Was Obama Tough Enough?

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2009 8:57 AM CDT
President Barack Obama makes remarks about the American automotive industry, Monday, March 30, 2009, in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama gave GM and Chrysler some tough love yesterday. Too tough, or too much love? Here’s what the papers are saying:

  • Obama “delivered a believable, sharp, and necessary ultimatum,” says the Washington Post. He rightly demanded union concessions, and put bankruptcy back on the table.
  • But the Chicago Tribune thinks Obama should have gone straight to bankruptcy. “An ultimatum is more believable if you haven't just failed to follow through on a previous one.”

  • Obama has put Detroit “on a new road of politicized industrial policy,” says the Wall Street Journal, and should have chosen bankruptcy instead. “From now on, GM and Chrysler are Mr. Obama's companies.”
  • But bankruptcy isn’t a blanket solution, the Detroit Free Press opines. Just because a judge could tear up worker benefits doesn’t mean it should, and no judge can unilaterally make GM or Chrysler clean car kings—that takes changes in tax and regulatory policies, too.