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Monday, May 4, 2009

The Alchemy Of Conservative Punditry: The Chrysler Edition

One of the conservative-right's latest claims, though they have little to no verifiable information which this is based on, is that the Obama administration are "threatening" corporations. This talking-point has its origins within the resignation of GM CEO Rick Wagoner and the simple fact that Obama is from Chicago - you know, gangsters and what-not.

Since the Right is, by all accounts, out of power on multiple fronts, the only option they have left is to embellish what the Obama administration is doing or outright fabricate their paranoid ramblings from whole cloth.

The latest is their telling of how Obama is using the White House press corp as a weapon against Chrysler.

I'll let some of the lunatic-fringe best tell their side of it first.

Ed Morrissey at HotAir writes:

An attorney representing several Chrysler bondholders accused the Obama administration of intimidating his clients by issuing threats of public humiliation if they opposed their brokered deal to resolve the automaker’s debts. Speaking to WJR, Thomas Lauria said that the White House called the bondholders “vultures” for insisting on their rights as senior creditors and told them that the Obama administration would use the White House press corps to attack them in the media.


Michelle Malkin

Over the weekend, news broke about the Obama administration’s reported threats against an investment firm that opposed its union-friendly Chrysler bankruptcy plan.

Tom Lauria represents a few of the non-TARP Chrysler creditors. He reported the threats on WJR radio host , radio show in Detroit


John Hinderaker @ Powerline

The Chrysler reorganization is shaping up as another milestone in the decline of the rule of law under Barack Obama. We've said for quite a while that bankruptcy is the only viable option for Chrysler and General Motors, not--as Obama claims--because they don't know how to make the right kinds of vehicles, but because their unsustainable union contracts make it impossible for them to be profitable. That reality has now been turned on its head, as the administration has tried to bully Chrysler's secured creditors into going away, while the United Auto Workers Union, solely on the basis of political clout, would be paid at an implied rate of 50 percent and would emerge owning 55 percent of the company, with the government also holding a stake.


The hedge-funders wanted a quarter-of-a-billion more than what the treasury was willing to offer and decided to see who would finch first. The Obama adminstration declined their deal and this is where the "thuggery" claim of the Right comes in.

Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post writes of the Hedge Funds and their desire to drain as much out of this deal as they can.

Since when did any of these guys ever worry about fairness?

Certainly fairness was not an overriding concern of hedge-fund managers when they threatened to move even more of their operations to the Cayman Islands if forced to pay a regular tax rate on their exorbitant management fees.


But now that these hedgies are looking at the butt end of a government-imposed cramdown that would give them only 30 cents of each dollar owed by Chrysler, suddenly they're all about fairness and the rule of law.

What you need to know about these vultures is that their idea of fairness is throwing 100,000 people out of work and denying retirees their pensions and their health benefits just so they can liquidate the company and maybe squeeze an extra 15 cents on the dollar from their Chrysler debt.


A corporate lawyer who is representing the hedge funds - under the name "Committee of Chrysler Non-Tarp Lenders", because the words "non-TARP" is quite appealing to Republicans - first laid out the claim that the Obama administration had "threatened" one of their investment firms investment firm Perella Weinberg.

Interestingly enough, Weinberg was a former investment partner of Rahm Emanuel.

*note the blatant right-wing spin in the accompanying video*



The Rahm / Weiinberg connection provides covering fire for the hedge fundies in nothing more than a thinly veiled accusation. But, lives have been distroyed and companies reduced to nothing on less than this. Such is the operation of the lunatic-fringe Right.

But, they don't stop there.

After Frank Beckmann interviewed Tom Lauria, it was time to peddle the story to the WH Press Corp. You know, that entity that is so often ridiculed by the Right and now - all of a sudden - they are afraid of.



Of course, this just may be a coincidence, but Jake Tapper works for ABC - just like Mark Levin.

Tapper reported:

A leading bankruptcy attorney representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms, an investment bank, that if it continued to oppose the administration's Chrysler bankruptcy plan, the White House would use the White House press corps to destroy its reputation


And just like clockwork, Drudge picks it up.



And once everything came to a boil, Weinberg and The White House have told ABC that Lauria's and the lunatic-fringe Right are wrong.

...representatives for the Obama administration and Perella Weinberg challenged the accuracy of the account by Thomas E. Lauria, the White & Case lawyer representing the handful of hedge funds calling themselves the Committee of Chrysler Non-Tarp Lenders.

“The charge is of course false as both parties who would know the facts have pointed out,” Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, told DealBook. “It is neither substantiated by people involved in the conversations nor by what has transpired over the course of the last couple of days


But will it matter to the fringe conservative bloggers, pundits, Fox"News", and their base? Not at all. The metaphorical mmixture has been stirred into a frenzy and the desired reaction has already started.

More from Think Progress.

From the alchemist's perspective, you have your individual components that you have manipulated and have - in some cases - meshed together. Others, you have filtered and split into their base elements and then taken pieces of each compound and attempted to create a whole new chemical. In this case, that new chemical is a lie.


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