Sen. Bob Corker is … well, a real corker.

The Tennessee Republican is on the Senate banking committee that’s overseeing the bailout of America’s Big Three automakers, and, by gollies, he got his dander up when the three CEOs told the committee last week that they needed a $34 billion loan to survive. No way, popped the corker, unless and until you cut jobs and slash the pay of your union workers. “Before we even contemplate making a loan to these companies,” corker lectured, “we need to put in place specific and rigorous measures.”

Wow, what a tough guy! But why pounce on Detroit, when he and his colleagues so meekly gave up $700 billion of our money to Wall Street hucksters? OK, the numbskull auto bosses goobered by flying to Washington in their separate-but-equal corporate jets, failing to grasp the “optics” (corporate-speak for bad image) of pampered CEOs jetting in for a taxpayer handout.

But, wait — the honchos of Citigroup, AIG, et al. have also been jetting in and out of Washington for their gimmies, yet Corker and Co. raised no hue and cry, nor did they impose any “rigorous measures” as a condition of Wall Streeters getting taxpayer cash. Indeed, the total bailout of the financial barons — counting loans, stock purchases, guarantees and backdoor handouts by the Treasury and Federal Reserve — is nearly $8 trillion. Yes, that’s 8 followed by 12 zeroes! Amazingly, though, the beneficiaries of this phenomenal taxpayer largesse do not have to provide any public benefit in exchange, and Congress isn’t even being told where most of the money has gone.

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