Let’s bail out the auto industry.

We’ve done it before and it was “successful”.  Looking back at the 1979 government-sponsored bailout of Chrysler … a few surprises.

Guess who opposed bailing out the auto industry?  It was … General Motors!  Then GM Chairman Thomas Murphy condemned the Chrysler bailout in 1979 as “a basic challenge to the philosophy of America.”

That is, GM said this was darn-near unAmerican!

Another interesting point.  All of the key ingredients that Peter Cohen said made the Chrysler bailout successful — including a new plan, new management, new technology, and some serious shared sacrifice — don’t seem to be part of the current $25 billion proposal.

The oppositions to the bailout is mounting.

The problem is, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, people just don’t trust American auto makers any more.  That is, they think that auto industry management is a joke.

My favorite quote:

“There’s the feeling that next to financial services, automotive execs are the dumbest people in the world,” said Thomas Stallkamp, a former Chrysler president who worked at the car company when it received emergency government loans in 1980.

Ah, there’s the rub.  Why do people oppose the bailout?

Because people think that auto management is incompetent.

It is a bit like Bobby Jindal — the GOP’s newest and arguably smartest face — said about the Republican Party.  Why did voters reject them?  In his words, they were fired “with cause.”

People rally around brands in trouble.  And people rally around those who suffer from a brand in trouble.

But it is hard to get people to rally around brands that are just stupid.