Thursday, December 18, 2008
Welcome to American-Detroit Motors
In the late '70s, all the struggling U.K. automotive manufacturers merged,
because bigger is better, right? Or at least, there's "too big to fail." Right?
CRYSTAL BALLS. What nobody wants to admit about the Obama/Democrat agenda for "Change" is that all its ideas and models are really quite old. The good news is that we have the opportunity to see the future they envision for us because it's already been tried, most often in the U.K. Commonwealth nations and in the European Union they want to impress on us as a superior approach to governance. There's no reason to think that old ideas are bad, of course, as long as they work. But do they? Well, let's take a look, beginning with the automotive industry, which is now teetering on the edge of one form or another of nationalization. It's been tried already. In Britain. The U.K. nationalized British Leyland to save all those jobs and a critical national industry. How did that go?
Bailouts are usually tried when a boat is sinking. You
can waste a lot of resources not saving a sinking boat.
Of course, Jeremy Clarkson is the real-life incarnation of House and a devout Anti-American, so it probably wouldn't have occurred to him that once you make an industrial enterprise a vassal of the government, there's no coming back. Selling off the diseased and tainted organizations which result is the best face you can put on a total loss. How total a loss was it? Clarkson's Top Gear show was more definitive about the failings of the BL vehicles themselves than he could bring himself to be about who slew the British motor industry.
The jocularity of the Top Gear team tends to obscure the sheer awfulness of the cars they're driving. For example, we once posted about a Top Gear show that was devoted completely to America bashing. Here's an excerpt:
The Top Gear trio journeyed from Miami to New Orleans in this hour-long English masturbatory fantasy of a show. They sought out the poorest sections of Miami in which to buy junk cars for less than $1000, and their only communications during the purchase process were with camera-happy pawns only too delighted to play to their prejudices about the prevalence of guns, violence, and murder in the American south. Clarkson described his own $800 purchase as a vehicle made when all American cars were "rubbish" and "put together by idiots." (Oddly, he seemed to regard it as a personal triumph when his totally trashed 19-year old Camaro still did 0-60 in 7.9 seconds on the racetrack.) Then they leaped into their cars and drove all the way to New Orleans without talking to anyone but one another....
[I]t's incredibly unlikely that any two-decade-old vehicles "put together" in the U.K. -- including, especially, Jaguars-- would have made the same trip without breaking down catastrophically before reaching New Orleans.
Now watch their event testing of the British Leyland junkers of the same age as the American cars they drove from Miami to New Orleans.
And this. Which is actually an extended riff on an old joke about the company that made the electrical parts for Brit cars that goes like this: "Why do the Brits drink their beer warm? Because Lucas makes refrigerators."
The really really good news is that when the Obama administration passes card check -- i.e., the end of private ballots in union elections -- even the transplant automakers in the United States like Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi will start building cars like the ones the Top Gear crew is cackling over above.
But they have that wry, detached Brit sense of humor that seems to enjoy being enslaved and chivvied by bureaucratic dimwits. It's part of their Old World charm. Do you think you can manage it? You better. Because getting as bad as the Brits and Europeans is the new mission of the Hope and Change crowd.