Closing car dealerships is turning into a political football

Sen. Olympia Snow, the low-key Maine Republican, is livid that bankrupt General Motors (GM) and Chrysler L.L.C. are slashing their dealer networks, leaving thousands of people out of work. Her anger is typical.

In remarks before the U.S. Senate, Snow lamented the decisions of GM to cut 1,100 dealers and Chrysler to axe 789 dealers. She said these businesses -- many of which are politically powerful -- were "disenfranchised arbitrarily. It's a very heavy-handed approach."