"Thugocracy" is the term Michael Barone coined before the election for the authoritarian, bullying tendencies he saw in the Obama campaign. At the time he had in mind their attempts to silence political critics and their support for "card check," which would mean the end of the secret ballot in union elections.
Now, of all things, we’re seeing further signs of it in the ailing auto industry. As part of its bankruptcy plan, Chrysler has announced plans to close 25% of its dealerships, As Mark Tapscott notes, all but one of those failed to donate to the Obama campaign:
The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?
Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan learned from a House colleague that his Venice, Florida, dealership is on the hit list. Buchanan also has a Nissan franchise paired with the Chrysler facility in Venice.
"It’s an outrage. It’s not about me. I’m going to be fine," said Buchanan, the dealership’s majority owner. "You’re talking over 100,000 jobs. We’re supposed to be in the business of creating jobs, not killing jobs," Buchanan told News 10, a local Florida television station.
Buchanan, who succeeded former Rep. Katharine Harris in 2006, reportedly learned of his dealership’s termination from Rep.Candace Miller, R-MI. Buchanan owns a total of 23 dealerships in Florida and North Carolina.
Also fueling the controversy is the fact the RLJ-McCarty-Landers chain of Arkansas and Missouri dealerships aren’t being closed, but many of their local competitors are being eliminated. Go here for a detailed look at this situation. McClarty is the former Clinton senior aide. The "J" is Robert Johnson, founder of the Black Entertainment Television, a heavy Democratic contributor.
A lawyer representing a group of Chrysler dealers who are on the hit list deposed senior Chrysler executives and later told Reuters that he believes the closings have been forced on the company by the White House.
"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers. It really wasn’t Chrysler’s decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President’s automotive task force," said attorney Leonard Bellavia.
So here we have the federal government becoming the dominant partner in a major private industry, bullying legal creditors and evidently closing businesses to punish citizens who opposed them. This probably violates a subsection of Godwin’s Law, but, I have to ask…
When do we see the black shirts and a march on Rome?
LINKS: Lots more from Doug Ross, with updated information.
REQUIRED READING: Take a guess.
UPDATE: Allahpundit at Hot Air points out that data shows car dealerships skew largely GOP in their donations, which might explain the disparity in closures between Republican and Democrat donors. On the other hand, it does not explain why some dealerships -profitable ones- were closed and other were left open.
UPDATE II: Tom Maguire thinks the statistical evidence is so up in the air that it’s hard to see if there’s any case for anything beyond crony capitalism in this, while Doug Ross in another post looks at the odds and thinks they’re significant. I’ve now moved to agnostic, but I’ve no doubt of of President Obama’s bent toward corrupted rule, whether one calls it Chicago-style crony capitalism, corporatism, or liberal fascism.