May 30

Earlier this week, I linked to Dan Henninger’s column titled, “Obama vs. The Beach Boys“. I thought the column was excellent, but I wasn’t necessarily surprised when it didn’t register more than average traffic statistics on this blog. Poking around tonight, I discovered the video on WSJ Online where Hennninger discusses the same column. The video is even more effective than the original column.

I’ve transcribed Henninger’s commentary, and edited out the questions, as his comments are of much more value than the questions that set him up:

I don’t think people really realize what’s coming. These are going to be very, very small cars. They are not going to be anything like the famous cars of the past, and…cars were really part of the warp and woof of American life, and if you think back, and especially as they sort of featured in American songs, The Beach Boys, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “Shut Down”, “Little Deuce Coupe”. Bruce Springsteen is famous for his car songs, “Along the Jersey Shore”, “Thunder Road”, “Born to Run”, I mean they just celebrated an entire culture. And I think that just going to be all swept away by these new car standards, and I don’t think the American public quite realizes what’s being lost….I think the debate even predated global warming. There was always two different world views, some of it was beneath the environmental movement, and it was that it sort of ran counter to, I think, the culture that cars represented. It wasn’t just about cars, it was about an American way of thinking about the world – dynamic, open, fast, open to possibility. The idea that global warming movement and the environmentalists is that we have to survive…throttle down, be more careful, and being careful isn’t really part of the traditional American ethos, taking chances is part of that ethos. So I think there is a real tension here between the politics that’s going on right now, and that which has existed long before that….I think the politicians, by and large, are completely intimidated by this movement, sort of green ethos, and there won’t be much push-back, but I think once guys start going into those show rooms, and start seeing that every one of the cars has about a 100 inch wheelbase, which is really, really small, they’re going to go, “time out”, and I think there could be a crack-back at that point.

I couldn’t agree more with Henninger on all of these points. Are we really willing to flush a huge portion of American culture down the toilet over an imagined problem? Moreover, the problem is not just culture related to American rock-and-roll songs, and the hot rods and muscle cars that inspired them. It’s SUV’s, of course. But, it’s not just SUV’s, it’s mini-vans. Most folks are aware that the larger SUV’s, such as the GORE LIED staff GMC Yukon, aren’t on the upper end of the fuel efficiency standards. But, most seem to forget that the good old mini-van also fails most environmentalists idea of a fuel efficient vehicle, i.e. the 2009 Honda Odyssey mini-van gets 17 MPG in the city, and 25 MPG on the highway.

This weekend is my son’s Little League Jamboree. I arrived in the parking lot bright and early this morning, and about 75% of the cars were either SUV’s or mini-vans. I didn’t see a Prius in the entire lot, nor a Smart Car for that matter. The drivers were driving these SUV’s and mini-vans because they needed them. Smart cars just won’t do when you are trying to transport dad, mom, the Little Leaguer, his little brother, his little sister, the Little Leaguer’s gear (bat or bats, glove, and helmet), four lawn chairs, and a cooler for snacks and drinks for all. When these new CAFE standards kick-in, Henninger is exactly right that there will be a back-lash, and not just from the fans of The Beach Boys.

The loss of American automobile culture due to President Obama’s new CAFE standards is even greater than Henninger imagined.

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3 Responses to “WSJ Video: Most Americans don’t really realize that Obama’s new CAFE standards will destroy American automobile culture”

  1. Brian G Valentine says:

    So – How’s that “hopey-changey” thing working out for you these days?

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  2. […] The Wall Street Journal in response to this Dan Henninger column, and this video that accompanied it: Thanks for putting the blame squarely on the pointy heads of the […]

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