Monday, November 17, 2008
Blanchard: Been There
Of all the living former Michigan governors, Jim Blanchard still seems to be the most engaged. He's into everything and so it comes as no shocker that while the sitting governor is over in the Middle East on a job recruitment mission, Blanchard is back in Washington again working the halls of Congress to save the Big Three from the junk heap. "I'm doing everything I can to be helpful behind the scenes as a friend of the state," he reports while adding he is not on retainer to anyone. This is just Blanchard being Blanchard. And for him, it's back to the future. 29 years ago a wet behind the ears junior Congressman from Oakland County found himself in another bail out effort to save Chrysler. And the arguments against the federal aid back then sounds awfully familiar this time out. "Some of them want to punish the workers for bad decisions" made by the auto leaders, Blanchard reports. Others are telling him that obviously the bail out for Chrysler did not work cause here it is again asking for a handout. Blanchard rejects the faulty logic saying, "Think of how many jobs we saved in those 29 years." But logic does not appear to be the order of the day where the cross winds are blowing against the autos as some prefer to let anyone of them or all three of them go belly-up. Not if Blanchard as anything to say about it. He's talked with the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post. He says the Times is "convinced" something must be done and while the Post is "sympathetic," he senses a more negative tone over there. 29 years ago, Chrysler had the charismatic salesman Lee Iacocca to pitch the deal. If you can find a better bail out, buy it. That powerful figurehead is lacking right now as the industry leaders enter their most critical and historic week ever. Who knows what they'll look like when Friday rolls around. Blanchard ponders that, too.