Environmentalism,  The Right,  Trade Unions

The Right vs. the Volt

As it happens, one of the best take-downs of rightwing blowhard Rush Limbaugh appeared on the website of that hotbed of leftwing anti-Americanism, Motor Trend magazine.

Ignorantly even for Limbaugh, he said on his radio show: “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

To which Motor Trend responds:

[O]ur credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.

Chevrolet has not sold one Volt because it’s not on sale yet. It will not sell 10,000 this first model year (although GE plans to buy truckloads for its fleet), because it takes time to ramp up production. See, Rush, because we’re the World’s Automotive Authority, we get access to many cars before they go on sale.

But, harrumph. In its attempt to force cars that don’t use much gas on us — how un-American/un-ExxonMobil/un-Halliburton is that? — the Obama administration is offering a $7,500 tax credit on the Chevy Volt, grabbing tax breaks and credits right out of the deserving, job-creating pockets of America’s richest individuals. How dare he?

This is another of your distortions, Rush, repeated by the otherwise more level-headed George Will in The Washington Post last Sunday. The $7,500 Obama tax credit is an expansion of President Bush’s hybrid credits from the last decade. The Obama tax credit extends to the new Nissan Leaf, too, but if you or Will slammed that car, I’ve not heard or read it. I’d be surprised if you did, though, as Nissan is building the Leaf in a non-union factory in a right-to-work state represented by two Republican senators. A factory located there because Tennessee offered Nissan big tax credits. Maybe you’re worried that if the $7,500 tax credit works, too many people will buy the Volt, and that could reduce the need for oil drilling tax credits?

Which of course gets to the heart of the three real problems that Limbaugh, Will and others on the political Right have with the Volt:

1) As a mostly-electric vehicle, the Volt is suspiciously “green”— with all that implies.

2) The Volt is produced by General Motors, a company in which the federal government temporarily holds majority ownership.

3) General Motors’s production workers are unionized.

Green, the federal government, and unions?

No wonder the Right hates the Volt.

Motor Trend concludes:

All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

A cheap shot, of course. But Limbaugh, the master of cheap shots, should appreciate it.

Your can read Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year review of the Volt here.

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