The irony of the Republican lawmakers' presence wasn't lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker Then: "This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies....This is a major power grab." - March 30, 2009.
Now: "At the end of the day we all have to feel good about what we did," said Corker, who did attempt to negotiate the failed 2008 aid package. "I contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country."
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander Then: "This is not the right direction: taxpayer money down the drain, and Washington politicians trying to run auto companies. The sooner the politicians get out of the way, the sooner auto jobs and taxpayer dollars will be secure." - March 30, 2009.
Now: "The center of the auto industry is still moving to Tennessee and the mid-South," Alexander told WSMV-TV.
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn Then: "I certainly can't think of the last time the federal government stepping into an industry caused that industry to be more successful, or more efficient. " - December 2008.
Now: Blackburn attended, but no quotes from her have been reported. She has been busy with other issues, including a bill to overturn the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.
Bob Corker, of course, voted yes on the bank bailout, no on the auto bailout. Lamar Alexander voted yes on the bank bailout, and missed the auto bailout vote because of surgery, but said he would have voted no. Corker tried to negotiate an alternate auto deal because, as he said at the time, the Big Three Bailout wouldn’t help the industry one bit:
"I mean you couldn't make it almost more ineffective and more complicated," said Corker about the White House plan.
Oops. Looks like you were way wrong on that one, buckaroo! And look who shows up expecting chocolates and roses when GM is back in the black and rehiring laid-off workers one year later?
File this one under assholes.