The Netroots, Brought to You By the Auto Lobby


We’ve wrung hands before over the seeming disinterest of the "progressive" left in reducing automobile dependence. But it was still a shock to see Daily Kos enshrouded in advertising for Auto Innovation, a project of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

A self-described "leading advocacy group for the automobile industry on a range of public policy issues," the purpose of the Alliance seems mostly to sell the public on how keen carmakers are on using technology to advance the cause of environmental stewardship (though the mythological "green" car of the future, whatever it is, remains tantalizingly out of reach). The group’s presence on Kos makes the usual MSM buy look subtle.

So what’s the angle here? Are car manufacturers afraid of losing the lefty base? Aren’t car-ad bereft Free Republic readers just as interested in innovations like soy seating foam?

  • Autoworkers unions, and people who think that technology will give us a magic super car at any moment are regular features of the broader progressive scene. I spend a good deal of time at DailyKos and enjoy some of the posts there. I’ve had positive responses to my calls to fun public transit and Amtrak but ambivalence confusing and some anger over issues like congestion pricing. No one even knows what I’m talking about. And then they say I’m a libertarian.

  • Admit it Susan – Libertarians don’t want to force people into buying corporate made cars over the freedom of choice that public transit offers….um, wait.

  • Everything’s so goddamned subsidized six ways to sunday that libertarianism means nothing in America unless you first spend a week doing conceptual excavation and spelunking.

    Most libertarians crap on public transit funding on grounds it’s “directly” subsidized, but (apparently) lack the mental wherewithal to understand how the auto/gas/oil/rubber/steel industries are a symbiotic part of the regime itself.

    They’re also too clueless re history (this goes for all Americans, not just libertarians) to know that what’s currently called public transit used to be extremely private transit, nay, the very bastion of the capitalist ethos. In the 1890s train tycoons sat at Manhattan roundtables with banksters plotting evasion of wage-and-price-controls on their industries.

    Worldly, conscious libertarians should be arguing vociferously for the end of all transit subsidies of any kind, while simultaneously buying all the out Alstom and Bombardier stock they can get their paws on.

    But America without subsidies of any kind is virtually inconceivable to today’s population.

    I don’t see a way out.

  • At the first Yearly Kos convention, the panel on energy proposed subsidizing fuel-efficient cars at the expense of inefficient ones. If I remember correctly, the proposal was that for every mpg in your car below the national average you’d be taxed an extra $200, and for every mpg above the average you’d get a $200 tax credit.

    At the time I didn’t know enough to say, “I ride the subway – what tax credit do I get?” or even, “So if I buy a Prius I get $4,000 a year in tax credit?”.


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