When Tennessee Senator Bob Corker dropped in on the North American International Auto Show, earlier this month, he made a point of saying that Chrysler should either “merge or go away.” But now that the ailing automaker is ready to tie its fortunes to the fate of Fiat, suddenly, there’s a lot of moaning and gnashing of teeth from some quarters on Capitol Hill.
The question is whether the strong reaction could derail the proposed Chrysler/Fiat deal, or is simply the sound of political machinations.
There is an excellent chance that the noise was nothing more than an aberration driven in part by the embarrassing news that the now-ousted uber-boss at Merrill Lynch, John Thain, had used taxpayer money to purchase an expensive commode for his private bathroom, and another $100,000 or so on new chairs. Even people who normally stick up for rich white guys at all costs, like the people on Fox News, were appalled by the revelation of corporate excess.
The Chrysler – Fiat – Cerberus deal actually could wind up benefiting federal taxpayers.