Top 20 Candidates for "Car Czar"

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Congress and the White House continue to work on a bailout for the "Big Three" U.S. automakers -- Ford (NYSE: F  ) , General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , and Chrysler. Since one of the components of the financial rescue package is a newly appointed "Car Czar" to oversee the bailout process, we thought it would be a good time to review some of the frequently mentioned candidates for the job and assess their strengths and weaknesses for the position.

Jennifer Granholm
Pros: Current two-term governor of Michigan.

Cons: Popular female governors who were beauty pageant contestants when they were younger don't exactly have the greatest track record in 2008.

David Bonior
Pros: Respected former Democratic House whip from Michigan.

Cons: Whipping assembly-line workers not allowed under recent labor agreement; whipping auto executives, an idea that's rapidly gaining national support, not yet legal.

Mitt Romney
Pros: Experienced businessman; successful politician; perfect head of hair.

Cons: Hair too perfect. Most likely part of a costume to disguise long-suspected fact that he is a robot. Robots have eliminated enough Detroit jobs already.

Rod Blagojevich
Pros: Illinois governor has demonstrated an uncanny appetite for cutting deals; likely to be freed of current responsibilities very soon.

Cons: "Car Czar" required to show up for work. Cannot telecommute from prison.

Lee Iacocca
Pros: Beloved car-industry exec from era when bailouts worked; can do his own TV commercials.

Cons: Iacocca's former trademark commercial pitch line -- "If you can find a better car, buy it!" -- seems to have resonated a little too deeply with the American public.

Jack Welch
Pros: Ran General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , the largest, most successful company in the history of anything, anywhere.

Cons: Difficult for Welch to self-righteously bring the hammer down on auto execs' perks, given his GE CEO perk list of a luxury Manhattan apartment, private fleet of space shuttles, electronic vibrating giraffe polishers, and fresh panda-meat kabobs.

Paul Volcker
Pros: Demonstrated master of the governmental "tough love" approach; knows how to fix a problem and not be cowed by political concerns.
Cons: At 6-foot-7, unlikely to support the midget Pintos and micro-mini-Coopers seemingly mandated by incoming administration.

Harrison Ford
Pros: Box-office gold; handy in a car chase; could help David Bonior out with whipping technique.

Cons: Last name creates hesitancy about bias against GM and Chrysler.

Pros: Detroit native, daughter of a GM design engineer; possesses bottom-line business focus that we are living in a material world. 

Cons: Loves Detroit so much that she lives in London. Candidacy already denounced by pope, people with taste.

Herbie, the Love Bug
Pros: Disney-created anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle has the kind of charming personality necessary for a job that requires dealing with opposing groups.

Cons: German.

Richard "the King" Petty
Pros: Seven-time NASCAR champion. Awarded Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush.

Cons: Under ancient established monarchy rules, kings cannot also be czars.

Don LaFontaine, the "In a World" Movie Preview Voiceover Guy
Pros: "In a world … where no U.S. auto companies could figure out a viable business strategy … one man emerged … with a plan to rescue us all … from a fate worse than death."

Cons: Died earlier this year.

T. Boone Pickens
Pros: Billionaire businessman has plans for a car that runs on wind power.

Cons: Them plans is plum crazy.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the NPR Car Talk Guys
Pros: Familiarity with car troubles; good senses of humor; experience at National Public Radio, which, like the domestic auto industry, is a nonprofit enterprise.

Cons: None.

Czar Nicholas II
Pros: Has the whole "Czar thing" down pat.

Cons: Doesn't know a thing about cars. Go-to solution of beheading troublesome working class worked better in 19th-century Russia than in modern-day United States.

Racer X
Pros: Comes with a far cooler nickname than the insipid "Car Czar."

Cons: Inexplicable tendency to throw races calls probity into question. Difficult to sustain masked-man disguise federally in a post-9/11 world.

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Pros: Can perform Jedi mind trick on union executives and recalcitrant Republican Senate bailout opponents.

Cons: Management style includes demanding that everyone at GM's Hamtramck assembly plant practice assembling cars blindfolded, with good results to be expected.

Mad Max
Pros: Experience as federal highway officer; skilled driver; handy with chainsaw; looks great in black.

Cons: We don't need another hero.

The Ghost of Christmas Future
Pros: Silent hooded figure has more than 150 years' experience in delivering bad news; calm demeanor.

Cons: Insistence on spelling the word "Tsar" probably a dealbreaker; British.

Pros: Has experience in cleaning up Detroit. Programmed to protect and serve. Incorruptible. Drives the sweet, futuristic "6000 SUX."

Cons: Excessively violent, even for a federal law-enforcement official. Robotic speech pattern will make for awkward moments when testifying during confirmation hearings.

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This article combines contributions from Motley Fool staff members Bill Barker, Bill Mann, and Chris Hill. Bill B. owns shares of Disney. Bill M. owns more baseball caps than you do. Chris owns a frequently viewed DVD of the movie Cars. Once again, we tip our jester caps to the great John Moe of McSweeney's fame. Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that looks great in black.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (34)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2008, at 1:14 PM, ObservationCzar wrote:

    Well-reasoned Car Czar recommendations!

    In case you thought DC was being stingy with Czars, someone on eBay decided to create a few more Czar openings:,,,,,, -- and even

    Looks like we'll have slots for most of your candidates! lol

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2008, at 2:02 PM, TSIF wrote:

    Personally, in a serious vein, Mitt Romney might not be a bad idea...saving Detroit would involve Olymic efforts. He has local roots (are they grey?). But then again, he might be bearish on small cars, they might mush the dooh...

    I wouldn't be surprised if his name comes up....

    Homer Simpson would be an interesting option....ohhh, I forgot, he's already on their payroll and probably already gave them the advice that ran them into the ground!

    Maybe probably wouldn't get good gas mileage, but they would have all the fun toys....

    Nice article, thanks!

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