This Day In "Bob Lutz Says The Darndest Things:" Right-Wingers Hate The Chevy Volt

By Blake Z. Rong | March 14, 2012
Bob Lutz is a simple man. He's a "car guy." He doesn't believe in global warming. He hates anyone with an accounting degree, and he always orders his Moe's Homewreckers without beans. And you know what else? He really, really likes the Chevy Volt. Believe us, buddy boy, you better not lay an accusatory finger on his electric darling, lest you want to face the same wrath that led Lutz to pronounce this whole climate change thing as, and we're quoting here, a “crock of sh*t.” Got it? Got it. And in the digital pages of Forbes, Lutz lashes out at the right-wing media in only the way a corporate executive writing in a respected business publication can. In Bob Lutz's world, that could mean anything. In a recent op-ed titled “The Chevy Volt, Bill O'Reilly And The Postman's Butt,” Lutz takes on the rantings of another equally antiquarian talking head, one Mister Bill O’Reilly, a conservative’s conservative before the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh made him look like the most rational guy at the party. As a conservative, O’Reilly understandably has a right to cast doubt upon the government’s bailing out of General Motors, and in association upon the most visible vehicle the company has produced since that time. But on his own forum, “No Spin Zone” on Fox News, the “imperious, self-glorifying” (according to Lutz, painfully mincing his words no doubt) O’Reilly takes issue with the Volt in general, because it is 1.) leeching American jobs, somehow, and 2.) catching fire and killing our innocent children with its electric-tainted, socialist flames of destruction.
It’s true that the Volt has never caught fire in public before; that the electric car has only faced its maladies in a controlled testing environment and has not injured anyone before. It’s also true that nothing O’Reilly says should be taken at face value, and it’s also true that General Motors has done a terrible job at marketing the beleaguered, unloved Volt. It’s a car that, so far, attracts media scorn more than profitable sales. Yet understandably, Lutz would be steamed at Fox News for trashing the Chevy Volt. The Volt, after all, was his baby—"it was my idea, and I was its undeniable champion," he writes—and parents are, after all, compelled to defend their children in outlandish ways. He cites the Volt’s victory in Europe as the only American-engineered, American-produced car to win the European Car Of The Year (as the Opel Ampera) as such: “incidentally, it’s the first time in history that an American-engineered and produced car has won European Car of the Year. A source of national pride? No…according to the Right-heads, a reason for shame!” Lutz also likes to take the time to remind us that he is the most dyed-in-the-wool of Conservatives (with a capital C), because “I spent 11 years as a Marine attack aviator trained and ready to take out Communists during the Cold War—” and if there’s anything worse than a right-winger that betrays his fellow Republicans as well as Reagan’s bleeding heart, it’s a Trotskyite. This isn’t Lutz’s first ranting at the media treatment of the Chevy Volt, a car that, incidentally, represents a large discrepancy between technological innovation and market share. Sales of the Volt have fallen so far below expectations that President Obama has been forced to revise his initial goal of one million electric cars by 2015—a move that won’t come without its fair share of overblown media speculation, and failed promises from an overly ambitious administration. That’s just how it is in today’s America. Yet this is Bob Lutz at his finest, his most acerbic—this time against the Republicans like O’Reilly that seems to represent the sort of infighting that has defined the entire GOP ever since Obama took office. It’s a shame that extra bit of conservative posturing just seems to fall flat with a mention of his time fighting an enemy that hasn’t been relevant since Gorbachev left office. If you’re such a conservative, Mr. Lutz, then what do you make of Obama’s championing of your own baby, a position he takes because of his own political interest in seeing the Volt succeed in this government-run company? Will we ever stop mentioning Lutz’s famously obtuse contrarian views against global warming, which seem to be at odds with the mission statement of the Volt, his baby? Is it relevant to the discussion—or just an example of political pandering, the likes of which clog up our election process with aplomb? Ultimately, Lutz asks, rhetorically, “will we see the Republican presidential campaign centered on the Volt, with catchy slogans like ‘Vote Republican! Kill the Volt before it kills you!’?” I find myself both agreeing and lampooning Lutz’s view, much like most things the man says. Undoubtedly his credentials as an expert in the automotive field and as a “car guy”—whatever that means these days—are not to be scoffed at. But in the end, like most of American politics, it’s baffling; we never figured out what he meant by referring to the postman’s butt. Source: Forbes