General Motors And The Uggs Apparatchiks

Spent an hour and 20 minutes this weekend grabbing a bite to eat and run some errands in the heart of an Imperial City smug, contemptuous suburb. You know, the kind of place that the producers of ‘Friends’, the makers of Ugg shoes and niche emporiums that sell bits of nothing for a whole lot of something would think of.

It was an hour and 20 minutes precisely because the parking is almost as precious as an Obama Inaugural ticket. This enclave of the self-satisfied is not unique here. In fact, its ambiance of escalating effete consumerism is pervasive around the so-called Beltway (within and without).

Let them eat TARP

During our time sitting in a widow seat picking at a remarkably overpriced morsel (so many places now seem to congratulate one for the privilege of entering the premises) we decided to conduct a glaringly unscientific survey. We started to count cars. On the streets slowly parading by and along the street parking. We saw scores of Mercedes, Volvos, Toyotas, BMWs, Nissans, Hondas, Mitsubishis and so forth. We counted exactly 14 American brand cars/SUVs (Volvo’s corporate ownership aside).

14. Now, as we all know, California has been like this since the early 1980s. And observers of the pre-Roger Smith GM at that time wrote that once the Big Three lost California it would be a harbinger of, well, today.

Look, a GM car !  Isn't that so quaint?

What struck a chord is that the people parading around here are in one way or another emblematic of why the financial ‘services’ thieves grabbed over a trillion in an eyeblink and Detroit is now on an IV drip. They are the influential if faceless staffers on the Hill, lobbyists, media types, ‘advisors’ — in short, people who are wealthy simply because they make and return phone calls, along with paperwork sent somewhere somewhen.

Simply put, the Nomenklatura of the Imperial City by and large are not rabid Shelby-ites on the Detroit issue. Nor do they relate to the UAW or Detroit. What they care about is their ability to consume, to overpay. ‘Systemic risk’ assumes a starkly different, more self absorbed meaning in this narrow strata than even Bernanke could imagine. The urgent warnings from Governor Jennifer Granholm are background noise interfering with a spa appointment.

Mr. Goodwrench.  He dead.

The neighborhood wasn’t always like this. The first picture above is an extravagant estrogen eyesore where a grocery store used to stand (and no, we are not defecting to Mansfeldian ‘sociology’ — one really must see it to believe it). Across the street back in the day was a local cement factory that actually produced something. All gone. It’s doubtful much if at all will change in Obama’s America. More money than TARP flows through Imperial City suburbs on defense, IT and homeland security-related boondoggles. The Nomenklatura has sized things up already. The Boy King is no ‘systemic risk’. And judging by the 14 American cars in that isolated, unscientific 80 minute counting game, neither really is Detroit.

This iPod is perfect for the BMW honey!


  1. says

    I think that UGGS are the greatest winter boots out there. They are warm, they mold to your foot for the perfect fit/comfort, and I would say they are pretty stylish. Now, they are not high fashion, but they are still pretty good looking. If you can’t afford the real UGGS, they now have so many sites that sell knock off Uggs, so anyone can get Uggs.

    • Dr Leo Strauss says

      Hunter, the Times has just bestowed The Mondale Trophy on Rahm. Surely that must account for good news somewhere?

      As everyone knows, The Mondale Trophy was created by The Committee for Mondale as the original ‘most powerful [noun] of the modern era’ (but he followed Ford, Rockefeller, Agnew and HHH so that was cheating and Sherman Adams? Who wore vicuna fur coats in 1977?). Today, the Times calls Rahm ‘the most powerful [yada yada yada] in a generation’. How humbled he must be by the trophy’s distinguished heritage.

      Remember when Baker got the coveted trophy as Reagan CoS after acing out both Deaver and Meese in a called corner shot? Sadly for Don Regan, he was later disqualified by The Committee for bad behavior and the award revoked.

      Under the Broccoli Hater, the Mondale Trophy went into eclipse. No one had ideologies, just mortgages. So when Time and everyone started ganging up on Sununu he was just a dick. And 41 went down in flames, badgered by a psychotic billionaire and deftly outflanked by that blatantly ‘draft dodging, pot smoking, womanizing’ charismatic political genius.

      Bubba helped usher in the Mondale Trophy’s heyday. Contra Quayle, Gore became Mr. Reinvention of Government. Remember all the PR? A VP so powerful he also single handedly fielded the Russia account (And how did that turn out? Viktor Chermnomyrdin vaguely remembered him). Then this unstoppable Mondale Trophy winner running with daylight to the end zone suddenly becomes a hapless putz. In about 3 weeks. The Committee’s revocation of the trophy on the goal line of a campaign was unprecedented. Even if Naomi Wolf ‘favored’ him on stage *during a debate* it would be for naught. Nothing could overcome the trophy’s loss.

      Want proof? Darth. 8 time Mondale Trophy Award Winner. (Whom we now know was also a bit of Ken Kesey Merry Prankster, too. Refrigerator jokes!).

      So now Rahm. If we were him? His quesiton has to be, ‘So this is what it feels like to get the Madden cover?’

  2. Comment says

    Happy Holidays everyone – That Lansing Michigen GM plant is gonna be a great loft one day – with a multi-use add-on medium security prison (with some secret cells for the benefit of Romanian secret service reciprocity) and a killer coffe shop.

  3. cato90025 says

    Article reminded me of those prescient types wha said Japan would never sell an auto here because of “Amemerican know-how”–how quaint. And sad–Spengler and Kondratiev(sp?) were right.

    But like a blesses angel from the clouds–I read the link on the Festivus trees. Built in Milwaukee! And I realized, the US may be knocked down–but we are are not out.

    Cue the Rocky or Handel–and thanks from the wet West Coast for some Holiday–oh-with-it–Christmas Cheer!

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