Big Three Bailout: Southern Senators Immune to Irony

December 13, 2008
U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

Like rain on your wedding day, irony has descended on the venerable institution known as the U.S. Senate.

As everyone knows, the Detroit bailout legislation that passed handily in the House bottomed out in the Senate, and according to United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, the bill's most vigorous opponents were Southern senators who "are anti-union and anti-Detroit" (his words, not mine). I can't vouch for Gettelfinger's assertion, but you can review the results of the vote on your own and get a sense of the geographic spread.

The ironic part? Many senators who voted against the bailout come from states that have given substantial subsidies to auto manufacturers--specifically, foreign auto manufacturers who operate plants in those states. (The irony may be somewhat lessened when you take into account that the senators were largely Southern Republicans who probably weren't too eager to pass Democrat-sponsored legislation. But still.)

An additional smack of irony comes via Tom Walsh at the Detroit Free Press, who would like to remind many of those same Southern senators about the assistance their states received from the Big Three following Hurricane Katrina. His point is well taken, although he curiously leaves Mississippi out of the discussion (Mississippi being the state where Katrina made landfall) and bellows at Louisiana, whose own Senator Mary Landrieu voted in favor of the bill.

Meanwhile, all of Mississippi and Alabama's senators gave it the thumbs down. Which is another bout of irony, I guess. Sheesh.--Richard Read


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