Late that month, after receiving an anonymous tip, I began researching the list of nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships targeted for closure by the Obama administration. What I found, and what another excellent researcher named Joey Smith also discovered, was stunning: the closings benefited certain Democrat donors and minorities and had little correlation to sales, service or regional need.
We found anomalies like four Democrat-friendly dealer groups, representing 40 (forty) Chrysler dealerships, that actually gained dealerships while their in-market competition got wiped out across the board.
We found dealers that, despite having numerous judgments, defaults and fines levied against them, kept their dealerships -- no doubt completely unrelated to the fact that they had maxed out donations to Democrat candidates.
We found that minority-owned dealerships, in urban areas and with diminishing sales, should have been closed if any reasonable, business-centric metrics had been applied. Instead, only a small fraction of these dealerships actually were shuttered.
In short, it was obvious, even after a cursory examination, that the process was more political than economic in nature. It smacked of favoritism, revenge and skulduggery -- to the point that even legacy media had to pick up the story.
The Media Jumps In
Leading conservative pundits like Michelle Malkin and Jim Hoft ran the legacy media gauntlet with the Dealergate story. I was startled to find out from my college roommate that Ms. Malkin had mentioned me on a morning talk show one day.
Mark Tapscott at the invaluable Washington Examiner also ran with the ball, adding a Reuters report that the White House itself was apparently deciding which dealerships were to be closed.
Progressives were none-too-happy to see their infallible, messianic president assailed. MediaMatters and Nate Silver's 538.com came rushing to the defense of Obama. Their argument, such as it was, boiled down to this: Of course more dealerships with GOP donors were shuttered -- Republican donors are more likely to own dealerships, therefore that should be expected!
Apparently awakened from a bathtub slumber by his RSS feed from Media Matters, Keith Olbermann leaped into the fray. He cribbed Silver's story, with its completely half-assed 'methodology' and reported that, yes, more GOP-contributing dealers were closed because there were simply more GOP-contributing dealers.
Silver reported that self-described "car dealers" donated to the GOP by a 3-to-1 margin. But he omitted the most telling stat -- intentionally. Dealers that were forced to close by the White House 'Car Czar' had donated to the GOP by a 42-to-1 margin.
Weird how they forgot to report that statistic.
Enter 'Car Czar' Steven Rattner's Tell-All Book
Steve Rattner's newly published Overhaul is a brutal examination of the Obama administration's handling of the auto companies during the takeover.
-When Obama was told of the plan to pay GM CEO Rick Wagoner a $7.1 million severance package after Obama ordered that he be sacked, Rattner writes: "Suddenly I felt that I was indeed in the presence of a community organizer..."
- Rattner describes presidential political adviser David Axelrod coming to car meetings armed with poll data to support the takeover and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel identify Congressmen in whose districts large Chrysler facilities were located.
-"[Obama's economic team] veered dangerously close to having the government take control of the two most troubled banks, Bank of America and Citigroup."
-"If his team had linked arms with the outgoing administration, as President Bush's advisers had proposed, billions of dollars could well have been saved."
In fact, a recent Inspector General report confirmed that the premature and bizarrely orchestrated closures needlessly cost the American economy tens of thousands of jobs. And this was Obama's own I.G.!
With its takeover of the American auto industry, putting taxpayers on the hook for more than $80 billion, the Obama White House "pushed the car companies to eliminate thousands of jobs - with unjustified haste using dubious economic models." The Inspector General's report concluded:
"(A)t a time when the country was experiencing the worst economic downturn in generations and the government was asking its taxpayers to support a $787 billion stimulus package designed primarily to preserve jobs, Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls - all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions' broader economic impact."
Stated simply, the Obama administration's central planners failed in this situation, just as they failed on the Stimulus, the jobs bill, and the 'financial reform' effort. But don't worry: I'm sure they can run the entire health care system, which only represents one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy.
Where's my apology, Olbermann and Silver?
While additional details aren't yet available -- Rattner's book is slated to be published in the next few weeks -- it's clear that every aspect of the takeover was politically motivated.
David Axelrod brought polling data to car meetings?
Rahm Emanuel identified Congressional districts with Chrysler facilities?
Oh, yes, it would appear that this administration acted lawlessly, as it has in so many matters.
That is why it is critical to take over the House in November. So we can begin investigating this perverse behavior.
And speaking of perverse, Keith, ...oh, never mind. I'll withhold descriptions of the emails we receive every so often from your former girlfriends. I have a family audience, after all.
Linked by: Michelle Malkin, Weasel Zippers, Verum Serum and Memeorandum. Thanks!