Michael Moore hails GM's chief 'stunning' ouster


June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM EDT

Oscar-winning filmmaker and longtime political activist Michael Moore Wednesday hailed the historic decision by President Barack Obama to dismiss General Motors chief Rick Wagoner.

"I simply can't believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless for the past two days," Moore said.

"I keep saying, 'Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that?'" Moore, a native of GM's hometown of Flint, wrote in an e-mail to friends and posted on his website.

"This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business," said Moore, whose father worked in GM's plants in Flint.

"John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, 'What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?'

"Senator Bob Corker said it ?should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.' The stock market plunged as the masters of the universe asked themselves, 'Am I next?'" Moore observed.

However Moore, the director of "Fahrenheit 9/11" which skewered the policies of the previous Bush administration, said Obama "has the massive will of the American people behind him."

Moore, who also produced "Roger & Me" the offbeat 1989 documentary about GM's plant closings in Flint, said "thousands of workers" have been ruined over the years by GM's layoffs.

"They turned to alcohol or drugs, their marriages fell apart, some took their own lives. Most moved on, moved out, moved over, moved away.

"They ended up working two jobs for half the pay they were getting at GM. And they cursed the CEO of GM for bringing ruin to their lives.

"Not one of them ever thought that one day they would witness the CEO receive the same treatment," Moore said.

"Of course chairman Wagoner will not have to sign up for food stamps or be evicted from his home or tell his kids they'll be going to the community college, not the university. Instead, he will get a 23-million-dollar golden parachute," Moore said.

"But the slip in his hands is still pink, just like the hundreds of thousands that others received -- except his was issued by us, via the Obama-man," said Moore.

But he added: "The sight of our president having to promise that he would back every GM warranty and give consumers a bonus if they trade in their old Grand Am for a hybrid, was alternately sad, hilarious, and just plain weird.

"This is what it's come to: the Commander in Chief of the Free World is now Mr. Goodwrench."

Moore, however, also noted that there appeared to be double standards at work in the way Obama handled Wagoner and the way Wall Street bankers have been treated.

"Please know that it has not been lost on any of us from the Rust Belt how our corporate bigwigs were treated -- remember, the auto companies wanted a loan, not a handout -- compared to how the titans of Wall Street got trillions of free cash, lunch at the White House and a photo op with the Prez."

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