The official Baggy Paragraphs reaction to last week’s pathetic comedy, with Detroit auto executives begging in Washington, D.C., for salvation:
Ricky Wagoner: Stop threatening us with disaster! Do you really think you’re that important? “If you don’t let us play, we’re going to mess up the sandbox!” What a disgrace! Big Bill Knudsen would puke on you. With whatever dignity you have left, proceed commensurately to your sorry fate.
Alan Mulally: You were right to say you wouldn’t do your job for a dollar a year. The federal government has a long history of accepting the labors of dollar-a-year men. Now, evidently, Congress thinks it’s a prerequisite.
Nancy Pelosi: As the new doyenne of Detroit, it must thrill you to say, “Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money.” (Speaker of the House steals line from Hollywood!) You just know it makes the ladies at the Bloomfield Hills Country Club quiver with jealous rage. They thought they ran things here. Your interloping is unwelcome. But aren’t you going to be shocked when the general populace ignores your inevitable decree to purchase the cars that you ordered to be built? “Now we politicians have finally designed vehicles to our own specifications, so you plebes should be buying them. What’s wrong? Are you not listening to me?”
Henry Waxman: At least John Dingell had a clue. California blue-sky technocrats never will. Here’s a tip: When your Congress-cars, your Mandate-mobiles accumulate unsold on the New New Deal Car Lot, tax breaks notwithstanding, you might consider an old Detroit trick as a retrofit: trim them with at least as much chrome as there is on your own dome.
Robert Bennett: One of the sorriest actors in this drama, lecturing on managerial virtue in your unctuous “Let me give you a priesthood blessing” way. Your claim to fame: “I learned all about good management from keeping Howard Hughes propped up on the toilet.” As one who has followed the Mormon aristocrat’s pyritic path, you’re living proof of Woody Allen’s maxim that 90 percent of life is just showing up. To proclaim that you drive a 1996 Oldsmobile perfectly evinces your high rank among the dullards. “How very humble I am!” The reason the Olds has lasted so long must be attributable to your heated garage at home in Shadwell Acres.
Debbie Stabenow: “Where do I sign up for grazing rights? I heard a big feed was on today for the auto industry.”
Carl Levin: “I wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and ask myself one question: ‘What can I do for the unions today?'”
Ron “Sticky Fingers” Gettelfinger: “Why, shucks, we cain’t move up them concessions on retirement benefits any futher. It’d be like enterin’ a mule in a hoss race.”
Joint Resolution of Congress (adopted unanimously in both chambers): “If there’s any single thing we abhor, it’s flying on a private jet. In fact, it’s right down there at the bottom of the list of desecrations, along with seducing a page, accepting a golf trip, or having a supporter undertake some renovations on our seven-thousand-square-foot ski cabin. That’s why, every weekend, we always fly coach when we go off to our fundraisers.”