Scene: Jordan’s office a few days after POTUS’ first call re manufacturing and rebuilding the middle class.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly: “Jordan, POTUS is on the line again.”

Jordan: “Hello, Mr. President.”

POTUS: “Hello, Jordan. Have a few minutes? I want to continue our conversation about rebuilding US manufacturing.”

Jordan: “My calendar is clear.”

POTUS: “Good. I understand the need to rebuild manufacturing and the middle class. But these are abstract concepts. If we are going to sell the idea, we need to personalize 092615_2031_Characters10.gifthe story. Make it so people can relate to it and understand what’s happened. You have an example or two in mind?”

Jordan: “You mean like what’s happened to Flint, Michigan?”

POTUS: “Wow, what a tragedy. They first lost all the manufacturing jobs, then they get hit with lead in their drinking water. Given your background, tell me what you think really happened in Flint. It went from a thriving community to being in the dumper. Why?”

TurtleneckJordan: “The very short answer is Roger Smith. He’s not the only reason but if you’re looking for the primary cause and way to personalize the story, look no farther than Roger Smith.”

POTUS: “Not sure who you mean.”

Jordan: “Ever hear about or see the movie, ‘Roger & Me’?”

POTUS: “Wasn’t that one of Michael Moore’s movies? He’s had some interesting ones. I’ve seen snippets of ‘Roger & Me’ but never the whole movie. What’s it about?”

Jordan: “About how Roger Smith, as chairman of General Motors, destroyed Flint.”

POTUS: “You think that’s true or was that just some Hollywood make-believe?”

Jordan: “My perspective is a bit different from Michael Moore’s. However, his lambconclusion is correct. Smith destroyed Flint. Flint became a sacrificial lamb.”

POTUS: “Seems like you’re taking an extreme position. Flint was a sacrificial lamb for what?”

Jordan: “Smith was chairman of GM throughout the 1980’s. He was also feared within the company, despite being known as ‘Squeaky’ to some insiders.”

POTUS: “Was he that bad? Was Squeaky…I love that name…a real ‘my way or highway’ kind of CEO?”

Jordan: “More like ‘my way or the guillotine’ kind of CEO. He was ruthless.”

flint-city-limits-signPOTUS: “So what made Flint different from other GM towns in Michigan? There’s what Lansing, Pontiac, even Detroit. What’s so different?”

Jordan: “Because Flint is where the UAW forced GM to recognize the union.”

POTUS: “But didn’t GM start in Flint with Buick? Flint was GM’s hometown. Who was the guy that started GM.? Wasn’t Sloan. What was the guy’s name?”

Jordan: “William C. Durant, aka Billy Durant.”

POTUS: “That’s the guy. If GM started in Flint, then what’s the big deal about the union?”

Jordan: “Roger hated the UAW. He never forgave the rank-and-file or the people of sitdown strikeFlint for participating in the sit-down strike of 1936.”

POTUS: “You’re really into GM history aren’t you? The strike was 45, almost 50 years before Smith became CEO. The strike was ancient history.”

Jordan: “Not to Roger, or many other people. You know Gelly, right?”

POTUS: “I talk to her when I call. Very pleasant by the way. I’ve never met her in person. Why?”

Jordan: “Her grandfather participated in the sit-down strike at Fisher #1 in Flint. She said he talked about it until the day he died. She’s 3rd or 4th generation auto family. Or at least she was until Smith’s reign of terror.”

POTUS: “Not to sound like an attorney for the defense, but did you ever see any memos or plans to destroy Flint?”

Jordan: “You know better than that counselor. My conclusion is based on his patterns of behavior in other situations. Also, I also looked at the number of facilities in Flint that were shut down in Smith’s reign compared to other locations. Disproportionately high.”

BuickPOTUS: “Maybe true but wasn’t GM losing share during the 1980’s? As I recall, GM was losing ground and imports were gaining ground.”

Jordan: “Except Flint’s hometown car, Buick, actually held its own during the 1980’s…and set a sales record.”

POTUS: “I’m certain you had no influence on that. Look, I can’t argue with your logic. You saw the company from the inside. You also analyze situations differently than most people. That’s why I call you. One question, ‘If Smith GM,_logowas so bad, why didn’t GM go bankrupt in the 1990’s? They didn’t go BK until what 2008-2009?”

Jordan: “They did go BK in the 1990’s…but not officially. I’ll tell you why.”

(Continued)

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