Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hypocrites and sellouts

Following up on Andrew's earlier post, I'd like to echo Senator Barbara Boxer's sentiments and further explore the hypocrisy of Republican Senators from Southern states.

You see, for the past eight years we've all heard the same old white men from the South wax poetic about patriotism. Every time a defense appropriations bill has come up, or anytime President Bush needed votes to either start or continue his debacle in Iraq, the old boys club has stepped up, waved the flag, sung another chorus of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and paid homage to mom and apple pie.

But when the time comes to support American workers, these same politicians sell out to foreign interests. Here's one critic of the bailout.
Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee and a leading critic of the auto bailout proposal, said: “We’re hoping that the Democrats will continue to negotiate but I think we have reached a point that labor has got to give. If they want a bill they can get one.”
So why are Richard Shelby, and his colleague Jeff Sessions, such critics of the auto industry aid package? Here's one reason: Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama Inc., located in Huntsville.


Current Investment:
$537.4 million


TMMAL manufactures V8 and V6 engines for Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks and the Sequoia full-size sport utility vehicle.*

But wait, there's more. Senator Shelby and Senator Sessions have a few other reasons to sell out the American automotive industry and American workers.

Alabama is home to three Honda and Hyundai plants. And just across the state line in Georgia, a new Kia plant is set to open and will likely employ many Alabamans.

And Sessions sounds like a cheerleader Japanese automakers.

Honda and Hyundai, Sessions said, “are building steadily, and they are progressing steadily” even though they are being hurt by the economic downturn just like the Big Three U.S. automakers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

But Sessions said he visited the Honda plant in Alabama recently and the company is changing its assembly line from the fuel-hungry Odyssey minivan to the more efficient Accord sedan in response to the demand for more-efficient cars. “Those are the kinds of things a smart company does, so they are gaining market share,” he said.

Two other Southern Republican Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, also voted no. Not surprisingly, both Toyota and Nissan have set up camp in Mississippi.

Toyota is set to build its eighth North American manufacturing facility in Mississippi. The state beat off southern rivals Arkansas and Tennessee to win the investment.

The $1.3bn plant, on 1,700 acres in Blue Springs, near Tupelo, will create up to 2000 manufacturing jobs and produce an estimated 150,000 Highlander sport utility vehicles a year. Production is scheduled to begin in 2010.

Nissan already has a plant in Canton, Mississippi, employing 4000 people.

As for Georgia, both Republican Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson voted no. Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana also voted no.

So with the aid package failing to pass the Senate, what are the consequences of Southern Republicans selling out to Japanese interests? A not so merry Christmas for American workers.

General Motors Corp. said Friday it will temporarily close 20 factories across North America and make sweeping cuts to its vehicle production as it tries to adjust to dramatically weaker automobile demand.


Many plants will be shut down for the whole month of January, he said, and all told, the factories will be closed for 30 percent of the quarter.


The move affects most of GM's plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. During the shutdowns, employees will be temporarily laid off and receive a portion of their normal pay from the company. They can also apply for state unemployment benefits, Lee said. [emphasis mine]

So while Southern Republicans are busy sticking it to the UAW, they're ensuring the American economy stays in the tank by keeping unemployment rates up and that the burden on social services in the states remains high. After all, for Republicans, sticking it to the union is more important than the health of the American economy. With them, it's not about what's best for the country; ideology trumps everything. And that's why the Republican party is now largely a marginalized regional party.

So wear your lapel pin, wave the flag, and sing your same old songs, but don't call me unpatriotic when I don't support your idiotic foreign policy. At least I haven't sold out American workers to benefit foreign interests.

What was that slogan on the banners at the RNC, again? Oh yeah, "Country First." So much for that.


Blogger Rick said...

So that investment cost $603,000 per employee? WOW!

December 13, 2008 7:22 AM  
Blogger Sully said...

Keep clinging on to your pro-union, protectionist ways. You like to bash conservatives, but you would be surprised how much you and Pat Buchanan have in common. Its a globalized world.. catch up.

December 14, 2008 1:17 AM  

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