GIVE MY INNER LIBERTARIAN A MOMENT, WILL YOU?
Jim Manzi highlights one aspect of the Obama Administration's negotiations over Chrysler that has worried me: the desire to set aside the usual rules and procedures for how things are done in order to produce a "better" political result. I'm from Michigan, and have a lot of sympathy for how bad things are there right now (I'm not from an auto-supplier part of the state, be we knew people: everyone did). However, it's also worse in the long run to have a company forever on the edge of viability than one restructured, sold off, or whatever, which is able to eventually compete. None of this can happen when it's not allowed to happen naturally--that is, as the law governing bankruptcy says it should.
The connection which I haven't seen made yet is to the rise of a certain approach to state Attorney General-ing which gained popularity in the 90s: raise criminal charges (or threaten to raise allegations) in order to stop companies from doing things that were disliked: Eliot Spitzer is the obvious example, but Granholm in Michigan did it, too, and there are others. The Obama Administration is doing the same thing on a much larger scale.