Newt Gingrich is railing against President Obama for using federal money to subsidize hybrid plug-ins like the Chevy Volt, likening the vehicle to 'cultural warfare.' Some Republicans agree.
At recent campaign stops in Georgia and Oklahoma this holiday weekend, Mr. Gingrich echoed what is becoming a widespread Republican criticism: The Obama administration is unfairly using federal dollars to give the gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid preferential treatment.
On Saturday, Gingrich told an audience in Suwanee, Ga., that the Obama administration “is deeply opposed to Americans having the right to choose the kind of car they want to drive” and likened the vehicle to “cultural warfare.”
In the past year, Republicans have similarly taken aim at federal standards to phase out cheap but energy-inefficient incandescent light bulbs, saying that manipulation of markets to promote energy savings has hurt the budgets of everyday Americans.
In some respects, though, the Volt is an even more potent political symbol for Republicans because of its links to the Obama administration – both through the controversial bailout that saved Chevrolet and ultimately gave rise to the Volt, as well as the $10,000-per-car subsidy that President Obama's new budget proposes.
“The Volt has been a lightning rod even before we got into the heat of the campaign season,” says Bill Visnic, senior analyst with Edmunds.com. For detractors, it objectified “why the bailout was wrong,” because it produced a vehicle that “mostly rich people buy and is mostly subsidized by the government.”