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Republicans Have a Chance at Redemption

Auto bailout is first post-election test for embattled GOP lawmakers

Michelle Malkin offers sound advice for Republicans on Capitol Hill:

The first step toward GOP redemption is to stop the automakers’ bailout and roll back the creeping conversion of the Crap Sandwich 2.0 into an all-purpose bailout bonanza for every last American industry and corporate special interest in financial peril.

For those of you who don’t read Malkin regularly, Crap Sandwich 2.0 is her description of the $700 billion bailout rescue plan for Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to tinker with the world’s financial markets.

Six weeks after its passage — with the support of 34 Senate Republicans and 91 House Republicans — Congress is back in town ready to act on another bailout. This time it’s the Detroit automakers knocking on lawmakers’ doors begging for a handout.

Few would disagree that the Big Three are in trouble. Last month GM’s sales dropped 45%, Chrysler’s were down 35% and Ford’s fell 30%. But rather than bailing out these companies, lawmakers should shoo them away. There is another option: It’s called bankruptcy. And despite what the bailout proponents say, it’s really the only viable way for Detroit to remake itself and survive. Feeding the beast won’t fix the problem.

Republicans will play a critical role because any legislation requires 60 votes in the Senate. Democrats control 50 seats (following Barack Obama’s resignation), meaning there’s no way this passes without a number of GOP defections. A vote could take place as early as tomorrow.

Exit polling on Election Day showed a majority of Americans (56%) opposed the bailout. Yesterday nearly 60 grassroots organizations voiced their strident opposition to the auto bailout. (Correction: The groups opposed state and local government bailouts.)

After two weeks of soul-searching, the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Now would be a good time for Republicans to put principles first.

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