Date registered: Mar 2005
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Gore should make a play for Chrysler
Interesting column...and some good points. He could put his money where his mouth has been and show whether he's a changer, or just a loudmouth.
Gore should make a play for Chrysler
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
By Rick Haglund
Of all the possible Chrysler Group buyers with billions of dollars burning holes in their pockets, there is only one who has a chance of saving the troubled automaker AND our greenhouse-gassed planet: Al Gore.
You can stop laughing now. Al isn't just your typical former U.S vice president, best-selling author, Oscar winner for his movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
He's also chairman of Generation Management LLC, a private equity firm whose managing partner is former Goldman Sachs executive David Blood. The firm, with offices in Washington, D.C., and London, is known in financial circles as "Blood and Gore."
And unless you've been locked up in the West Wing of the White House for the past six years, you know Gore is the world's most outspoken advocate for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gases that he and many experts say could destroy the planet through global warming.
While President Bush and some conservatives say global warming is nonsense, many scientists contend carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are a leading cause of greenhouse gases.
And on April 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency must reconsider its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. On a 5-4 vote, the court said the emissions from car tailpipes and other sources meet the definition of pollutants, which the EPA is charged to regulate.
On Tuesday, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said it was too early to outline steps the agency might take as a result of the Supreme Court decision. The president is calling for higher fuel economy standards, though.
So what is Gore to do?
It's time for him to stop relying on the bully pulpit and the big screen, and put some skin in the game. He should buy Chrysler, which parent DaimlerChrysler put up for sale in February, and make it the greenest automaker on the planet.
Dump Chrysler's gasoline-fueled internal combustion engines altogether and replace them with fuel cells, electric motors and engines that run on biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.
Raising the cash should be a cinch. Chrysler is thought to be worth somewhere between $7 billion and $9 billion. Investor Kirk Kerkorian is offering just $4.7 billion.
Numerous eco-celebrity activists, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Salma Hayek, who are probably getting tired of squeezing their butts into those little Toyota Prius hybrids on Oscar night, could likely be counted on as major investors.
So could billionaire environmental activist Ted Turner and his eco-buddies, such as billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
Owning Chrysler would accomplish several things for Gore. First, it would demonstrate, as he has claimed, that we can eliminate the internal combustion engine over the next couple of decades.
Analysts say the key to a Chrysler sale is to find a buyer who can get a better labor deal from the United Auto Workers union.
If anyone could do that, it's probably Democrat Gore. (Although Gore and the UAW haven't always seen eye-to-eye on issues such as free trade.)
It might also give Gore an appreciation for automakers' claims that going green could bankrupt them at a time when they're losing billions of dollars.
But Gore could make a killing if consumers were to buy up Chrysler's all-green cars and trucks. And that would force other automakers to follow suit with their own green fleets, which is Gore's larger aim in life.
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm also has a role in a potential Gore play for Chrysler. Other bidders for Chrysler just want to make money, and probably further hurt Michigan's economy by slashing thousands more jobs.
A Gore-owned Chrysler could catapult Granholm's aim to make Michigan the nation's leader in alternative energy.
Granholm often says she'll "go anywhere and do anything" to find new jobs for Michigan. But tracking down fellow Democrat Gore should be easy: His number is probably stored in her cell phone.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)