In "Overhaul", his upcoming chronicle of his reign as "car czar," Steven Rattner offers an insider's account of the Obama administration's rescue of the auto industry. And he pulls no punches when it comes to describing the foibles of such heavyweights as Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Sheila Bair.
Rattner depicts White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a force to be reckoned with who disparaged unions -- once quipping "Fuck the UAW" -- and who effectively supervised Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner during his first rocky months on the job by dictating his public appearances and staff picks.
Emanuel could also be spectacularly blunt, once telling Rattner during a meeting about GM and Chrysler's massive problems and potential bankruptcies: "Why even save GM?" When Rattner adviser Ron Bloom noted that tens of thousands of autoworker jobs were at stake, Emanuel huffed, "Fuck the UAW," referring to the United Auto Workers union.
Though Rattner praised Obama's thoughtful manner when he calmly executed his decisions, the car czar notes that the president seemed to have it in for the automakers from the beginning.
At his first substantive sit-down with his advisers a week after the election, when the U.S. auto industry's problems were broached, Obama quipped:
"Why can't they make a Corolla?"
Later, when Obama was informed of the plan to give ousted GM Chief Rick Wagoner $7.1 million, his jaw muscles tightened and Rattner writes: "Suddenly I felt that I was indeed in the presence of a community organizer..."
But Rattner does emphasize that Obama didn't seem to prefer the giant autoworkers unions, either, stating that "no one in the Obama administration ever asked us to favor labor for political reasons."
Ah, yes - "Fuck the UAW!"
That sounds SOOOOOOO pro-union.
Just like the Obama administration forcing new UAW members to take 50% pay cuts compared to the pay older UAW members receive.
Or President Obama insisting that union members with employer-provided health care plans pay a 40% excise tax to pay for his health care "reform" plan/giveaway to the insurance companies.
Or President Obama pushing his Blame Schools/Fire Teachers Race to the Top program and cheering when teachers in Rhode Island were fired.
And of course labor leaders, rather than return the "Fuck you's!" to the administration, bend over backwards to accommodate them and support them come election time.
Just saw the UAW president on CNBC and when asked about the Rahm Emanuel quote he dismissed it and said something like "This administration is very pro-labor."
Pushing higher taxes, lower wages and reduced job protections for union members does NOT qualify as "pro-labor" in my estimation.
As I have said before, as long as this dysfunctional relationship exists where the administration abuses labor, disparages them behind the scenes and works against their interests while the unions take it and support Dems and Obama because "the Republican alternative would be worse," labor union members are going to continue to get screwed.
Until the labor movement finally says "No, we don't care if you SAY you're pro-labor, SHOW us how you're pro-labor," labor unions and union members are going to continue to get abused by corporate whore Dems like Obama and Emanuel.
As for the Emanuel "quip" about the UAW, I would like to adapt a Rodney Dangerfield line from the movie "Back to School" in reply:
"What's that, Emanuel? Fuck me? Hey, Emanuel, do you read lips? Fuck you!!!!!!"
Oh, and President Obama?
Hope you can read lips too.