Friday, March 6, 2009

If it comes to pass, GM will be missed.

We were supposed to wake up this morning to snow, sleet, freezing rain all turning to rain. Probably some places in Maine did. But not in my yard. It is cloudy; we’ve had no precipitation. Gator Golden has made her morning rounds and came in dry. The temperature at my house is 36, so if we should get some precip this day, it’ll likely be rain.

The AccuWeather radar shows we’re in the middle of a line of weather activity right now. It makes it look like it’ll be here for another few hours. That line is passing right over my town as I write this. It remains cloudy but at 6:30 nothing is hitting close to the ground. We’ll just have to see what happens, I guess.

Edited for update shortly after 8: Mother Nature read the above and asked, "So he wants rain, huh?" It's now raining.

And, shortly after 9 AM, edited again to add: Mother Nature has reported in again. "I've made my point." It has stopped raining and the outside is getting brighter. The weather radar shows it's all but over around here.

The news wasn’t good yesterday. The automobile giant General Motors is even closer to bankruptcy than we were first led to believe. Bankruptcy can lead to a recovery of the company if it is able to restructure itself into a viable industry again. Or it could lead to the demise of the giant.

I find it hard to picture an America without a GM car. My dad owned nothing but Chevrolets from the time I first understood there were different named cars right up to his parting in the late 1970s. When, like kids did in my time, perhaps they still do, we argued about the “best” car, naturally, I always was a Chevy man.

I couldn’t even guess why I chose an old Ford coupe to be my first car. I think I liked the shape of the thing and I know I liked the price, but this “Chevy kid” bought a Ford. After we moved to Florida, I did return at least to GM and bought a used Oldsmobile. It was a very used Oldsmobile, but it got me back and forth to Gainesville from St. Petersburg. It died my senior year.

My dad was on the verge of buying a new car so he literally gave me his 1955 Chevy Bel Air coupe, sort of an early graduation present. It was a two-door V-8. Ultimately, it remains one of the five best cars I’ve ever owned. It was also the last Chevrolet I ever owned.

It had two major faults, both because it was a “Florida” car. It didn’t have a heater and the road salt that first winter back in Maine claimed the exterior. It was 1960. During my second winter here, Gator Wife and I were married. The Chevy was in its last hurrah. We went to the local Chevy dealership to buy our, and my, first new car. I should point out that dealership no longer exists under the same name or ownership.

It was an experience I’ll never forget. We picked out the car, test drove it, and (this was before I learned about negotiating prices) the price was right. We decided to buy it. The salesman did know about that process. First we had to choose the kind of tires we wanted. More money. Then it was the type of steering wheel. More money. I won’t go through the entire list but you get the idea. Our nice car just about doubled in price. We just got up and walked out. It was the last time I’ve ever been in a Chevrolet dealership.

We’ve only had one other GM car, an Oldsmobile. It was a very nice automobile but the dealership didn’t want to give us a decent trade when replacement time came. A Ford dealer in Saco wanted my Oldsmobile as much as I wanted his program car, a Lincoln Town Car. I loved the size of the thing and living room comfort it gave us. It took us on our first National Park tour out west. My wife hated it. It was simply too big and she refused to drive it. We traded it and have been “foreign” ever since.

Never again would a GM car be in our family. The now slightly older “Chevy kid” no longer considered GM and Chevrolets as the best cars. That doesn’t mean we weren’t disturbed by the news. Unless the company is able to find a way to reorganize and get their costs in line with their foreign competition, we will join many Americans mourning the loss of a great Auto Giant.

The Democrats are trying to do what they have learned to do very well. This time they’re trying to demonize conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. It’s all part of the Democrats’ playbook of diverting attention from a real problem to one they manufacture. If they can get the news media to paint Limbaugh as next George Bush, then attention will be diverted from the Obama spending issues.

The Democrats are trying to paint Limbaugh as the new leader of the Republican Party. I certainly don’t consider him to be the leader and I honestly don’t know any other Republicans who do. He’s just a very successful radio talk show host who has the ability to use the Democrats’ own words to show the wrongfulness of their actions. He is able to verbalize what many Republicans honestly think about the way this country should be run, but hasn’t been possibly since Ronald Reagan.

Rush Limbaugh, however, is very popular and some would even say powerful. He has a listenership like no other. He says what most Americans want to hear and just about every Democrat attempt to find a counterpart has failed miserably because those replacements can’t deliver a message as Limbaugh does.

This time the Democrats just might have picked the wrong opponent.


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