Richard Cohen Simply Doesn't Care For These Auto-Industry Bailouts

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When Richard Cohen was a child -- back in the good old days when people stoically died of everything, and our best days (The Beatles/Civil Rights) were still ahead, and there were bookstores filled not with these Blackberries, but real books, the kind a person could read without a telephone, or a pager, orsuch things -- his psychotic father would push him outside in the middle of the night, on a primitive bicycle (no Prius for him!), its basket loaded with the printed, rubber-banded stacks of wood-pulp produced by our nation's best newspaper publishers, a torrent of cold rain pounding upon the child's prematurely white hair, a deadly pothole concealed by a puddle of dirty street water, and then BLAM!, the morning's papers sinking to the bottom of the asphalt crater, the wood pulp thirstily soaking up the rain juice, the work of America's better journalists blurring into inky clouds of failure. The elder Cohen, snarling with rage, grabs little Richard and begins lashing him with whatever's at hand -- a garden hose, a dog leash, and finally, savagely, the bicycle chain. This is why GM should fail.


When I was around 12, I was a paperboy for the now-defunct Long Island Press. One Thursday, when the paper was heavy with shopping inserts, a storm hit, and my papers and I wound up in a puddle. My customers would not pay for a paper not delivered, and the Press insisted on billing for those I had received. The CFO of my company, a.k.a. my father, took one look at my books and pronounced me bankrupt. He would say the same thing about General Motors and Chrysler.

There. That is all you need to read of Richard Cohen's latest descent into senile rage and shame. His dad beat the shit out of him, for spilling some worthless papers from Long Island, so tens of thousands of American workers and hundreds of auto-parts suppliers should be cast aside, to die. Think about it.

This dreadful column was posted last night. We read it, and shook our heads, and walked away in mild bewilderment. Does Cohen intentionally avoid reading any actual news? What else can explain the column's attempt at a snappy, big-idea close which does nothing but prove he hasn't followed even the basic headlines of the past couple of days, about how the Federal Government -- which has been propping up these very troubled auto manufacturers for a year straight -- is seriously considering letting GM go into bankruptcy, with the much-mentioned comforting caveat that the government itself would honor car warranties if all else fails? Look:

Bankruptcy can save the industry.

Is there a downside? Sure. No one knows whether anyone will buy the cars of a bankrupt company. (The government could guarantee the warranties.) Will it further hurt the economy? Probably, but who really knows? But bankruptcy acknowledges a reality -- GM and Chrysler are broke. I wish them luck -- but no more of my money.

The government could guarantee the warranties! Oh Richard, you are not just America's finest Op-Ed Columnist, you are an economic genius and policy wonk of the highest caliber. Where's that Krugman? Let's kill him. That Nobel Prize belongs to you.

Jesus, even David Brooks managed to pick up on the Basic Headline News in his column on the same (?) subject, also posted last night.

Enough about missing the actual news you claim to be opining about -- Richard Cohen simply does not care for the 24/7 news cycle with its Kindles and telegraphs. Cohen's real point is about those awful people who work in the Auto Industry. Did you know that all of them have been conspiring against Richard Cohen (representing America) since basically the beginning of time? Those goddamned people, they should all be jobless and homeless:

We may not understand what AIG did -- what's a credit-default swap, anyway? -- but we sure as hell know what GM did: It made a lot of lousy cars. So did Ford and Chrysler. They made cars with utter contempt for the customer. The industry at one time even opposed seat belts and air bags, and it designed cars that were not safe. I know things have changed, but I remember. I remember.

Yes, Richard, you have nailed it! The American auto industry has always operated on a central tenet: "utter contempt for the customer." Henry Ford had it tattooed on his wife's back. Billy Durant actually wrote this phrase in the blood of his customers, on the walls of his Detroit palace. They hated America. They hated you.

Also: "We may not understand what AIG did -- what's a credit-default swap, anyway?" Oh man.

The wheels are off [Richard Cohen/Washington Post]

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