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Ad Wars: Riding the Gas Issue

As gas prices continue to hover around $4 a gallon, American energy policy has emerged as a potent issue in the fall elections. Both parties are grappling with ways to turn the issue to their advantage, with Democrats blaming "Big Oil" and Republicans arguing that the majority party has blocked attempts to provide relief to the average family.

How incumbents and challengers handle the issue will likely prove critical to the outcome of a series of races this fall. Michigan Republican Rep. Tim Walberg, who finds himself in a dogfight with state Sen. Mark Schauer (D), is trying a novel approach in a new ad that shows him downsizing from his pickup truck to a Harley (and wearing a trademark orange Harley shirt!).

Does the ad work? Why or why not?

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 12, 2008; 11:25 AM ET
 
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Comments

Oh, and PeterClarke, above?

Dude-- You're a dick.

Substance over nonsense, buddy.

Posted by: Sheik Yoboudi | August 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yup; the ad works. What with the "light country" guitar in the background, the Harley and the macho truck, this Republican is presented as an Every-Man, who feels the pain of an Every-Man's financial burden. Doesn't take the expected Republican talking points, calling for oil, oil, and more oil; an effective ad.

Posted by: SheikYoboudi | August 13, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama has bought over 10,000 ads in the florida market alone. Mccain hasn't bought any by the way. I hope you don't actually believe anyone is paid to post no blogs like this? No one reads these things. Half the posts are the same dozen posters over and over plus an assortment of whack jobs. The posters here who believe that silly stuff flatter themselves.

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The poster at 8:44 is not offended - it is simply the paid staffers at the Obama campaign calling someone "racist" everytime the Obama campaign does not like the TRUTH.

Obama paid staffers your shift is over!


Obama contributors: Be aware your money is going to pay staffers who harrass and intimidate posters who are exercising their First Amendment rights on the internet.

.
Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 10:53 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Someone who actually understands this.
=======
McCain's drilling proposal is a joke...on Americans.

The United States and its coastal areas have just 3% - THREE PERCENT - of the world's oil reserves. That's nothing, especially when you consider that we import 25% of the WORLD'S exports.

Oil companies don't drill unless a seismic survey shows it's pretty likely there's something there. This is particularly true for offshore drilling, which is incredibly expensive and difficult. So if the drilling ban is lifted, the oil companies usually WON'T drill even though they can.. because there is very little oil here in the US.

This drilling issue is a REPUBLICAN SMOKESCREEN that they're using as an excuse to take advantage of the American energy crisis. They are about to ruin our chance to get a renewable electricity generation system in place, which would be a disaster. So LET EM DRILL! They won't do it anyway (e.g. the 68 million acres of leases they refuse to drill on now).

In 10 years when the the GOPers have no excuse left on oil and oil prices, they will be forced to change or they will become 4th Party gadflies.
Posted by: Bemused | August 12, 2008 10:26 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

The poster at 8:44 is not offended - it is simply the paid staffers at the Obama campaign calling someone "racist" everytime the Obama campaign does not like the TRUTH.

Obama paid staffers your shift is over!


Obama contributors: Be aware your money is going to pay staffers who harrass and intimidate posters who are exercising their First Amendment rights on the internet.

.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The Center for Responsive Politics finds that McCain has accepted over $1 million from the oil and gas industry. Many of McCain's top advisers have lobbied for big oil, which is why he now acts in their best interests, opposing environmental legislation and alternative energy plans.

McCain is desperate to distance himself from Bush. But according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain has received millions in donations from the same oil, coal, nuclear, chemical, utility, and auto companies that helped the Bush administration create its energy plan—a plan that has raised gasoline to $4 a gallon.

Full story here:
http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/42047-the-real-mccain-big-oil-fuels-the-straight-talk-express

Posted by: McCain = Bush's third term | August 12, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

McCain's drilling proposal is a joke...on Americans.

The United States and its coastal areas have just 3% - THREE PERCENT - of the world's oil reserves. That's nothing, especially when you consider that we import 25% of the WORLD'S exports.

Oil companies don't drill unless a seismic survey shows it's pretty likely there's something there. This is particularly true for offshore drilling, which is incredibly expensive and difficult. So if the drilling ban is lifted, the oil companies usually WON'T drill even though they can.. because there is very little oil here in the US.

This drilling issue is a REPUBLICAN SMOKESCREEN that they're using as an excuse to take advantage of the American energy crisis. They are about to ruin our chance to get a renewable electricity generation system in place, which would be a disaster. So LET EM DRILL! They won't do it anyway (e.g. the 68 million acres of leases they refuse to drill on now).

In 10 years when the the GOPers have no excuse left on oil and oil prices, they will be forced to change or they will become 4th Party gadflies.

Posted by: Bemused | August 12, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah JR. such hostility, it must be hard being mad all the time. That was a temper tantrum only a mother could love. As it comes to energy independence, you can't conserve your way out of this hole. Al Gore isn't doing anything but lining his pocketbooks while building a house with a 21,000$ a month energy bill, sounds hypocritical if you ask me. He can fly coach like the rest of us. If you want the rest of the country to sacrifice, take the first step and make a sacrifice yourself. I'm not in the business of defending energy companies, because we still are recovering from the Enron scam in Texas. This is hyperbole about conservatives killing our kids is just making your daily kos buddies feel cozy but it doesn't advance any part of this discussion. The only amusing part about the record profits of the oil industry is that we tax their companies at a higher rate then any other industry. We already have 50% of their profits coming in as taxes, and thats more bureaucratic programs to make your side happy. I WANT us to move away from oil, but we are still YEARS away from that. We need to buy ourselves some time to make the transition. If you have actually spent time in the business world, and have gone through a merger, you know you have a transition time, that's what we need now.

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid I built a car when I was 16 and had a dozen Harleys over the years. These guys you see on a bike today, half could not find the spark plug. These guys are biker want-to-be's with AMX gold cards. Nothing wrong with that but, you know.

----------------
"Harley riders still view themselves as independent thinkers and ruggedly self-reliant individualists."

Do you even know how much a Harley costs?, you have to be a professional to afford one, most harley riders ARE conformists these days, it's the dream they've bought.

And, I seem to see more Harleys on the road than most other brand of bike, so much for "independent thinking" and being an "individualist"

Posted by: JR | August 12, 2008 7:32 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Harley riders still view themselves as independent thinkers and ruggedly self-reliant individualists."

Do you even know how much a Harley costs?, you have to be a professional to afford one, most harley riders ARE conformists these days, it's the dream they've bought.

And, I seem to see more Harleys on the road than most other brand of bike, so much for "independent thinking" and being an "individualist"

Posted by: JR | August 12, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

To Texas Proud (of what I can't possibly imagine)

"The point i was making was that even saving 10 cents is still worth a lot to people."
If you think you will save any money you are naive.

"if are oil platforms can withstand Katrina, they can withstand anything."
Wrong again, over 163 oil rigs were completely destroyed spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/07/18/mccain-rigs/

" The real inconveniencing you should be referencing is the Hollywood Liberals, and Al Gore, who fly on private jets, live in homes with electric bills ten times the average electric bill, and tell the middle class families to not buy SUVs because its bad for the environment."
You are talking about very small numbers here, Al Gore HAS to fly from location to location to get the word out, the message that he has spread has done more to help the environment than it has hurt by him traveling, you are just repeating the ill-fated logic you see on Fox news.

"I know the liberal tendency is to react against anything that might benefit a large corporation"
Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 3:50 PM
That is because the oil companies are making record profits while we struggle and their product which we have no other choice but to buy is ruining the future for our children, do you really think they care about you, your family, your children, our future, or the health of the our environment?, more plundering of resources is not what we need, we need to move away from oil completely, what possible argument could you have against that?

It's been the "liberals" that have been pushing for renewable energy for over 35 years and the conservatives or Republicans that have blocked every measure they possibly could to preserve the market for big oil. If you want to blame someone for high prices and a polluted world and our kids dying in the middle east, blame yourself and your ilk.

Posted by: JR | August 12, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

They will just move their interests. Many already see their future elsewhere. Truth is though, oil companies haven't really made anymore profit today then they did 10 years ago. Still around 8%.

---------
The oil companies really screwed up this time by being overtly greedy because they started an irreversible tide towards green, renewable energy in the conscious of the American people and it has now become a political issue.

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for the obscene profits for the oil companies.

Posted by: JR | August 12, 2008 6:53 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The oil companies really screwed up this time by being overtly greedy because they started an irreversible tide towards green, renewable energy in the conscious of the American people and it has now become a political issue.

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for the obscene profits for the oil companies.

Posted by: JR | August 12, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Nothing can be an instant fix right now, except the market itself, and the is starting to work slightly now as our dollar rises a little. I think what we should be doing now is thinking alternate fuels for 5 years from now. Regardless of how much we drill, Saudia Arabia has the largest proven reserves, with 261.9 billion barrels, the USA has 29.5 billion barrels. Iran has 125.8 bill, Iraq with 115.(www.eia.doe.gov) We use over 60% of our oil (foreign and domestic) on transportation.(www.instituteforenergyresearch.org) , so why wouldn't a serious change in our automobile industry take care of our foreign energy dependency? I sure don't want to go through this price jump every time OPEC decides to. This isn't the first time they've used oil against us, and as long as we depend on that corrupt 'oil cartel', it won't be the last.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Drilling will not lower the price, thats the con you are being fed, in fact the new oil will be so costly to get it will cost you more then today. If you are worried about oil independence then drill, but if you are worried about cost, it make no difference. You will not save anything.

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Michael,

This might surprise you, but some of us actually need trucks for our jobs and day to day lives. I love my truck, and I will probably end up trading it in, when I am able to. The point i was making was that even saving 10 cents is still worth a lot to people. If you live in Texas, you are going to do a lot of driving, that's just a fact. We aren't jeopardizing anyone's coastline, if are oil platforms can withstand Katrina, they can withstand anything. I think too many people need to switch to decaf because we are getting too animated, and this entire discussion becomes moot. The real inconveniencing you should be referencing is the Hollywood Liberals, and Al Gore, who fly on private jets, live in homes with electric bills ten times the average electric bill, and tell the middle class families to not buy SUVs because its bad for the environment. I know the liberal tendency is to react against anything that might benefit a large corporation, but sometimes, the OBVIOUS answer is the correct answer. We should first have the oil companies finish the exploration in the areas they are cleared to drill in now, then have them start exploration in areas we know have large reserves. We don't let anybody off the hook for this. Conservation is part of it, but its only part, it isn't the entire solution. I don't need Daily Kos or moveon.org's talking points, any rational person laughs at them the way they do Ann Coulter

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 3:50 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I should add, that is the catch-22, it is only worth doing at todays price.

------------
drilling will only maybe make us less dependent on foreign oil, it will not bring the price down a cent. Most analysts say the cost per barrel may be as much as $100.00 just to get it to market before any profit can be seen. It is just meant to get us from under their thumb of foreign oil not save us money, thats the con people are falling for. The new oil will be so costly to get the price for it will actually be more. Should the world wide price drop then it will become cost prohibitive to even try to get it. Unless the government wants to go into the oil business this whole thing is one big con.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:42 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Michael,

This might surprise you, but some of us actually need trucks for our jobs and day to day lives. I love my truck, and I will probably end up trading it in, when I am able to. The point i was making was that even saving 10 cents is still worth a lot to people. If you live in Texas, you are going to do a lot of driving, that's just a fact. We aren't jeopardizing anyone's coastline, if are oil platforms can withstand Katrina, they can withstand anything. I think too many people need to switch to decaf because we are getting too animated, and this entire discussion becomes moot. The real inconveniencing you should be referencing is the Hollywood Liberals, and Al Gore, who fly on private jets, live in homes with electric bills ten times the average electric bill, and tell the middle class families to not buy SUVs because its bad for the environment. I know the liberal tendency is to react against anything that might benefit a large corporation, but sometimes, the OBVIOUS answer is the correct answer. We should first have the oil companies finish the exploration in the areas they are cleared to drill in now, then have them start exploration in areas we know have large reserves. We don't let anybody off the hook for this. Conservation is part of it, but its only part, it isn't the entire solution. I don't need Daily Kos or moveon.org's talking points, any rational person laughs at them the way they do Ann Coulter

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

My gas bill is around $40.00 a month for a 2003 ford Escort. I spent more when the price of gas was lower but once you begin to conserve, drive better combine trips it is amazing how much you were actually wasting. I also get around 40 mph in a car that at best is supposed to get 28. There are things you can do to improve mileage. It becomes a game after a while.

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TexasProud...if you're sucking $300 per month in gas, then aren't you part of the problem? Have you considered downsizing your vehicles? No? You'd rather jeopardize someone else's coastline and means to make a living than for YOU to be inconvenienced.

I can't imagine what you are proud of (with respect to this issue).

BTW, ask Galveston residents what they think of oilspills...

Posted by: michael4 | August 12, 2008 3:32 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

drilling will only maybe make us less dependent on foreign oil, it will not bring the price down a cent. Most analysts say the cost per barrel may be as much as $100.00 just to get it to market before any profit can be seen. It is just meant to get us from under their thumb of foreign oil not save us money, thats the con people are falling for. The new oil will be so costly to get the price for it will actually be more. Should the world wide price drop then it will become cost prohibitive to even try to get it. Unless the government wants to go into the oil business this whole thing is one big con.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

TexasProud...if you're sucking $300 per month in gas, then aren't you part of the problem? Have you considered downsizing your vehicles? No? You'd rather jeopardize someone else's coastline and means to make a living than for YOU to be inconvenienced.

I can't imagine what you are proud of (with respect to this issue).

BTW, ask Galveston residents what they think of oilspills...

Posted by: michael4 | August 12, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It's all Bush's and Cheney's fault. Does Haliburton have an interest in all this? I bet Alberto Gonzalez is now on their Board of Directors. You can't pull the wool over our eyes. You're just padding the pockets of the wealthy elite.

Power to the people, at least the ones we've been waiting for. A shaft of light will soon descend upon you and direct you how to vote. We will save all you stupid misdirected Republicans who are foolishly clinging to your Bibles and guns. Who needs god when we have Obama? Has God lowered the price of gasoline? Barack can. What dollar bill should we put Barack's picture on? Onward Obama soldiers.

Posted by: DemsDaFacts | August 12, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

If you want to sign the bi-partisan petition to ask Congress to drill here and drill now go to - americansolutions.com - to add your name!

Posted by: Eileen | August 12, 2008 12:37 PM
-------------------

Why? What for? What does that solve? Drill where? It's nothing more than a sound bite. Good gracious are you gullible.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It seems like this topic is getting a little overheated and being overrun with mudslinging. And we wonder why Congress has approval ratings in the single digits, and a president following close behind them. I wouldn't want the oil companies writing our energy policy like i wouldn't want greenpeace writing it. All I am hearing from people is drilling won't work, or it will only lower it 10 cents. If you are like me and average 300 dollars a month in gas, that's stil over a 100 dollars a year. With China already drilling off our coast in the first place, I would rather our companies who face actual environmental restrictions pulling it out, then letting a country with no standards doing it instead. I am open to other views on this discussion, I'm not claiming to have all the answers. I also know that many of the people who are opposed to drilling, wouldn't be swayed regardless of the outcome. I don't believe there is a short-term answer, but I think most rational people would still like something done. What I do find interesting is that people from the energy industry (I am from Texas and everyone knows someone who is in the industry) will tell you it will take 5 years maximum for us to get significant amounts of oil from our domestic drilling instead of the ten years democrats are claiming it to be. From an economic sense, if it was going to take ten years, none of the oil companies would invest in offsite drilling.

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

there will be NO real reductions in prices until demand is lessened. Demand-driven pricing is inherently the problem as more and more Chinese and Indians prosper and can afford to buy cars to replace their scooters.

With more than a billion people and little regard for the air pollution standard emissions vehicles create, China's prosperity is the main driver of the growing demand for oil. Reduced driving here (a product of affordability-created rationing which hits the middle class and less prosperous families very hard) and more efficient cars will be offset by the growing demand in China and India.

Who wins? OPEC and its fellow travelers. their accumulation of dollars and euros means huge wealth transfers to them and they in turn can buy up American companies and real estate. It's happening now and will accelerate.

There is some self-correction in that it's in the Saudis best interests not to let oil prices rise too high as a means of dampening enthusiasm and investment in alternative energy technologies, something they did after the great price rises of the 70s and 80s. That's why those investments in alternative technologies were not made then, and why we became a nation of gas-eating SUV drivers.

Also, the increased cost of transporting goods across the Pacific and elsewhere means that Chinese goods will cost more here and that will drive down demand for cheap toaster and LCD TVs made there, not to mention Chinese steel (they're now the world's largest steel producer).

Australia's extractive industries will continue to boom as they ship raw materials (bauxite, iron ore, etc.) to China because of its proximity to them - keeps the costs down for Chinese producers bec ause shipping costs are lower as compared to other sources of raw materials).

Posted by: David E | August 12, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - "Gud dag" to your wife. As for your information, note on page 45 that the registration tax is REDUCED on passenger vehicles by up to 3/5, depending on the energy efficiency (MPG) of the vehicle and vehicles getting less than the target of 25k/l (roughly 30 MPG) receive no discount and, instead, pay a penalty. The difference ebtween Denmark and Sweden is that the registration tax is paid once in Denmark and annually in Sweden. The effect is the same, consumers are encouraged to purchase and drive automobiles that have good fuel efficiency and are discouraged from buying or driving vehicles with poor fuel efficiency. The net effect of this is energy indeoendence!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No. Same crap from eveyone. He might as well include burning cow dung...just to be a little different than EVERYONE ELSE. Generalized platitudes don't help.

It's okay to mention along with other issues, but don't make the whole focus on it. Big deal.

Posted by: michael4 | August 12, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Brooks, my info comes from my wife, who lived in DK for 10 years. Perhaps my calling it a sales tax is what gets your dander up. According to the below source, the registration tax is apparently applied at the time of sale - when getting license plates. Effectively the same thing I was talking about.

http://www.skm.dk/public/dokumenter/publikationer/Skatten-i-Danmark/2007/tax_in_denmark_2007.pdf

"For new cars, the registration tax is generally calculated as 105% of the part of the dutiable value under DKK 65,900 (2007) and 180% on the part of the dutiable value exceeding DKK 65,900...

For second-hand cars brought to Denmark, the tax is calculated according to the same principle as for new cars but the progression amount limits are less. For a passenger car between 1 and 2 years old, the registration tax of 105% is calculated on DKK 46,600 and 180% on the rest. The table below gives an overview of how the progression limit is graduated along with the age of the car."

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

A lot of you think this is an opportunity to hash out the issue of how to deal with the energy crisis. Problem is, as someone who lives in West Michigan and has been watching this campaign, neither Walberg or Schauer have the least interest in doing something about energy. The thing is, when you get down to it, neither does their constituency, except to the extent that they'd like to pay less to drive their cars. Walberg couldn't get on something like a Vespa; that'd be political suicide in this district. Same with using a hybrid (maybe a Ford Explorer hybrid would work). But either way, that's a little too exotic for this district. Remember, the district they're running in is very conservative, and not very sophisticated; Jackson, Battle Creek, and a lot of farmland in between. The ad probably makes as revolutionary a change as the district would stand for. By the way, does Walberg remember Michigan winters?

The real problem with the ad is Walberg; he looks like one of the damn dirty apes from "Planet of the Apes." A little hard to take this ad seriously when that connection is playing in one's head.

Posted by: garmoore | August 12, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - You STILL don't know what you're talking about. There is no special sales tax in Denmark on vehicles. There is only a regular energy tax, a road tax, if you will, similar to the escalating charge used by most utilities for water useage, but their road tax is based on miles driven and on fuel efficiency. As for your comment about seats having something to do with this, it is sheer and utter nonsense. There are no such regulations. You don't know what you're talking about!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

brooks - I see you still haven't learned how to have a respectful discussion. First you claim I don't know what I'm talking about, then proceed to confirm what I said. Thanks. For what it was worth, I was talking about a sales tax that drives the initial cost of vehicles - both used & new - enormously high, relative to here (the US). I did not comment on the efficiency tax.

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

TexasProud - Well, a lot of people, myself included, did see this coming, wrote about it, and were ignored. Hybrid's could be an answer, but they wont. American consumers are wedded to the notion of horsepower. Most of the hybrid's being sold today are 6 cylinder engines which save a pathetic amount of fuel. I wrote a proposal for the Post a few years back for adding an infrastrcuture (induction engines) that would allow hybrid motors to run on electricity alone, but I have become convinced since that time that the average consumer is too stupid and wasteful to use that technology properly.

In Europe, where two or three children and a mom and dad, are about as normal as they are here, people do just fine with small cars. A Prius will hold five passangers and luggage just fine. But, that is beside the point. The norm is a single person in a vehicle. All you ave to do is drive down a freeway any day of the week and you will find that the vast majority of vehicles have only a driver and most of them are gas hogs. State figures and Department of Transportation statistics bear this out - 2/3 of the vehicles on roads are single occupancy and most of those are big SUV's or pickup's like your's.

bsimon - I LIVED in Sweden (Gothenburg) and regularly travel to Denmark. I don't know where you get your information, but it is so wrong that I am tempted to think you just made it up. Denamrk, just like Sweden, has an annual tax on passenger vehicles that ius based on their energy efficiency. A car or truck (and SUV's are considered CARS, NOT trucks, as they are here) that gets an MPG figure less than the standardard is taxed at an ever increasing rate, the farther iyt gets from the standard. As a consequence, a big SUV would have an annual energy tax of 12,000 or more kronnor ($2,000 U.S. = 12,000 kronnor. A vehicle that exceeds the target efficiency receives an actual tax rebate. And, as for the cost of fuel, you bet it's high. The average cost is around $9 U.S. per gallon, but considering what that fool of a President has done to the U.S. dollar, the price would be around $4.50 a gallon if the dollar hadn't been shoved into a toilet and flushed. But, even with that, instead of all of that money flowing into some investor's pocket or back to some oil company, the excess money, all of it, funds a mass transit system that will carry you anywhere you wish to go in Europe. The vast majority of people take the bus to work or for pleasure becasue it is cheap, clean, safe, on time, and convenient. I and my friends, in Sweden, loaded our hunting rifles and shotguns onto buses and trams and trains and went into the most remote parts of the North for hunting trips. We took a tram from the city center to a really good beat on the Gota Elv for salmon fishing and brought our catch back with us in the evening! (Of course we had cars, but cars were reserved for grocery shopping or day trips out in the country for sightseeing.)

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

rust belt girl writes
"This is not an effective ad for the audience that Walberg needs to win. Your run-of-the-mill Republican would think this was a great ad, because it reinforces what they already believe. It sells the message that by 'down grading' to a mere Harley, you can use less gas and conserve energy, regardless of the mention of alternative sources - the visual has a much greater impact."

While what you say about Harley's is true, the ad still works because he is relating his own behavior to the same decisions made by voters every day. It doesn't matter that he's choosing between a shiny pickup and a harley - people choosing between a beat up buick and riding the bus can still relate.

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: "IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE" - Can It? | August 12, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

peterclarke writes
"When we all are driving gas efficient cars or electric cars etc. what is going to replace the 60 billion in annual revenues the fed and states collect from the gas and fuel taxes?"

Gov Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has proposed a fee/tax based on mileage driven to replace the gas tax. To argue that we can't replace petroleum as a fuel source because fuel taxes are the only possible way to fund road construction is a rather absurd position to take.

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

sorry, he did have his helmet. no freakouts, please.

Posted by: rust belt girl | August 12, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The Fix raises an interesting question. While it is amusing to read how the rest of you will find any platform available to spout off (even if you've copied it from some e-mail you've received that's instructed you to spread the word all over America, land of sheep), the question itself merits some consideration.

This is not an effective ad for the audience that Walberg needs to win. Your run-of-the-mill Republican would think this was a great ad, because it reinforces what they already believe. It sells the message that by 'down grading' to a mere Harley, you can use less gas and conserve energy, regardless of the mention of alternative sources - the visual has a much greater impact.

The problem is, Harely's are NOT fuel-efficient, especially for city-trips, which is how they're most often used (Sturgis not-withstanding). And, they are more expensive than many cars. So, he's preaching to the audience he already has - the elite who can own a big fancy gas-guzzling truck and a snazzy two-wheeled gas-guzzling toy.
Problem is, Michigan and its neighbor Ohio, have been hard hit by the slowing economy, especially because they were focused on a few major sources of income - factories, constuction, and other blue-collar labor. These people cannot afford a Harley.
The idea of freedom is an interesting one, but I don't think that's his aim. And, he's obvioulsly not the guy down the street - the people he's trying to reach will think he's trying to hard. Think Hilary doing shots and Obama bowling.
The comment about MI rainy and cold only adds to the point that he's not one of the people he's trying to get to vote for him. Besides, where's his helmet? It's a state law.

Posted by: rust belt girl | August 12, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I think the effectiveness lies in the fact that it makes conservation look macho. He's driving a Harley, not one of those liberal pansy mobiles that run off rainbows and butterflies. Even the name "No Excuses" has the sound of someone who removes blood stains with even more blood.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I am sure it will work great with Harley owners, but this election is going to be won by whomever can capture the female vote. And most suburban housewives who have kids to drop off and errands to run can't just get a Hog and ride into the sunset.

BTW that should be the democratic response.

Posted by: Andy R | August 12, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It better. Walberg might be a bit too conservative for that district.

Posted by: varnson | August 12, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This sounds a lot like Paris Hilton's energy plan.

Posted by: Bill J | August 12, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

When we all are driving gas efficient cars or electric cars etc. what is going to replace the 60 billion in annual revenues the fed and states collect from the gas and fuel taxes? Also lets look at the Junior Senator Obama's unconstitutional windfall oil tax proposal for 09.......Obama the Junior Senator, is not for free trade nor is he for capitalism. His proposed $1,000-per family energy rebate to be paid for by a tax on excessive American oil company profits confirms his anti capitalism ideas.
The Junior Senator Barack Hussein Obama, is taking positions very similar to those of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez! Is his next step to nationalize the oil companies and then the Banks, the pharmaceutical companies, the coal companies etc. etc.?
Let the voters not forget that Junior Senator Obama has 4 years experience in politics and that is it.......keep smiling.....

Posted by: peterclarke | August 12, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Texas Proud: Although name-calling blunts the effectiveness of anyone's message, mlbrooks is NOT ignorant. You suggest that we need a short-term fix to get oil prices back down to give us breathing room to make the shift to a less-oil dependent future. The problem is there really IS no short-term fix for this one. Oil demand world-wide is rising and will never be cheap again. The good news is that higher prices will force us to stop subsidizing an industry that has gotten a free ride for a long time and start focusing upon renewables. I agree that it is always the family with a modest income who is hurt when the market fluctuates and we are going to have to enact conservation measures as you rightly indicate. The fact is, however, that there is NO WAY more drilling can bring prices down in the short-run or the long-run. If new drilling doesn't pay off in under 8 years at best, it seems to me we are better served by sucking it up and getting busy improving the electrical grid and building windmills--it won't take any longer and will pay off much more handsomely in the long run.

Posted by: dch | August 12, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

TexasProud writes
"We need to short term relief, perhaps putting some of the strategic oil reserve into the market and start drilling."

Isn't that what Sen Obama recently proposed (and was accused of 'flip flopping' for)?

Regarding the ad, it's effective. Walberg makes a good connection with regular people who are changing their behavior due to high gas prices. He talks about multiple solutions to the problem. It's a good ad. Not exactly a prime example of motorcycle safety, but a good ad.

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Eileen just won herself a McCain pin or free bumper sticker for her entry!

Seriously, McCain's drilling plan sounds a lot like Bush's Iraq war plan: Take bogus information and act upon it in a rushed and reckless way.

Posted by: Scrapster | August 12, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks97 writes
"If you want to genuinely achieve energy independence, you will emulate Denmark -- where they happen to have acheived it! Tax the snott out of SUV's and big trucks. Denmark has an annual energy tax on passanger vehicles."

The tax rate on cars in DK is something around 100%. SUVs as we know them are basically nonexistent there. A friend's son drives a 'truck', but its a work truck (basically a van) with only two seats - the tax rate jumps enormously if there are more than 2 seats. When I was there (3.5 yrs ago), it was cheaper for us to take the train to Sweden & rent a car there than it was to rent in DK. Other important differences: gasoline is taxed enormously there (recent WaPost article quotes $10/gal equivalent); public transportation is inexpensive, convenient & widespread (i.e. we took the train from the airport to Copenhagen to stay with friends. Took train across town for dinner & drinks. Took train to Sweden, where we rented the car.).

Posted by: bsimon | August 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Mibrooks, you can name call you want, it just shows pathetically ignorant you are. The solution is do both. You aren't going to conserve your way out of this. I agree, put tax incentives out there to buy gas efficient cars. I drive a FORD F150, and in the three years I have had it, gas has doubled, most people didn't see that coming. We need to short term relief, perhaps putting some of the strategic oil reserve into the market and start drilling. Hybrids might be the way of the future, but unfortunately, most people are not in a position to buy them now. Exploring alternative sources of energy is great, but it doesn't fix the problems now. I'm not one of these hyper-partisans who is looking for one side to get credit over the other, but the 'let them eat cake' approach permeating from the 'progressive' wing of the comment section is appauling. I tried to give a more balanced approach, get the alternative fuels coming, but realize we are not there yet, and while we are at it, require more fuel efficient vehicles to be built. But the no-drill people need to get off their pedestal and realize people need action today. The people who are suffering most are working class and middle class families who can't afford another tax increase on their cars. You can't expect a family of 5 with a family income of 50,000$ to buy a small car because it gets 35 mpg. They need a bigger car.

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think ad works because it advocates an all inclusive approach which I think is the only way to serve our energy dependence and lack of energy problems.

Posted by: Chris M. | August 12, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

TexasProud - Another idiot spouting nonsense, mere talking points from T. Boone Pickens, as filtered through Fox News.

Look, we can acheieve energy independence and drilling has nothing whatsoever to do with it. At best, if we started drilling today, the oil thus produced will not come "on line" for at least 8 years. Moreover, of the leases already obtained by oil companies, they have not so much as drilled an exploratory well in 92% of them! Giving these companies more offshore leases does absolutely nothing except gut offshore environmental stanadards... which *IS* what these companies want.

If you want to genuinely achieve energy independence, you will emulate Denmark -- where they happen to have acheived it! Tax the snott out of SUV's and big trucks. Denmark has an annual energy tax on passanger vehicles. The tax is so high on SUV's and half done pickups used primarily for hauling passangers that they have been essentially run off the road. Passenger vehicles that achieve MPG greater than 35 are encouraged with incentives. The result is an *average* MPG rate there of greater than 30 MPG!

Moreover, Denmark uses tides and wind farms and government run nuclear plants to generate electricity. They have sufficient excess elecricity that they are using it to make hydrogen fuel. The government is subsidizing the establishment of hydrogen fueling stations across the country and they have made an investment and plans to have 100% of the passenger vehicles in Denmark using hydrogen or electricity as fuel by 2015. With the tiniest bit of vision, we could do likewise. That solution is a bit more difficult than the nonsense being spouted by either side in the current debate, but energy independence and national survival are of more concern than the fears of the anti-nuclear nuts or big oil's profits.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

If you want to sign the bi-partisan petition to ask Congress to drill here and drill now go to - americansolutions.com - to add your name!

Posted by: Eileen | August 12, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I watched it and it contains to many distractions. After I watched I forgot what it was he was saying and had to watch it again.

Posted by: xxx+1 | August 12, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Texas Proud, but there is no way we can achieve independence in oil if we don't stop burning it in our cars. All the world's oil fields but one have peaked meaning that the only way to increase production is by greatly increasing the resources put in to extract the oil. Simply put, we import so much of our oil now because we do not have enough. There is no scenario I know of that will allow us to supply our petroleum needs domestically, unless we find another fuel to run our cars. If we are serious about being self-reliant (and I hope that we are) we have no option but to embrace electrical generation and save petroleum for industries and products for which there is no alternative.

Posted by: dch | August 12, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

We can't drill our way out of our energy dependence, but we can't conserve our way out of it either. Democrats need to pull their heads out of their ... and realize the simple solution is the right one. DRILL, and raise CAFE standards. Liberals can pound their chests about helping the environment, and the American people can enjoy reasonable gas prices. It's about time we show the rest of the world that we are serious about being self-reliant. If OPEC cuts production in the future, it will lessen the impact at home, and reduce the influence Hugo Chavez has on our economy

Posted by: TexasProud | August 12, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

One problem with ads like these is that they assume (usually safely) that the average voter is dumb as an ox, so stupid they shuld have a permit before being allowed to breed. This sort of nonsense is all smoke and mirrors and play acting. That such an ad would even be considered for television is an insult.

Energy, like health care, the economy, and a lot of other issues are complex. You cannot accurately discuss them in a 30 second commercial. KOZ, McCain, and other apologits for Wall Streets thieves keep bellowing that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. At the same time, the Post, the GAO, and several other media outlets report today that 2/3 of U.S. corporations paid no income tax at all and that the taxes collected from U.S. based corporations is the lowest in the entire world. Period. Both facts are true. Most countries do not play games with taxes. Corporations owe a certain amount and pay it. No deductions are allowed. In this country, corporations and Wall Street investors have wolf packs of lawyers and accountants that help write the tax code and use those laws to ensure that they do not pay taxes. So, while the theoretical maximum rate can be anything you like, the actual amount paid is quite a different matter. Sort of like a store selling an item regularly for $19.95 but having a continual 50% markdown... you know that scam?

All of this cannot be easily explained in a 30 second commercial and you cannot do it using crayon drawings and pretty pictures. So the blithering inbred fools that compose the voting public continue to elect officials that offshore their jobs, permit corporations, or work with them, to loot their retirement savings, defraud them of their home mortgages, sell their private information, deny them basic health care, and in general make their lives miserable. Likewise, you get craven cowards beating on their breasts about fighting the "war on terror", when any fool knows that Al Qaida and every other ragtag group of Islamic terrorists can do no worse than inflict a pin prick upon us. But, these idiots can over-extend our military, "hire" incompetent generals and Pentagon staff, and so screw up our ability to fight an actual enemy that our impotent President is left to wave a tiny made in China U.S. flag at the Olympics while Russia devistates an actual democracy. So much for "leadership" and fighting ability.

It's pathetic, but it's also true, you get the kind of government you deserve. The right is able to, with a straight face, portray an actual leader with vision like Obama as "weak" and portray another morally and intellectual stunted old fool like McCain as strong. Likewise, some advertising firm can make a complete idiot, a clueless fool, like Tim Walberg as having a clue about energy and caring about the plight of the very people he and his friends have screwed so royally.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 12, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

We are going to see a lot more ads like this one. While still hewing the Repub line about drilling (notice the inset window with the oil rig) more and more candidates are going to embrace alternatives like wind because they ALL know that oil is not coming down in price. Is it an accident that Asian and Arabian Peninsula countries are making huge strides in preparing for a post-petroleum future? It is possible, I suppose, that Republicans can, one more time, make political hay out of short-term self-interest by suggesting that we can get back to being the economy we were if we could just get those pesky Democrats to let us drill off-shore. The problem is, you now have both T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore saying the same thing: Oil will never be cheap again and we are going to need to do something about it. Both parties are late coming to the party, but Conservatives are going to need to do something more than switch their transportation devices if they want to catch Democrats on this one.

Posted by: DCH | August 12, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Robert Chapman and only add one other point: Harleys are not made in Michigan; Dodges are.

Posted by: ddozier | August 12, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse


MARK PENN WAS RIGHT. OBAMA IS UNELECTABLE.
AND TOO MANY DEMOCRATS ARE SPELLBOUND.

• A "AL-le-GORE-y foretold by John Lennon?


"Oh!" The pundits gasp. "That Mark Penn! How COULD he say those mean things?"

To which I say, yeah, how could Penn speak the unvarnished truth and find his on-point prophecies so derided by Hillaryland appeasers?

Events are proving Mark Penn right. Obama has failed to lead. He has failed to fight. He has failed to adhere to the core positions that won him a loyal following among cockeyed lefties.

And yes, too often Obama has projected the disconcerting image of a stranger in a strange land, an outsider, someone who says he's from Kansas but whose manner seems like it came straight out of Oz.

Beware the man behind the curtain.

Geraldine Ferraro was right, too; Obamanauts fell in love with a dream, and succumbed to the siren lure of a personality cultist, a too-clever-by-half dream-weaver.

It was not enough that he aspires to be the American President after only three undistinguished years on the national scene. No, Barack Obama had to present himself as the President of the World. He is, as the GOP mocks, "The One" who professes to transform humankind not by adherence to principle but by expediency and compromise masquerading as "change."

And maybe Hillary was right, if impolitic, with HER mocking: "And the celestial choirs will SING!..."

Obama has turned out to be yet another false prophet. He started out as a visionary who dared to dream. Then the dream transmogrified into mass hypnosis, a soul-less trance. Obama executed the spell, but also fell victim to his own voodoo.

John Lennon wrote a song about a man like this:

He's a real nowhere man / living in his nowhere land / Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn't have a point of view / knows not where he's going to / Isn't he a bit like you and me

Then, a second verse relevant to the Obama Odyssey:

He's as blind as he can be / Just sees what he wants to see / Nowhere man, can you see me at all?

Obama bought into his own dream. He failed to perceive the real needs of the people he would save. And now, he cannot see that the dream is over (to evoke the words of yet another Lennon lyric).

It is over because it is a dream bereft of a soul. Obama's dream is Obama. He has become his own graven image, the object of his own blind idol-worship. He committed a cardinal sin: He bought into his own hype, believed his own press.

Now, even Obama's most loyal core supporters, the starry-eyed legions who set him upon his "improbable journey," have awakened from the dream.

Thank the Lord, and Mark Penn, that the revelation has come just in time for the Democratic Party to save itself.

Hillary has assumed the mantle of savior, although she will not be the one to return to "the promised land"(read, White House). Her loyal delegates will prevent Obama from being nominated on the first ballot, and then Hillary will power-broker a winning strategy: Recognizing that her marital baggage proscribes her from the nomination, she will throw her support, and her delegates, to Al Gore.

Even before the final roll call, Gore will have signaled that he would name Barack Obama as his vice presidential designate, defusing any opposition that might arise from Obama diehards. And Gore will go on to decisively defeat Obama on the final roll call.

Obama, now chastened, will accept the vice presidency with an appropriate mixture of pride and humility -- the humility that was lacking in his over-reaching campaign for the top job.

A fantasy, you say? Please let us quote from yet another John Lennon verse:

You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one

Why don't you come and join us / And the world will live as one

Just so happens that in '08, "The One" may turn out to be "The Gore-acle," not Barack Obama.

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN COUNT? Not if gov't.-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are targeting Americans outside of the bounds of the law:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/get-political-vic-livingston-opinion-expose-state-supported-vigilante-squads-doing-domestic-terrorism

Posted by: scrivener | August 12, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The thrust of Walberg's ad is not the gas issue, but the freedom issue. Harley riders still view themselves as independent thinkers and ruggedly self-reliant individualists.

This theme still has a lot of potency in American politics. If Schauer comes on a nerdy guy with a lot of wonkish ideas to deal with the gas prices, he will fall into Walberg's trap.

If on the other hand, Schauer can come across as a competent guy concerned about transporting school children and pensioners, he can offset Walberg's message.

Schauer can be particularly effective if he can yoke his competency message with a message that Walberg is frivilous and unrealistic in thinking that the Harley is a viable transportation option in Michigan's cold and rainy climate.

Posted by: robert chapman | August 12, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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