Daily Show: Carmageddon '09

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Now, is it just me or have you guys heard a strange sound coming from our economy lately? It's not like a thud or thump, but more like a ping or kerplunk every time you check the Dow Jones.

I've finally figured out what the problem is, and we can fix it, but it's going to cost you.

You may recall that back in December we gave GM and Chrysler around $25 billion - or, as we now call it, walking-around money. We told them to come back in three months with a plan for your future.

At the time, GM CEO Rick Wagoner was up to the challenge. "I am highly confident we will be able to meet that test," he said.

Well, three months are up and the test scores are in. How did he do? Wagoner resigned Sunday at the request of the White House.

It was a bittersweet moment.

The president is on the phone for me? Yes, Mr. President. Uh, I'm sorry, what was that? Go what myself now? Oh, I see.

Actually, both GM's and Chrysler's plans for reorganization were given failing grades. The official government report on the plans called GM "burdened with underperforming brands, nameplates and an excess of dealers."

Chrysler suffers from "poor quality of its existing product portfolio," which includes "some of the ugliest pieces of crap I've ever seen ... especially the Sebring, which looks like what would happen if an Edsel humped a Pinto." The report goes on to say, "no disrespect."

The government is finally holding these automakers accountable for the $25 billion we gave them.

But as confidence in our ability to fix the economic downturn diminishes, we're beginning to realize just how screwed we are.

How screwed are we? President Obama is being parodied in local car dealer commercials! Obama as a car salesman? You'll never see a real statesman like Obama stooping to the level of crass car pitchman.

Or will you? Here are a few excerpts from a speech Obama gave on Monday.

"If you buy a car any time this year, you may be able to deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes," he said. "I'm doing all I can to see if a deal can be struck."

So, come on down to the Obama sales event, where every day is President's Day. The prices are good, and the cars ... well, the prices are good.

Of course, like all sales pitches, some of it was spin.

"The North American car of the year was a GM," Obama said.

Really, the North American car of the year? Wow, you mean we beat the Canadian Zamborghini and Mexico's Cinco de Carro?

But even a great salesman like Obama may not be able to save all of our car companies.

"The situation at Chrysler is more challenging. Chrysler needs a partner to remain viable," Obama said.

Actually, Chrysler has been given 30 days to partner with - this is true - Italian auto giant Fiat or they'll go bankrupt.

Yes, when Detroit gives us lemons, we give them billions of dollars.

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