The general political attitudes taken by the left and right in the US are, sadly, divided on the issue of fuel efficient vehicles. Broadly speaking, Republicans dislike the whole idea (even going to absurd extremes like Newt Gingrich saying that inflating your tires helps Big Oil) while Democrats are in favor. The stereotype even gets in the way of people thinking that the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program is an Obama Administration creation. It's not, and was started under President Bush in 2008.

The political divide has been particularly strong when it came to Tesla Motors. Most readers probably remember when Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney attacked the automaker during a debate with President Obama. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has been fighting Tesla's moves in his state as well. But, wait, is there a change in the air?

The San Francisco Chronicle's David Baker has written an interesting story that looks at some positive statements from prominent Republicans recently, for example when Bill O'Reilly said everyone should get behind Tesla or when Texas governor Rick Perry said he supports the EV automaker selling directly to customers. Baker has an interesting take on this shift and what it might mean for upcoming elections. We recommend you head over to SFGate to read the whole thing. Here's a teaser:

Some Democrats doubt, however, that the GOP as a whole will embrace Tesla and clean tech anytime soon. Wade Randlett, a Silicon Valley executive and major Democratic fundraiser, noted the Republican Party's deep ties to the oil industry - the companies most threatened by electric cars.

Read the whole article.


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  • 78 Comments
      lad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very few politicians in Washington speak their mind; they are all hamstrung by the need for special interest money to pay for their elections. The companies that pays for their elections reap the benefits of subsides, special legislation and favorable tax treatment. The Washington politician of today is a prostitute to Big Business. As a result Washington is closed to considering the needs of ordinary Americans. Only the voice of Big Business is heard and this will continue until we can change our election processes to Public Paid Elections and get the special interest money out of Government. Perhaps then politicians will work for the best interests of the people.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @lad
        But we're working upstream now, because idiot Bush and Cheney put in the ***** Supreme Court STOOGES Roberts, Scalia and Thomas. Now giving Corporations More INCENTIVE TO CONTROL GOVERNMENT. Unless you DEMAND THE THREE STOOGES RESIGN, you're only going to see things get worse.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Right should have always been for Tesla. They just lost their way when they decided in their desperation to use Tesla to try and trash Obama. 1. Strengthens Americas energy policies in many ways. 2. Helps to get America off foreign and domestic oil. 3. Strengthens Americas foreign policies by making the country less needy and demanding. 4. Is a very powerful worldwide business. Not as important to the Right but nothing to be upset about: 5 Better for the environment. 6. It's a damn cool car that a load of fun to drive.
        no1bondfan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Very true on all counts, but see your item #2 - that's the issue for them. The conservative party is completely beholden to Big Oil. Don't you remember that fool congressman apologizing to BP after their oil leak destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of gulf coast residents? At the end of the day, it's all about the money for them, and nobody has more of it than Big Oil.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @no1bondfan
          It's about money for almost all politicians.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      Governor Perry has backed windpower and plug in cars since 2009. This is no new thing for him. http://green.autoblog.com/2009/01/28/texas-governor-supports-5-000-incentive-for-plug-in-vehicles/
        no1bondfan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ziv
        To their credit, Texas is way ahead of the curve on wind power compared to most other states.
      amaisonet13
      • 1 Year Ago
      2 big mistakes on this article, "as usual from Yahoo political commentators." #1- Bill O'reilly is not a republican (if that is what you were pretending to say), instead he is an independent. #2- mistake; our NJ Governor C.Christie has always been pro-business in NJ and has no problem getting Tesla to sell in our state but the NJ Legislation which is mostly Dems has a law in their books that does not allows to have ANY car manufacturer selling cars here without having a real "CAR DEALER". Thus article is very very flawed and kind of misleading, then again, what do you expect from Yahoo political reporters.
        Dave D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @amaisonet13
        Bill O is an Independent...and Santie Claus is going to bring us all a unicorn for Christmas! If you're not going to be serious, then don't contribute to the conversation.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave D
          Bill O is independent? Independent of a brain? He's one of the biggest senile right wing nuts in America.
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a silly, arrogant article. The problem is not clean tech, it is the amount of govt subsidy going to clean tech firms, much of it wasted, e.g., Solyndra, because he market is not ready for it and vice versa.
        bajohn3
        • 1 Year Ago
        Actually the fact that about all you can keep pointing to is Solyndra suggests that much of it is not wasted. Besides, even the money spent on Solyndra helped pay wages to workers and put money into the American economy. It's not as if the money just disappears. If a few companies fail while a few others become wildly successful it's quite worth it.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Generally speaking, conversatives aren't on the side of this or that corporation, or this or that industry. The whole notion of using the coercive power of the state ito benefit the people who vote for you or keep you in power is a left-wing concept, and when liberals wonder aloud whether Tesla has become a right-wing "darling," they're projecting their own mindset onto the other side. Conservaties support a free market. Free markets help some corporations in some circumstances, but if often hurts corporations. (The idea that corporations all have identiical interests is another liberal fiction, as is the notion that "the wealthy" all have identical interests.) Conservatives roll their eyes at Tesla and other so-called "green" corporations that survive only by taking billions of dollars from the government and then plowing much of that money back into the Democratic Party. That's an area where Tesla is an example of crony capitalism - not free market capitalism. However, on the issue of whether or not a private company should have the right to sell directly to consumers rather than being coerced by state governments into selling via politically powerful middlemen, conservatives are going to support Tesla's right to sell directly to consumers. Again, it's not Tesla that conservatives support; it's freedom. I know, I know, I know, liberals will react by saying that the GOP often supports "subsidies" for this or that industry. And that's definitely true to some extent, but it pales in comparison to the level of handouts that the Democratic Party gives out to its supporters (corporate and non-corporate). At this point, the Democratic Party appears to be nothing more than a highly elaborate looting machine, with various levels and brands of propaganda used to justify the looting. Whereas there is still a significant chunk of the GOP who longs for that brief moment in time when Western civilization discovered property rights and freedom of contract.
        • 1 Year Ago
        being able to deduct the costs of doing business is not a subsidy ... what the GOP supports are usually normal course of business cost deductions ... its liberals who call them subsidies ...
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        The Republican party is the Red Hot Miniskirt 5 Dollar Street Walking Hooker party. Everybody knows it. You'd better start reading TESLA financial statements because your just another example of the Out Of Touch Repub Fairy Tale base.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Republicans favor free markets, and are skeptical of large government subsidies to favored entities. Letting Tesla sell direct is clearly a move towards free market capitalism, hence it is supported by most Republicans. Liberals want to force their idea on everyone using the physical force of government. Conservatives want to be free to choose. That's the difference.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        Repubs favor only the markets the Koch Bros tell them to favor. Oil and Coal have had more then 100 years of subsidy, and it's still not cut, with Repubs in the house with Absolutely No Intension of cutting 1 cent from oil and coal subsidy. That's not a free market it's a distorted market, and been distorted for 100 years. But, now Solar Hires More Workers then the Coal Industry. And Solar still on track to be cheaper then ALL Other Fuels in 5 Years. Explaining why the Koch Bros funded ALEC organization has now gone to war with SMALL BUSINESS REPUBLICAN SOLAR BUSINESS OWNERS. Attempting to stop the transition to solar.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yeah, just the other day a Federal Marshall grabbed me and held a gun to my head until I bought an EV. *rollseyes*.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          And then Chris Christie said "Let the market decide!" as signed an executive order authorizing Tesla stores and cut the ribbon at the 100th Tesla SuperCharger in New Jersey. *rollseyes*.
      Weapon
      • 1 Year Ago
      The thing is, the republicans have nothing against electric cars or green technology as a whole from an ideological point of view. The only real reason the oppose it is because Democrats decided to be for it. This goes for both political parties. There are just some issues that are more political than ideological. Green technology falls into that.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Weapon
        Yes, and Repubs are going to learn about Darwin one way or another. Because this is economic Darwinism. Those who embrace EV and Solar are going to save a Lot of Money. That would be Democrats Slowly getting Richer and Richer year after year, while Repubs continue to pay high gas and diesel prices, and get Poorer and Poorer. Eventually, as Democratic states pick the Smart Policies, republican states will all collect into the Poverty States, with low economic activity and no economic innovation. Oh wait, that's already happened, the US Southern States.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Repub States to be Hard Hit by Cuts to Food Stamps, for example: - Makes the poor poorer and drives down state economic activity, slowing killing small business. The death spiral of stupid economic policy. http://swampland.time.com/2013/12/04/interactive-republicans-more-likely-to-have-constituents-who-use-food-stamps/
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Apple had 2 failures for every blockbuster. The efficiency of the electric motor, and the power of the motor, coupled with the continuous improvement in battery tech ( 20% a year battery capacity increase ), plus the venture capital money going into the sector meant that someone was going to make this a winning strategy. So far Nissan, GM and Tesla.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          You keep linking EVs and solar with investment success as if one automatically caused the other. This is simply not true. In any sufficiently large sector, you'll see both success and failures. Tesla? A great investment. But how about Fisker, Coda, Better Place, Solyndra, and A123?
        BipDBo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Weapon
        Actually the biggest reason for anti EV sentiment was it's subsidies. They didn't want tax dollars to pay for it. I think though, that there is a personal disdain for things "green" because many conservatives don't buy into the idea that human activity caused global warming exists and/or is a serious concern.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @BipDBo
          But it really isn't just 'subsidies'. They don't seem to mind subsidies for nuclear power. They don't seem to mind subsidized leases of Federal land for oil drilling, mining, and animal grazing.
          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @BipDBo
          I wouldn't bring this idiot, thug rancher into this. Maybe Foxnews network is on his side, but I wouldn't know since I don't watch it. Foxnews.com doesn't seem to be swayed to his favor. I doubt the majority of conservatives who know the story are rooting for him.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @BipDBo
          I think though, that there is a personal disdain for things "green" because many conservatives don't want to change profitable business practices that depend on fossil fuels polluting our environment.
        danfred311
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Weapon
        Weapon, not quite. republicans do whatever satan thinks he can win at the time.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @danfred311
          LOL. No. I disagree with them but they are not driven by satan. They are driven by resistance to change and denial of problems they don't want to hear about like climate change.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      THIS is what "disruption" looks like.
      • 1 Year Ago
      You have to be pretty stupid to believe that the Republican opposition to government handouts to auto makers has anything to do with big oil. There are many many reasons to oppose boondoggles and handouts to crony capitalists.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        Republicans believe in NOTHING but Corporate Control of Government. Just ask Scalia. They put into place campaign finance laws that allow corporate CEO's to Dictate policy. They're against social programs that benefit the common good and raise economic development and educational opportunity because the Libertarian Koch Bros believe in NO Government. Why so they can continue to avoid all citizen opposition to coal pollution: Every Lake and Stream in America is now polluted with Mercury from COAL. Republicans HIRE trolls to write fancy descriptions of what they "believe" but they believe in Nothing but Tax Transfer to the 1%. Absolutely Nothing Else. Proof? Your party is still lying to itself about global warming while the world see's Global Glacier Melt, Global Drought, North and South pole ice sheet melt off, Greenland Melt off and now variations in the polar vortex, making the west dryer and the east colder. Your party got hysterical about Hyperinflation, where real inflation never rose above 3%. Your party pushed for spending cuts during a recession and put Republican States into a Deeper Recession. Your party still backs tax loopholes to allow the rich to transfer money out of the country. Your party created a media generated gold bubble, that only you got fooled by, now deflating. Your party still cannot pass a budget to fix roads and bridges. Your party cannot even get a 5 cent gas tax increase. Your party, the party of "free markets" can't now find a solution to global warming, a carbon tax or a carbon market. Your party is the party of 40 YEARS of Economic FAILURE. We've all had enough.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Soros has never bribed the Supreme court for More Corporate Control. That's your Koch Bros. Secondly, you completely ignored EVERY Single Point. Let's take PRIVITIZATION for example, another dumb Republican idea. Prisons now cost 4 X more to house prisoners, and now corporations have INCENTIVE to throw more people in Jail. We've even seen Judges get KICKBACKS to feed prisons will more people and longer sentences. And what about Wall Street? Out of the 47 exchanges now in place there isn't 1 American market with Fair Trading Rules. Only the Canadian IDX market protects you from HFT FRAUD. 47 AMERICAN MARKETS ALL HFT TRADERS TO ROB YOU. Face It, the Republican Party is the Idiot ***** party. You Repubs are being robbed blind and face it Your Not Smart Enough to even know what's going on. If anyone needs to Vote Democrat, and have the Dems PROTECT YOU it's you OLD SENILE Republicans. Look, if you can't vote DEM, then don't vote, because sooner or later Your going to get Robbed by your 1% Republican "friends".
          amaisonet13
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          George Soros = convicted money launderer and european currency manipulator. (look it) and he is a big Liberal and oblame-O contributor. #2- unions unions and more unions funds going to the Dem party even if you are a republican working at a union place like I did and had not choice on how my hard earned union dues where going to be spent on. (so much for "Choice")
          mylexicon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          All corporations were allowed to participate in the political process because media corporations already had unlimited non-monetary powers of donation. Allowing one industry to control politics was considered worse than allowing all industries to have equal say in politics. Republicans are not the protectors of the bureaucratic status quo in DC. Americans currently pay $3,300 per person to fund Medicaid and Medicare. In foreign countries, $3,300 per capita will buy universal single-payer. Who's been protecting Medicaid and Medicare all of these years? Republicans?
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Not to mention the GERRYMANDERED Districts, which means the House would be under DEMOCRATIC Control without this Blatant CHEATING.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Besides a few media conservatives who get paid to live under bridges from time to time, Republicans aren't for or against a finished good. Their objection is the means by which products are brought to market. Republicans expect products to pass through the established channels of finance, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Liberals are okay with using the government to take companies from cradle to consumer. Tesla is no longer publicly financed, nor is it the recipient of massive federal subsidies, since most buyers are too wealthy to qualify for the tax credits. Furthermore, Texas has its own electrical interconnection (1 of 3 in the US) and its own electricity reliability concil. Texas also has lots of natural gas. It's perfectly normal that Texas would be courting Tesla. Political orientation is not much of a factor.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        --"Republicans aren't for or against a finished good. Their objection is the means by which products are brought to market." That argument MIGHT make sense if it weren't for the countless conservatives writing blogs, and commenting on blogs.. that routinely parrot misinformation about those "means". There are MANY MANY Republicans who still, to this very day, think Tesla is on the verge of bankruptcy and thing that Tesla is being bailed out by government grants and loans.. and they have no idea that the loan was paid back with interest early. If it were really about the "facts", why do so many Republicans continue to get those "facts" wrong? My guess is... that many Republicans listen to those " few media conservatives who get paid to live under bridges " and take everything said as truth. And they do not "object" to Tesla based on true ideology of conservatism (as you may do). But instead, hate what they are told to hate... and believe any lie that is presented as 'supporting that narrative'.
          mylexicon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          What's your point? How many liberals know that compulsory education spending in the US is higher than any other developed nation and roughly 40% higher than the OECD average? How many liberals know that we already pay enough for a single-payer system, but our government won't make the necessary reforms to Medicare/Medicaid so that we all benefit? How many liberals know that the gender pay-gap for equal experience and education is less than 2%? How many liberals know that violent gun crimes have been in freefall since the early 1990s? How many liberals know that no one else in the world uses a defined-benefit public pension or that pay-as-you-go funding model we use for Social Security is illegal in the private sector? The snarky conservative fundamentalists who cling to God, guns, and gasoline are not nearly as dangerous as liberal voters who don't understand the basics of civics or public finance.
        Dave D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        "Republicans expect products to pass through the established channels of finance, manufacturing, distribution, and retail." So, you're saying that Republicans only support existing models, even if they're not the most efficient? If Tesla can sell at a lower price directly, that's not as important as allowing NADA to force us to buy through a middleman? I'd say that's rather anti-free market. I'd say that either you're wrong in your statement or Republicans are hypocrites.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        "Republicans aren't for or against a finished good. Their objection is the means by which products are brought to market. Republicans expect products to pass through the established channels of finance, manufacturing, distribution, and retail." This statement strikes me as similar to hearing the basics of Communism. It sounds very nice on paper, but in practice it is a whole different entity that has little in common with its ideals.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        This is just not true. Conservatives have bashed the Chevy Volt massively. http://mediamatters.org/search/index?qstring=chevy+volt I can understand not liking the tax-credit and the bail-out . . . but they bashed the Volt car itself.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Republicans should have ALWAYS been for EVs & PHEVs. They just went off the rail stupid on the issue. And worse than their treatment of Tesla was their treatment of the Chevy Volt . . . or as they called it, the Government Motors Obamamobile. EVs reduce the trade deficit, reduce our reliance on a strategic commodity exported by bad actors (Putin, Iran, etc.) and notoriously unstable places (Russia, mid-East, etc.), and run on ~100% domestic electricity. EVs and PHEVs should have ALWAYS been a conservative priority and there are some hardcore conservatives that recognized it like James Woolsey and George Schulz.
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