What weirdness is afoot at the White House these days — or more importantly, what's Tony Snow smoking? David Shepardson's article in today's Detroit News included a sidebar with a quote from the White House press flack that we're struggling to comprehend. Snowball said:
"One of the things that's really hit Michigan hard, for instance, at Ford, are defined benefit plans that were bankrupting the company...I mean, I know this personally because people very close to me are now having to make the decision that the pensions that have been promised to them are not going to be available and they're going to have to take a cash payout."
Ok, so we've got a couple of questions...
...about his comment. First, does he mean to say that FoMoCo's going bankrupt as we speak? Because if they're not, it's not normally a wise idea for the press secretary for the President of the United States to be indicating a large US company is (or even was) imminently in danger of such a thing. Second, is he trying to say that people at Ford are telling employees of the company to take the buyouts because FoMoCo plans on defaulting on their pensions? Again, if they're not — it's probably not the wisest course of action, blah, blah, blah. Third, Tony Snow knows people at Ford?
Lastly, I don't think that's the entire reason FoMoCo — or any US automaker — is having problems. But of course, Tony'd have a better idea of what's going on in Dearborn if his boss were to take the time to meet with US automakers. Oh wait, we forget, he said he would, but he also said he'd hate to politicize a meeting with the General, FoMoCo and the German-American hybrid — they are some of the nation's biggest employers, you know, and he would never want to play political games with them. Must be why the White House also said they'd make sure to schedule it right after the election — because using an election as the determination of when you're scheduling a meeting — that doesn't politicize anything, right?
Bush To Automakers: "Yes, I'll Meet With You...After The Election...I Swear!"; Dan Howes: "Top GOP Leaders To Big Three: Drop Dead"; George W Bush: Bad For Cars, Good For Motorcycles [internal]