Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 31, 2009

THERE'S STILL NO CAR DEALER CONSPIRACY.... In case any additional proof was needed, the Obama administration really didn't target Chrysler dealerships owned by Republican campaign donors. As far-right conspiracy theories go, this was sillier than most, but given the excitement about the "story," it never hurts to have more evidence that sets the record straight.

In Macomb County, three dealerships were closed in the Chrysler bankruptcy process and seven were saved. The FEC records show no noticeable difference in the political leanings of the owners of the 10 businesses.

Anthony Viviano, president of the Metro Detroit Dodge dealers' association and owner of Sterling Heights Dodge, which will remain in operation, said politics was never a factor in the process.

"That's just a bunch of baloney," said Viviano, former president of the Detroit Area Dealers Association.

Of course it is. But it's often amazing to see how popular nonsense can be.

For the record, Viviano is not some Democratic activist, anxious to debunk Republican talking points -- 90% of his political donations have gone to Republican candidates.

As Eric Boehlert noted yesterday, "Trust us, this was a very big deal among right-wing true believers this week even though, as we tried to point out, all the bloggers' dogged research was able to confirm was that car dealers in general give lots of money to Republican politicians. Meaning there's nothing to indicate that the dealerships that survived were big Democratic donors. Clueless bloggers simply confirmed that dealers that got closed had given to the GOP in the past and then deduced the evil connection."

Keep in mind, as silly as this conspiracy theory was, not only did conservatives continue to push it after it had been debunked, but the right's interest led a Fox News "reporter" to ask the president's press secretary about the "story" at a White House press briefing this week. (Robert Gibbs explained that the administration had nothing to do with choosing which dealerships were shut down.)

That ridiculous accusations with no grounding in reality can reach the level of a White House press briefing only helps underscore the problems with the political discourse.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Somebody has already done the math. There is no bias except to Clinton donors.


Posted by: Mike S on May 31, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

"a Fox News 'reporter'"

Well, said. Wasn't Garrett promoted by FAUX to Major for his fine work in their Propaganda Corps?

Posted by: berttheclock on May 31, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

The best part is loons like Malkin get double coverage over nonsense like this in that she gets to not only complain about an untrue attack on Republicans, but when faced with the facts, she can claim it may or may not be true, but the real problem is that the mainstream media refuses to cover it. Think about that for a minute. She still gets mileage out of accusing the mainstream media of no covering a NON EXISTENT story. Of course, she is not alone.

Posted by: bt on May 31, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I, for one, am shocked, shocked to learn that wingnuttery is correlatable to mathematical illiteracy.

Shocked, I tell ya.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 31, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Even if there were political bias in the dealership closings, it wouldn't matter because the end result is so desirable. The only good car dealer is an out-of-business car dealer. I'd sell my soul if a way could be found to get rid of the entire car dealership industry and replace it with a different way of selling cars.

If the car dealers being closed down are counting on public support, they're barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. Not too many people who were charged $200 for "fabric sealant" on their last car purchase are going to have much sympathy for the dealerships.

Posted by: Peter on May 31, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Wingnuts have an insatiable appetite for victimhood. That, taken with their desperation to find something - anything - with which tar Obama, means that we'll be hearing similar nonsense for the next 8 years. If they had sense, they'd wait for something from which to construct a logical 'outrage'. But who has accused the right of having any sense?

Posted by: JoeW on May 31, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, right. Show me a SINGLE socialist Chrysler dealer who was shut down!

Posted by: dp on May 31, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad for these Republican dealers. Maybe things would've gone better for them if the Republican idiots they donate to had bothered to try to understand that propping up the car makers was necessary for reasons other than giving a free ride to the "fat, lazy, and greedy union workers" they so vociferously despise.

Posted by: jimmy on May 31, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is what happens when you give up on science, math and logical reasoning.

Posted by: Alex on May 31, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

It reminds me of the "vaccines cause autism" meme:
All kids get vaccines, some kids get autism, therefore vaccines cause autism.

Posted by: ChicagoPat on May 31, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Outside the insurance industry the auto industry is probably the single most Republican thing in America.

Posted by: alan on May 31, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is really about the right realizing that their calls for the blood of the auto makers aren't only going to hurt the UAW.

Dealers are part of the small town wealthy. THEIR contracts are supposed to be sacrosanct.

Posted by: JeffF on May 31, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Have you ever known any guys (and they're always guys) who own car dealership? The chances of them being Democrats are so small as to be laughable.

Posted by: jrw on May 31, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans were in power, they *would* be use their power to close any Democratic owned businesses they could.

Of course they assume Obama would do the same thing.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on May 31, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

If you all would even bother to take 5 minutes of your life and read this post, most of your questions would be answered.


There is no bias in the shutting down of Chrysler dealers.

Posted by: Mike S on May 31, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Joey Giraud: You got that right!

With Conservatives, it's always about 1)victimization and 2) projection. The fact that within moments of the announcement of terms of the agreement on dealer closings, it suddenly occurs to them to suspect, and then to "detect" and start screaming about, a (nonexistent) partisan agenda to "screw over" Republicans and to favor (largely mythical) "liberal" dealerships tells you exactly one thing: that if the shoe were on the other foot, and their guy were calling the shots instead of Obama, then that is precisely what they themselves would be trying to do!

They are incapable of entertaining the idea that anyone in politics would avoid inhabiting the same moral sewer that they live in, apparently by choice.

The GOP should swap out its symbolic animal from an elephant to a sewer rat. Or maybe a cockroach.

Posted by: amocz on May 31, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Or a tusked, hairy paleolithic pig.

Posted by: alan on May 31, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is why Gibbs should just ignore Fox News reporters at press conferences.

I don't understand why they even let them in the room.

Posted by: chicagoexpat on May 31, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

How you tell when politician lie?

Comrade Pelosi blink

Slick Willy rub nose

Comrade Oboma open mouth

Dumb Donkey Gibbs laugh...Hehaw..he..haw..he..haw!

I Igor produce Barrack Milhaus Hussein Obama Birth Certificate at www.igormaro.org

Posted by: Igor Marxomarxovich on May 31, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK
That ridiculous accusations with no grounding in reality can reach the level of a White House press briefing only helps underscore the problems with the political discourse.

It even more underscores the incompetence of the White House Press Corps who should have investigated and written the correct story instead of playing for the TV cameras by asking a question so ridiculous on its face. The discourse itself is fed by such utter lack of professionalism on the part of so-called journalists.

Posted by: Rick B on June 1, 2009 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Michelle Malkin is frankly far more credible.

Posted by: Luther on June 1, 2009 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK



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