It's heartwarming that politicians across the fruited plain are beginning to comprehend the real effects of automotive bankruptcies.
All it took was for Chrysler to slip into Chapter 11 and start eliminating factories -- and 789 dealerships -- as part of its reorganization.
What the heck took our elected officials so long to get it? Weren't they paying attention? What didn't they understand, and when didn't they understand it?
Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison proposed an amendment in an unrelated bill requiring 90 days notice before automakers dump their dealers. She later withdrew it when Chrysler Co-President Jim Press assured her in a letter that the automaker would take care of the rejected dealers.
Now Washington is brimming with so much concern about Chrysler's dealership closings that the Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold hearings in early June to investigate the matter.
Sen. Hutchison was pretty quiet late last year when the heads of the Detroit 3 came calling for a government loan. I don't recall her being one of the voices screaming, "Let 'em go bankrupt; this is America, and they have the right to fail."
Plenty of others did.
Now that Chrysler is shedding dealerships in hundreds of American communities there is plenty of pain to go around.
Hutchison's Texas is losing 50 Chrysler dealerships, the second-largest total after the 53 being closed in Pennsylvania.
Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama was one of the most vocal critics of the Detroit 3 during last fall's congressional hearings. Alabama is losing 12 Chrysler dealerships.
If Sen. Hutchison et al. think the Chrysler situation is bad, they'll get a real education in a week or so, when General Motors gets into Chapter 11.
Chrysler is closing 14 stores in Tennessee, home of another critic, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who is now trying like the dickens to keep GM's Spring Hill, Tenn., plant open.
Wonder if he'll be the first to call for hearings to figure out what went so terribly wrong?