JONATHAN CHAIT NOVEMBER 24, 2010
Rush Limbaugh lambasted Motortrend for giving its Car of the Year award to the Chevy Volt, on the grounds that nobody has purchased a Volt yet. Motortrend's Todd Lassa takes him apart:
[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. ...
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.
There's a lot more there worth reading. It's pretty interesting to watch the conservative movement add the American automotive industry to France, academia, environmentalists, and the rest of their enemies. In many parts of the Midwest, especially Michigan, the auto industry is right behind God and country. I don't see how Republicans are going to win a lot of races being attached to a party that sneers at, and diminishes the genuine accomplishments of, an industry that sits at the heart of the region's prosperity.