Monday, June 8, 2009

Rush Limbaugh wants to boycott GM

This has to be the stupidest idea Rush Limbaugh - a very stupid man - has come up with in a long time. He wants his listeners to boycott GM, because he wants Obama's policies to fail.

The mind boggles. This is capitalism in its purest form. Limbaugh only wants Obama's policies to fail because that would make him, Rush Limbaugh, look good. This argument has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of ideological purity or even any kind of vague, tenuous connection to reality. It is strictly about what is in Rush Limbaugh's best interests.

This argument isn't even about what is in his listeners' best interests. As American taxpayers, they have an interest in GM succeeding, so they can get back the money that they have invested in GM. Many of them drive GM cars, and would presumably want to have a relatively easy time say, having their cars fixed. That would be much more difficult if GM fails. There are probably a number of Rush Limbaugh listeners who work for GM, are related to someone who does, or who live in a town dominated by a GM plant.

But Rush Limbaugh does not care about any of those people. He only cares about himself. Self-interest in its rawest form.

What is truly stupid is a headline from a Website driving this: "BOYCOTT OF GM PRODUCTS UNTIL PRIVATE OWNERSHIP IS RESTORED."

Seriously? Um, guys, I don't know if you've noticed, but if you successfully boycott GM products, then it will go bankrupt, and there will not be any private ownership of GM, because there will be no GM. This sounds like the logic of that commander in Vietnam: we had to destroy the village in order to save it.

The only way to restore GM to private ownership is to make it profitable, because then the government will sell it. Because the Obama administration wants to sell its GM stock at a profit. Like the good capitalists that they are.

This may be what is driving Rush Limbaugh and his friends completely off the deep end: Obama is trying to save a major capitalist institution. And he is trying to do it through capitalist means: imposing market discipline, for one thing, and making hard but necessary choices about resource allocation, for another. So far, Obama is a better capitalist than anyone who has been chairman of GM for decades. The Obama administration is cutting dealerships and brands. That is called "making tough decisions." It's what great CEOs and other leaders are supposed to be good at. But which, alas, Rick Wagoner and his predecessors were not all that good at. People in Detroit have known for years that GM had too many brands and too many dealerships. Among other problems. But no one CEO was powerful enough to kill off the unwanted brands or dealers. It took a POTUS to do that. But he did it.

Keep it up, Rush. Keep tying yourself in knots. Keep alienating large sections of your core constituency. Refusing to admit that you're wrong has this tendency to wreak havoc on a person's ability to understand reality. And reality, Rush, is stronger than you.

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