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February 15, 2009

Obama Abandons Car Czar Idea

Indecision, backtracking, waffling. After 26 days in office, these are the words that best describe the Obama Administration. Actually, given the serial flip-flops during the campaign and then again during the transition, I am certain that Obama's inability to make a decision, communicate it clearly, and then stick to it will be the hallmark of this presidency.

His latest victim is the Car Czar idea, which he told us was necessary to shepherd the ailing Big Two automakers along the rough road ahead.

The unexpected shift comes as G.M. and Chrysler race to complete broad restructuring plans they must file with the Treasury by Tuesday. The companies’ plans are required to show progress in cutting long-term costs as a condition for keeping their loans.

The administration official said the president was reserving for himself any decision on the viability of G.M. and Chrysler, both of which came close to bankruptcy before receiving federal aid two months ago.

The automakers had been expecting the appointment of a car czar to break the logjam of negotiations with the United Auto Workers over the finances of a retiree health care trust, and with bondholders about reducing the companies’ debt.

Their mistake was believing him. This president does not make promises he intends to keep. Instead of a car czar, which I admit was a dumb idea anyway, the Administration has hired the steel workers’ union's "in-house banker", Ron Bloom, as the senior adviser on the auto crisis. I expect that's going to turn out well.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:54 PM

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