Shocking news, I know. I found myself driving around 1 in the afternoon today, and I did what I always do when I'm driving by myself; I listened to right-wing talk radio! Limbaugh was bleating about how the call by Senate Democrats and President-Elect Obama for the automakers to submit viable business plans to congress with an emphasis on fuel efficient vehicles before forking over tens of billions of dollars, amounts to the end of freedom and the dawn of the Democratic centrally planned economy.
He kept insisting that "Obama and Pelosi" were demanding that the automakers "bend over and grab their ankles" (his words, not mine) and would force automakers to stop making cars that everyone wants (SUVs, trucks) and force them to make cars that "nobody wants" (only pussies drive small cars, dontcha know). He seemed to think that his argument that in America car companies should be able to make whatever cars they want to was some kind of brilliant insight.
The point he was missing, though, is pretty obvious. The fact of the matter is that car companies do have the right to make whatever cars they want (subject to existing regulations), but they don't have the freedom to be entitled to billions of dollars of taxpayer money without strings attached. If the automakers want to walk away from the table right now and just keep selling Rush Limbaugh more SUVs that's entirely their perogative. But Rush never explained why they are entitled to billions of taxpayer dollars if they're running their companies so profitably in the first place.
Also absent from the conversation was Obama's record of "Health Care for Hybrid" legislation in the Senate, wherein the federal government would absorb UAW retirees into the federal risk pool and off the balance sheets of Detroit to the tune of 50 cents for every dollar the car companies would invest in developing and building hybrids. Obama got this passed in the 2007 energy bill (S.Amdt.1558, 109th congress), and there is nothing about it that should offend Limbaugh (other than that it generally promotes energy conservation, and he hates the planet). If companies chose to build hybrids they could take advantage of the program. If they chose not to, they didn't have to.
So foregoing a more involved discussion of the plight of detroit, suffice to to say that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot.
By the way, sweet jacket there, Rush. You sure don't look like a giant dork in a leather jacket or anything...