The Right’s Chrysler Dealership Conspiracy Theory

There is a trend going on in Wingnuttia that I have been noticing for months now: Right-wingers are engaging in exactly the same behaviors that they condemned or mocked the left for doing when George W. Bush was president. Attacking a sitting president’s foreign policy in a time of war? Check. Helping the enemy by showing that Americans are divided and disunited? Check. Politicizing national security? Check. Ignoring or not taking seriously laws that forbid public officials from revealing classified information? Check.

To these, we can now add: tinfoil hat conspiracy theorizing:

A whole lot of right-wing blogs are worked up today over a report about the political affiliations of Chrysler dealers who’ve been shut down.

Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans [sic]. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.

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?

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who has a dealership that will close, called this “an outrage.” A variety of far-right bloggers chose more colorful language.

And what is the “evidence” of a partisan conspiracy that “appears to be mounting”? As you might have guessed, like most conservative theories, this one is extremely thin. The argument, in a nutshell, is that Chrysler dealers owned by a variety of Republican donors are being closed, the government is now involved with Chrysler’s restructuring, so that points to “evidence” that the Obama administration is deliberately punishing GOP contributors.

There’s one big problem with this reasoning, says Nate Silver (linked from Steve’s post):

… Nobody has bothered to look up data for the control group: the list of dealerships which aren’t being closed. It turns out that all car dealers are, in fact, overwhelmingly more likely to donate to Republicans than to Democrats — not just those who are having their doors closed.

Duh:

It shouldn’t be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote — and donate — Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don’t own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can’t think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party. …

6 Responses to “The Right’s Chrysler Dealership Conspiracy Theory”

  1. Eric Dondero says:

    This has more to do with ideology than partisan politics. Yes, of course most dealers are Republican, cause it’s the Republican Party that leans free enterprise and limited government. Which makes it even worse that the Obama administration would attack these dealerships, and actively seek their closure.

    They are attacking small businessman that believe in free enterprise and libertarian principles, of stay the hell out of my damned business! They are attacking an entire libertarian-oriented retail industry.

    The liberal media, who have been very late on this story, are finally pushing back. But the argument that they’re using, including the argument you highlight here, is going to come back and bite you in the ass. Yes, conservatives are concerned about the partisan angle on this. But those of us on the libertarian side (Ayn Randist/individualist), are far more concerned about the attack on businessmen who are Randist, and wholly libertarian.

    You all liberals are pushing us into the welcoming arms of the right every day. And this just makes us appreciate our alliance with the Right, even more. Go on, keep attacking libertarians. Go on.

  2. Jack Jodell says:

    The irrational, right wing crybabies are at it again, this time more preposterously than ever. Their insane allegation deserves absolutely no consideration by normal, rational people.

  3. tas says:

    The liberal media, who have been very late on this story, are finally pushing back.

    We’re all rational people here Eric, right? So let me pose this question: Where is the story? This is not a sarcastic question; I don’t see a story here.

    So far, the information that Washington Examiner and other rightwing sources have gathered says that a super majority of the dealerships being closed are owned by citizens who have donate mostly to Republicans. But this is countered by the fact that a super majority of cal dealership owners donate to Republicans anyway, and the dealerships being closed actually forms a close section of this. The percents are not weighted on either side to make anything look fishy.

    This is all empirical evidence, by the way. You cannot argue it. I don’t mean to sound like a snob or like somebody who can’t take differences of opinion, but this goes beyond opinion. This would be like arguing against the notion of gravity or that the Earth is round — if you want to go against rock solid facts, feel free. But don’t expect me to argue with such disillusionment.

    Don’t let this discourage you from finding a story, though. Everyone has a job to keep their eye on the government. If you think this car dealership thing is a story, great — now provide some more evidence to back it up. Solid evidence or, at the very least, sources with connections. Show me the documents from the Obama administration of Chrysler that prove the dealership closures are partisan. Interview political geographers hired by either entity to pick out which dealerships to close based on partisanship.

    In short, find some evidence. Otherwise, all you have is…

    They are attacking small businessman that believe in free enterprise and libertarian principles, of stay the hell out of my damned business!

    And this…

    Yes, conservatives are concerned about the partisan angle on this. But those of us on the libertarian side (Ayn Randist/individualist), are far more concerned about the attack on businessmen who are Randist, and wholly libertarian.

    Without evidence, your “story” is merely a crackpot conspiracy theory peddled by individuals who let their feelings get in the way of objective analysis.

    If there’s a story, find it. If there isn’t, don’t tell us we’re late on reporting something that isn’t a story.

  4. Rodd D. says:

    Funny, Progressives redefined what a spending “cut” is … yet seem to understand statistics when it comes to closing Republican owned Car Dealerships.

    Tas: The story is this: The Auto Bailouts Failed, Auto Workers are being laid off, Dealerships letting people go, Bond holders are being screwed, and Republican Owned Dealerships are being closed by the Obama Administration. Successful Dealerships are being closed while, for some reason, less successful ones are allowed to stay open.

    Nobody has all the stats on this one yet, so a conclusion cannot be drawn yet. But the Obama Administration has a record of threatening and strong-arming people. I wouldn’t be surprised if Republican/White Dealerships get closed while some Minority Dealerships are spared. After all this is “Social Justice” !!

  5. tas says:

    Nobody has all the stats on this one yet, so a conclusion cannot be drawn yet.

    Then you don’t have a story. Come back when you have a story, and don’t demand that the “liberal media” print such a story when it doesn’t exist.

    Additionally, here’s one of the stats you list that make this a supposed story: …and Republican Owned Dealerships are being closed by the Obama Administration.” But it has been proven that the closing of dealerships, and the donations to Republicans from those dealership owners, falls within the reasonable statistical bounds of dealerships as a whole. As I previously mentioned, this is empirical evidence that cannot be argued against.

    Furthermore, nobody can point to the Obama administration dictating which dealerships should be closed.

    Successful Dealerships are being closed while, for some reason, less successful ones are allowed to stay open.

    If this is true, there is another possible explanation for this: The successful dealerships sell cars for a cheaper price, and Chrysler — like every other business — is looking to make more money. That’s not as sexy as your conspiracy, but you have to admit it sure makes a lot of sense.

    And has anybody done a comprehensive comparison of all dealerships getting the axe and their compeitiors to see their political donations? What happens when there’s three dealerships in an area, all have donated to Republicans, but two are closing — where’s your theory then?

    Seriously, have some objective thoughts about this “story” before trying to tell people it’s some sort of fact. It’s not. It’s a conspiracy theory.

  6. Kip Taylor says:

    In response to tas,
    “Seriously, have some objective thoughts about this “story” before trying to tell people it’s some sort of fact. It’s not. It’s a conspiracy theory.” Try this on for size, sparky.
    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/05/dealergate-statistical-evidence-that.html
    This is statistical data I want to see you parse out.
    It show the percentage odds of closure vs remaining open in various locations, calculates that the more successful dealers are being closed and that there are specific beneficiaries who have political ties to the administration.
    You are quite simply lying through your teeth in an attempt to minimize a criminal act of revenge and cronyism.
    Methinks the King may have overstepped himself this time.
    He forgets that he can’t just scream “Off with their heads!”
    Yet.

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