Blue Highways

A Hill staffer emails about the long-term political implications of the neo-Hooverites blocking the auto bailout:

It is possible that there was some sort of covert nod-and-wink between Bush and the Senate GOP that the latter could have their cake and eat it, too. Senate Republicans could posture against unions (and try to set the UAW up as the villain) and vote against the bill, while Bush would subsequently use the TARP authority for a bridge loan.

In the long run, the political fallout from this maneuver (whether Bush invokes TARP authority or not) means that the GOP has not only written off New England and the Mid-Atlantic, but the Midwest, and is hunkering down in its Dixie and Plains base. The GOP used to consider Indiana as a given, Ohio as a must, and Michigan as a like-to-have. Now all three are gone, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota.