Sure, he might have to boot a CEO now and then, but it’s not like R&D will be running the specs on the new hybrid by Geithner for approval, right? This reminds me of Steinbrenner’s infamous announcement after he bought the Yankees that he wouldn’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. Before you knew it, he was firing managers left and right. Just think of Wagoner as Obama’s Billy Martin.

You know what’s always helpful, too, when trying to scare a failing industry into reforming itself? Promising that “we cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish.” Over to you, Kaus:

After visibly defenstrating GM CEO RIck Wagoner, and moving to replace the board of directors, won’t Obama now “own” the GM problem? If the company shuts down in the near future, costing tens of thousands of blue collar jobs, it will be under executives implicitly or explicitly chosen by Obama. It will be Obama’s failure, not simply GM’s failure, no? A public sector failure, not just a business failure. Doesn’t that make it harder, not easier, for the administration to walk away and force the company into bankruptcy (if, for example, the company’s plans for “viability” continue to fall short after the new 60-day deadline)? And doesn’t that, in turn, make extracting the necessary concessions (by threatening bankruptcy) more difficult as well?

Indeed. The One’s not just pumping money into this sinkhole, he’s pumping political capital. Which means that while he might control GM’s fate for the moment, increasingly GM will control his. Exit question: Did the new chairman consult with the rest of the “board of directors” before canning Wagoner? Exit answer: No, he did not.

Tags: Barack Obama