ABC’s Jake Tapper is reporting that White House officials are in full denial mode after a bankruptcy attorney claimed that the man in charge of the administration’s Auto Industry Task Force, Steve Rattner, told her that a firm represented by the attorney would see its reputation destroyed by the White House press corps if the firm continued to oppose the Chrysler bankruptcy plan.
At this point there doesn’t seem to be any evidence in either direction. However, I can’t say that I’m surprised by this if it turns out to be true. It was an absolutely fair criticism of the Bush administration to say that it lacked humility, but the preening arrogance of the Obama administration is mind-blowing. It would not surprise me in the least to see that dissent is threatened and bullied. It was a criticism that was lobbed, unfairly, at the Bush administration, but it is the stock in trade of the current majority party.
The key element that adds to the story is the accusation that the smear would be carried out by the media, specifically the White House press corps. While it might be difficult to have the actual White House press corps doing their dirty work, there are plenty of other sycophantic toadies in the media and their inbred cousins on the Nutroots who are so enchanted by St. Barry that they would be more than happy to smear and destroy anyone who presents an opposing voice.
UPDATE: A White House spokesman denies. Zero Hedge is on the case.
Wow. That’s amazing if its true.
So, you’re pro-hedge-fund, anti-America. I understand. I personally believe that the scumbags that took our taxpayer bailout money only to turn around and refuse to support the American Auto Industry should be taken to task. But then again, I’m pro-America.
I’m not pro- or anti-hedge fund. Some are good and run well, some are not and run poorly. Saying that someone is “pro-hedge fund” is kind of like saying one is “pro-dentist.” It depends on the fund, how they’re run, and what they’re doing. I’m certainly not anti-America. What we’ve got here is a fund that had a legal contract, was willing to negotiate and compromise on how much support it would give Chrysler, and was told that it simply wasn’t good enough by the Administration. What I am opposed to is the notion that if you don’t play ball you will be smeared and see your reputation destroyed by a sympathetic media. I have no problem with attaching some strings to taxpayer handouts (which I oppose in general principle for banks, hedge funds, and automakers), and I wouldn’t have a problem with Obama himself coming out and making an argument based on the merits. That’s a very different animal than forcing a desired outcome by threatening to have the press do your dirty work by smear and innuendo. It’s called “extortion.” Look it up.