Monday, June 1, 2009

Stalemate: Corker's Spring Hill plant idled; not closed

We took a look at the logistical and political complexities facing GM's Spring Hill plant in Tennessee last April.

Tennessee's Senator Bob Corker was warning that if the plant were closed, the political hand of Barack Obama was obviously, and perniciously, at work.

After comparing Spring Hill to at-risk Detroit plants (a vicious war between those state's politicians was on, at the time), our conclusion was Meh.

Both states' politicians and press were spinning dramatically, but the simple fact was you couldn't really make an objective argument on which plant should remain open.

It all came down to priorities, and which do you choose: the Patriot Act or Civil Liberties?

Again, our Meh conclusion from the the outside, looking in.

.... there's always this: whoever loses practically may be able to gain something politically.

Obama could keep Spring Hill and talk bipartisan while angering some in Midwestern battlegrounds.

On the other hand, Corker could lose Spring Hill, but gain another national cause by blaming politics. And that's not all: he could also pivot from national to state concerns by taking a public stand to save the local plant.

Now word's come today that Tennessee's Spring Hill plant will be idled, but not closed.

That's probably good news for both Obama and Corker. It mitigates charges of partisanship on Obama's part, while keeping Corker from a divisive, partisan battle over red state/blue state politics.

Highlight of Corker's statement on the decision:

“I’m obviously very disappointed in the decision by GM officials and the administration to idle our Spring Hill plant but glad it’s idled for a period and not closed and certainly happy for the 600 Tennesseans that will remain employed."

[Hat tip: Nashville Post Politics]