beneath a thin veneer of cowardly double-talk. One of her examples was Bob Corker, R-TN. Bob Corker fought to kill the US auto industry. He fought so hard that he filibustered the auto bailout, holding it hostage until he could be promised that the auto workers would be paid less.
Not because he thinks they are overpaid, but because he represents a state littered with foreign auto companies who pay their workers less and aren’t unionized. Corker wanted to make sure the employers in his state would not be forced to raise their pay. So this wasn’t an authentic debate about negotiating with the UAW, as it was framed; it was a craven attempt to feed the foreign auto companies in his district.
And then, when the US auto industry makes a small recovery, when the UAW union workers celebrate this, he shows up to take credit for it. Note that Bob voted No on the auto bailout.
Naturally he was not greeted warmly by the UAW workers, and one woman shouted out, “Go home!” to the Senator, who didn’t have the good grace to be shamed. Mind you, these same Republicans are waving their USA flags and claiming they stand for American jobs, small businesses and the middle class while they are busy saving foreign auto companies profits in order to benefit their state. USA! USA! USA!
Here’s the video courtesy of The Rachel Maddow Show:
First Maddow outlined Sen. Corker’s position against helping the auto industry, “Senator Corker was put forward as the guy who would negotiate for the Republican side during the debate over how and even whether to save the American automobile industry late in 2008. We still have a car industry in this country, and that‘s in large part because when it was going to disappear the government decided to extend what amounted to a bridge loan to the industry. When the plan for bailing out the auto industry was being formulated, Senator Corker, again, negotiating for the Republicans, argued if we were going to save the American car industry, the bailout of the industry should be used as an opportunity to lower the wages of American workers.”
She then explained how Corker wanted to drive down the salaries of auto workers, “Senator Corker, of course, represents a state that is chockfull of foreign car companies that are not unionized here and already do pay their workers less. So Bob Corker wanted to make sure that the salaries of American workers employed by American car companies came down to the level being offered by nonunion foreign companies. And he wanted a firm date for those salaries to come down because that‘s the kind of American patriot Bob Corker is. That‘s how he wanted to use Washington leverage to reduce American wages.
When Bob Corker did not get what he wanted, when he didn‘t win a Washington imposed pay cut for American workers, he voted against saving the American car industry. He voted against even allowing the measure to come up for a vote on the Senate floor. He filibustered it.”
Maddow then hammered Corker for first trying to kill the auto industry, the later trying to take credit for saving it, “If Bob Corker couldn‘t cut American autoworkers pay, then Bob Corker wasn‘t going to support the continued existence of an American auto industry. That guy, I am not joking, on Friday went to a GM plant that was celebrating its ability to rehire 483 previously laid-off workers because of the bailout that Bob Corker voted against, after failing to get salary cuts for all its workers attached to it. Bob Corker went to that plant to take part in the celebration. How can you be the guy who tried to kill the bailout because you couldn‘t lower American wages enough and then show up at the celebration of the success of the bailout? You show up to claim credit for somebody else having saved the company despite your best efforts. What does it take to be that guy?”
In response to Corker’s claims that he helped save the auto industry, Maddow said, “Actually, no, you didn‘t, Senator Corker. Not you. We don‘t actually have to feel good about what you did during the debate over saving the auto industry because you voted to not save the auto industry. You voted no, because the industry was saved despite you. The industry was saved despite what you did. You were a speed bump that efforts to save the auto industry had to drive over to get where they were going. You were the problem, not the solution. You voted against America having car companies anymore. You voted no because you couldn‘t reduce Americans‘ wages enough. America has a car industry only because no one listened to Bob Corker, because Bob Corker lost when he tried to kill the industry. And now Bob Corker wants to celebrate the American car industry that he tried to kill. There is one silver lining here, though. If Senator Bob Corker is somehow incapable of feeling embarrassed about this, the workers at the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, tried to help him with that emotional problem. They tried their very best to make him feel embarrassed by doing some serious heckling when Bob Corker showed up at their plant, their plant that wouldn‘t exist if he‘d gotten his way.”
She concluded, “Apparently the nobody‘s fool auto workers whose job Bob Corker couldn‘t kill despite his best efforts would like Senator Corker to be embarrassed to be showing his face at their factory. Also that they‘d apparently like him to go home. A silver lining. We‘ll do a four-cylinder, eco-boost made in America silver lining.”
Now, if you are not from a state which has been negatively impacted by the faltering auto industry, if you haven’t felt the trickle-down effect of the death of the US auto industry, if you haven’t watched an entire state crumble at the knees of the failing US auto industry, maybe this won’t make you as mad as it makes me.
But I’ve seen it in Michigan, Senator Corker. I dare you to show your face in Michigan sir. I dare you to explain to the entire state why their houses are worth one third of what they were, why the unemployment figures are sky-rocketing to terrifying levels, and why the majority of the small businesses that fed off of the big business of the auto industry are now out of business.
I thought surely a Republican would grasp the trickle-down impact of the death of the US auto industry, seeing as they’ve been arguing about how important big business is “creating jobs”. It turns out that the auto bailout did save some jobs. The stimulus is working, albeit painfully slowly and certainly not enough for Michigan and other states that relied on the US auto industry.
Come to Michigan and explain how you were standing up for foreign auto companies in your state when you voted No to saving the US auto industry.
I dare you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to introduce Senator Bob Corker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go home, Corker!
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.