It must be a shock to strongly believe in conservative ideology (I understand that) and then slowly realize that leading conservative talking heads in the media and politics spout lie after lie… after lie. We’ve seen it happen on a number of issues and with a number of people, such as with conservative D.R. Tucker, who realized the deep tragedy and ignorance of global warming denial once he dug into the science; or Republican MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel, who’s had himself and his wife threatened for expressing how ashamed he is of the anti-science focus of current Republican politicians; or Republican Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina who is shocked at most of his party’s global warming denial and its policy of basically ousting politicians from office who try to do something about this pressing matter or support clean energy too much.
Now, it looks like you can add Bob Lutz to this group. Before getting into this story though, a few quick points:
- Ever heard about a gasoline-powered car bursting into flames? Of course you have.
- Aware that you should not smoke at a gas station and that gasoline is highly flammable? Of course you are.
- Aware that a Chevy Volt battery caught fire weeks after the Volt was deliberately destroyed in safety tests in very rare circumstances, and that the result was the company addressing the issue so that it won’t happen to a Chevy Volt driver (even though it would be extremely unlikely to happen anyway)? I hope you’re aware of those details, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you aren’t, since they weren’t exactly reported on clearly by most media agencies.
- Aware that conservative media and politicians have absurdly acted as though the Chevy Volt is dangerous and flammable because of that single safety test, and that they do not even try to put the issue in context or show how much safer the Volt is than a conventional vehicle? Would be hard to have missed that — one of the favorite anti-cleantech talking points these days (yep, they don’t have much to legitimately complain about when it comes to cleantech).
Now, conservative Bob Lutz, as a former Vice Chairman at GM, is intimately familiar with the Volt. And as a former upper level manager at GM and several other car companies, Bob knows cars, in general. Also, from his high prestige and conservative ties, he has tried hard to inform conservative media and talking heads of their errors when it comes to the Volt. Guess what — no success there.
The result? Lutz has essentially given up on his conservative colleagues altogether. Here’s a full piece by Lutz published this week in Forbes (remainder of this article is from Bob Lutz via Forbes):
I’ve expended a lot of effort trying to point out the truth about the Chevy Volt fires, knowing I might not reach a broad audience but might get the chief disseminators of misinformation (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, et al) to say “Wow! I guess I didn’t realize that no Volt, (other than ones deliberately destroyed), ever showed as much as a wisp of smoke! I guess I had better retune my rhetoric!”
Such were the musings of my politically naive brain, especially since I knew O’Reilly has seen my writing because “his people” talked to me.
What happened, instead, was more cruel disappointment: In his nationally syndicated column Saturday, the intellectually gifted and highly respected Charles Krauthammer, my hero-figure on the Right, joined the rest of the prevaricators. The topic was Obama’s failed energy policy, and the litany of drilling bans and incomprehensible failure to approve the eminently useful Keystone Pipeline. So far, so good.
But, just as I was savoring Krauthammer’s prose, I see … WHAT!? … the Volt cited as yet another example of Obama’s misguided, interventionist energy policy. To make matters worse, Krauthammer could not resist attaching the adjective “flammable” to the Volt.
Now, Krauthammer is a smart, highly educated and well-informed individual. I have to assume he knows the truth. The fact that he persists in the myth of Volt combustibility and Obama-conception of the vehicle cannot be in error.
I am, sadly, coming to the conclusion that all the icons of conservatism are (shock, horror!) deliberately not telling the truth!
This saddens me, because, to this writer, conservatism IS fundamental truth. It only damages its inherent credibility with momentarily convenient fiction.
So, Mr. Krauthammer joins the list of right-wing pundits I no longer take seriously. After all, how do I know they’re telling the truth when the subject is one I’m not as familiar with as the Volt?
That does leave everyone’s trusted favorite, though. The disarmingly modest, low-key, warm, fuzzy, dependable, kind of your favorite uncle when you were growing up … the Reverend Huckabee! He wouldn’t unjustly attack the most celebrated example of American engineering of the last 30 years — or would he?
The other night on Fox, he, too, had his way with the Volt!
So who am I going to believe now? Good question!
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.