Photo via CSMonitor
Politico reports that Rush Limbaugh spent a huge chunk of yesterday's radio broadcast lambasting the Chevy Volt and the tax credits supporting them. Through the course of his ranting, it became clear -- as it so often does -- that Limbaugh has no idea what he's talking about. In it, he asserted that "nobody wants" electric cars, and that they amount to nothing more than overpriced AIDS ribbons that allow their owners to "show everybody how much better [they] are than everybody else." How ignorant is Limbaugh? Let me count the ways. Most of Limbaugh's complaints are of the good ol' fashioned ignoramus variety: People only want to buy things like electric cars so they prove they're better than everybody else! Nobody wants them, otherwise they wouldn't need support from the government! And others are made primarily to attack Obama. But every single one of them is way off base. For instance, consider this little gem:
"OK, $30,000 for Prius, $41,000 for a Chevy Volt and 10 cents for a red AIDS ribbon," he said. "Look how much the cost has gone up to show how much you care. You used to be able to show everybody how superior you were and how much you cared with a 10-cent red ribbon. Now you gotta spend 30 grand or 41 grand on a car to show everybody how much better you are than everybody else."Sigh. This is perhaps beyond Rush's understanding, but someone should try to explain to him that there are human beings in the world who -- unlike him -- do things simply because they think it's the right thing to do. Not every deed must necessarily inflate the ego of the doer -- though this is certainly a foreign concept to Limbaugh. Most people are concerned about air pollution and climate change, and feel that buying an electric car would be part of the solution, period.
Second, plenty of people want electric cars. The Nissan Leaf is already overloaded with pre-orders. The Volt is stoking tons of interest. They are somewhat prohibitively priced, but all new technology is at first. Finally, there are plenty of good reasons why we need electric car subsidies, and none of them are foolish or sinister. I addressed that topic at length yesterday.
Limbaugh also demonstrates how little he knows about electric cars, wondering to his audience why they take 3 hours to charge. Why Politico ran an entire one-sided story giving Limbaugh a platform to rail against EVs is another matter altogether -- the news organization's right-wing leaning is starting to show through the seams a little more every day, I suppose.
But the reason I posted on this today is to try to head off some of the vapid criticism that's about to be directed at electric cars in the coming months -- the debut of the Volt and the Leaf is close at hand, and there are plenty of folks who would love to see them fail. And as we've seen today, those opponents will say just about anything, no matter how stupid, tired, or debunked, to make EV supporters look bad. It's not going to work this time.