By on August 2, 2010

When the New York Times asked me to write an editorial about the Chevrolet Volt, it never occurred to me that it would be published on the day that Barack Obama toured Michigan’s auto plants touting the success of the auto bailout. Because of this timing, however, my piece was apparently taken as a partisan attack on the White House… and it touched a nerve. How do I know? Because, according to the Washington Examiner, on the Air Force One flight back to Washington D.C., White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs joined a proud tradition that dates back to at least my first year of kindergarten: he made a Niedermeyer-based funny.

“Did you guys ever see ‘Animal House?’ Right?” Gibbs asked reporters on Air Force One. “Remember when they go, ‘Neidermeyer dead?’ I’d say his argument is largely there.”

I always feel a little trepidation about abandoning the internet for a weekend in order to focus on a new car review (2011 Jetta, coming soon), but never in my most paranoid moments did I imagine that I’d come back to find the White House press secretary comparing me to the villain of Animal House.

But far more disappointing than Gibbs’ decision to lash out at me for pointing out inconvenient truths in the midst of the auto bailout’s “Mission Accomplished” moment, was his choice of joke. On the continuum of jokes made throughout my life at the expense of my last name, Gibbs’ jab rates at about the sixth-grade level. “How does it feel to be an asshole, Neidermeyer?” would have been more clever, substantive and faithful to the original script. As would “give it to Neidermeyer, he’s a sneaky little shit.”

Worst of all, I’m now writing a post that is entirely about politics, and in no way related to a car or the industry that builds them. I am fascinated by the interface between automobiles and politics, whether discussing the bailout and EV subsidies on the federal level, or red-light cameras on the local level (and all points in between), but TTAC is not a political site. I’ve spent enough time observing (and yes, studying) politics to know that it has a tendency to consume everything in its path, and I’ve tried to be careful to ensure that TTAC does not become subsumed by political discussions. Perhaps more importantly, as a moderate at heart, and someone who tries to prioritize curiosity over dogma, I’ve tried to keep TTAC from being a partisan echo chamber for either side of the aisle. I have my perspectives and biases on any number of political issues, but I’ve never believed that the truth is simple. Or that dissent is best squashed with a schoolyard put-down. Which, to be perfectly honest, was one of the main reasons I voted for Barack Obama back in 2008 (N.B. this is not an invitation to dissect my personal political choices).

In any case, TTAC will continue to explore the undeniable relationship between politics and automobiles, undaunted by Gibbs’ glib jibe. If anything, it proves the importance of what we do here… and it’s the perfect opportunity to clarify that TTAC is nobody’s schill. We call it like we see it without regard to the political program of either party, for the simple reason that everyone deserves the truth. Moreover, we invite intelligent rebuttal to anything we publish because I believe that the truth is a process rather than a destination.

And that, gentle readers, is why I love cars [and why TTAC has a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot category].

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89 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: The White House Doesn’t Heart TTAC Edition...”


  • avatar

    Too awesome.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Sometimes the Truth hurts, even in the White House, you did the right thing, not knowing that Detroit would be having a special visitor on the same day, sometimes it’s the way the dice fall!

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Better have your previous ten years tax documents ready…..

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    I would be the happiest person on the face of the earth if I knew I was personally responsible for irritating that man.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Has Gibbs’s reacted to any of Edward Niedermeyer’s many other strongly worded critiques of non-GM brands?

    Gibbs just added support to the notion that this administration favors GM over other brands in the US car market.

    Any reporter will tell you, look out for what riles a person to see their passions.

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      BINGO!

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      There’s no way this guy is responding to a question in a specific way because he’s personally upset. You don’t get to speak for other people without distancing yourself; you couldn’t even get to be the spokesman for a county-wide nonprofit if you got riled up in front of the press. If he seems upset, he has a reason to seem that way.

      The endless focus on the bailout as if its purpose was to help GM continually raises my ire, though. Without GM, parts suppliers fall; without parts suppliers, the rest of the US industry falls. And without the rest of the US industry, the economy falls. Remember back when there was a credit crunch and the very real possibility of a cascading failure which would essentially destroy the world economy? No? Well, one of the reasons that cascading failure didn’t happen was because the US auto industry didn’t create its own tidal wave in the middle of the storm.

      The GM bailout was not about GM. It was not about the Volt. It was not about (whatever GM car pisses you off) or (whatever other mistake GM made in 1982). It was about stabilizing the economy and preventing a domino effect.

      My own business could easily be gone, and my employees and all the businesses they frequent hurt or unemployed, if GM hadn’t been bailed out. And not because I do business with GM, but because I do business with others in the auto industry.

      Hell, even TTAC would be hurting, I wager – without GM to bash, one wonders what the editors and commenters would be left with to pin on Obama…

    • 0 avatar
      hoffa_lives

      “Without GM, parts suppliers fall; without parts suppliers, the rest of the US industry falls. And without the rest of the US industry, the economy falls.”

      I always felt that this was a very disingenuous argument for bailing out GM. If GM was allowed to fail, that does not mean that the global demand for vehicles would decrease. Wouldn’t other automakers ramp up their production to fill the void left by GM?

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Gibbs insulted Ed to defend the GM Volt not the general bailout per se.
      Gibb’s reaction exposed the administration’s passion.

      If they are not GM boosters, then let’s see how excited the White House gets when the Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius all-battery model outsells the Volt. They will cheer the green victory for the Earth, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      At the risk of repeating myself…. BINGO! again!

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Well, one of the reasons that cascading failure didn’t happen was because the US auto industry didn’t create its own tidal wave in the middle of the storm.

      “Why did you put up that wall?”
      “To keep the elephants away.”
      “There are no elephants around here.”
      “See? It works!”

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Sigh.

      This isn’t about demand for vehicles, it’s about companies’ ability to survive with their supply chains severed. The same suppliers make parts for all three car makers – or many of them do. They couldn’t take a 30+% hit without going under, certainly not with demand already reduced. So then ford and chrysler get their parts from… Where? They build cars how, and keep their prices stable how if they -do- survive?

      And this is assuming their customers didn’t see the writing on the wall and fulfill the prophecy for them. Would you be buying a ford when gm just went into chapter 7 and a chunk of f’s suppliers went with them?

      As to the elephant post: yes, yes, very clever. But you fail to back your implied assertion that there weren’t any elephants in the area. Or do you suggest that foreign publications like The Economist invented the negative effects of an industry collapse in order to give the government an excuse to buy gm, all so they could… Uh… Something? Piss off TTAC editors?

      Also, I fail to see a way out for the administration vis. backing gm.

      A) support gm publicly. Be attacked for being partisan and accused of bias vs. Other companies.
      B) do not support gm publicly. Be attacked for not even believeing in the company you invested in, and for not being patriotic.

      I’m a big fan of Saab. I’ve got as much love for GM as the next TTACer. But be rational – there are arguments you can make without flying off the handle and launching into random anti-government screeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      In 25 years as an attorney, I’ve seen lots of companies go through tough times. People act like the recent credit crisis was Armageddon. Not even close.

      Bankruptcy can work wonders. Vultures often swoop in and feed on what is left. Surprisingly, the bloody process usually works. The economy is better off as the weak die to feed the strong.

      But who knows what would have happened to GM had Bush and Obama not butted in. You’re right — none of us do.

    • 0 avatar
      AutoOfficionado

      I don’t think any one publication (including the NY Times) should be considered an unimpeachable source. With all do respect, just because you read it in The Economist doesn’t make it fact or even compelling to others.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      Edward Niedermeyer: “…but TTAC is not a political site”

      Are you sure about that?

      Perisoft: “without GM to bash, one wonders what the editors and commenters would be left with to pin on Obama…”

      It’s funny because it’s true!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “Worst of all, I’m now writing a post that is entirely about politics, and in no way related to a car or the industry that builds them.”

    Whether it was Big Bill Knudsen or Robert MacNamara going into the government, the Chicken Tax, the UAW, tax abatements, promoting the Interstate Highway Act in the ’50′s, or fighting the Vehicle Safety Act of the ’60′s or bumper regs and emission controls in the ’70′s, Iacocca et al. securing government loan guarantees in the ’80′s, D.C. and Detroit flying to Japan to push voluntary import restraints and vehicle content labelling in the ’90′s, or a generation later Detroit flying to D.C. on corporate jets to beg or Japan flying to D.C. on same to testify (not to mention investment in China or begging susidies for Euro-subsidiaries, etc.), fact is the auto biz is as intertwined with “industrial policy”, globalization and local- and geo-politics as much as, and probably more so, than any other industry.

    By the way, regarding Glib’s gibbs jibe, or Jibb’s glibb glibe, or whatever, just recall what my dad used to say to me: “Before you let it bother you, first ‘consider the source’.”

  • avatar
    applecar

    It would have helped if your Volt op-ed piece had been even slightly well reasoned. Being a Euro-centered car guy, I have never been a fan of GM or their products. Nevertheless, they are now building some very attractive and competitive products AND have become profitable thanks in part to the government loans. Your argument that all of the $50 billion bailout money plus all of various grants and tax breaks should be attributed to the Volt is intellectually dishonest.
    Here is a more a more balanced view of the Volt’s place in the automotive landscape:
    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/76720/rush-limbaugh-v-the-volt

  • avatar
    allythom

    Well done Ed.

    Further evidence that GM does indeed stand for Government Motors

  • avatar
    european

    well, you did misrepresent things in your article. you made it look like the $50billion bailout and all the other gov moneys are for developing the volt ONLY. but the money had other uses too, like keeping the US car industry from tanking, saving jobs etc. that misrepresentation pissed them off should piss anyone off.

    • 0 avatar
      AutoOfficionado

      I agree that the bailout was not intended to fund the Volt and that there were a lot of good purposes for it. But, every job cannot and shouldn’t be saved. Some businesses are going to die and when they do, new growth will occur in its place. This is the cycle of the world, at least until environmental circumstances are too toxic to support new growth. I’m being metaphorical, but I guess you can take my statements literally too. I’m not saying that the bailout was a mistake. I’m saying we can’t justify providing corporate welfare in every case where jobs or an industry are threatened. It seems unsustainable and I don’t think it promotes innovation.

  • avatar

    My guess is that the NYT timed it deliberately for Pres O’s Michigan visit.

    if the White House Press Secretary is saying your name in public, means you’ve arrived. Doesn’t matter what he says.

    I think your perspective on both the world and TTAC is excellent.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      Name-calling isn’t nice. But then again neither is saying stuff that ain’t true, like “So the future of General Motors (and the $50 billion taxpayer investment in it) now depends on a vehicle that costs $41,000 but…” The Volt is just one piece of GM’s future.

      Toyota amortized their investment in the Prius over a few generations of the car; why not give GM the same leeway? And the continued innuendo that the Obama administration is still pulling the strings at GM (as if it ever really did once they task force cleaned house) is Just. Plain. Wrong.

      “GM’s management is using solid, conservative, free-market management principles to get the company back to long-term profitability.” ~ Steve Forbes

    • 0 avatar
      AutoOfficionado

      Boff – What I said about the Economist also applies to Forbes (the magazine or the man). One person’s or publication’s opinion should not be taken as fact, especially when the person or magazine clearly has a partisan world-view. The words “conservative” and “free-market” don’t have a positive connotation to everyone. These words can be, and are consistently, misused and distorted. If you’re going to share quotes, it might be more effective if you do so from multiple sources with varied credentials. That way we can look for trends rather than decide if we value the perspective of a specific source. If you were a juror, wouldn’t you be more confident in deliberating when there are multiple, independent witnesses instead of one witness with a dubious record. Forbes might be right, but his opinion alone is of little value to me. I need a second, and probably third, opinion.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    A voice of sanity in the wilderness. Thank you, Ed, for the civilized tone of the site. Here’s hoping that the folks at either political extreme, with their grim certitudes, can be made to see that no one has a monopoly on the truth. We all have our prejudices and blindspots, and the obvious limitations of human understanding should make us all humble and more tolerant.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      +1

      I freely admit that I don’t understand how everything works and to try to make a reasoned argument on one side or the other would make me sound like an idiot. I don’t want to sound like an idiot so I am happier to read what others who are more intimately knowledgeable about various topics discuss and make counterarguments.

      With all of that being said I agree that we all have biases and prejudices. To pretent otherwise would be to wear the largest pair of horse blinders on the planet. I agree that no party has all the answers and there are good ideas on all sides. My job now is to figure out who I can agree with and why.

  • avatar
    Beta Blocker

    Robert.Walter: “… fact is the auto biz is as intertwined with “industrial policy”, globalization and local- and geo-politics as much as, and probably more so, than any other industry.”

    More so. Very much more so. The American consumer economy depends upon the availability of quick and easy transportation between home and destination, and without the added time and trouble of public transportation — not to say walking or taking a bicycle as a slow way to get from Point A to Point B in search of your Bic Mac or specialty pizza.

    Or that screwdriver from Home Depot. Or that set of plastic dishes from Wal Mart. Monkey too seriously with the availability of fast and easy transportation, and with the availability of relatively cheap gasoline, and America’s consumer economy goes down the tube. Cars are the single most important catalyst that makes it all work.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    In fairness to Gibbs, most of us don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of Animal House Niedermeyer references that you do. If you put me on the spot, that’s the one I would have pulled out. Of course, if I was the White House press secretary, I’d pass on using a quote that seems to call for a journalist’s execution. That’s just worthless and weak.

    Hurry up with the Jetta review, I can’t wait to work the “sneaky little shit” quote into the comments!

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    The internet is a funny place. I find it thoroughly vigorating that an obscure and strongly opinionated car site like TTAC do have an impact in world politics. The mere thought that Barack Obama et consortes not only read TTAC but have strong opinions on the matter is just mindboggling. The Niedermeyer jokes are old hat, but the only joke there is on the name Niedermeyer. You should be proud of the fact that the name is now more than a joke, and actually spoken of in the highest circles of society.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      If the piece had only appeared on TTAC, the White House wouldn’t have noticed. However, every politician in Washington is very much aware of what appears on the NYT opinion page.

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      Yeah, I know that. But the spirit of TTAC prevails, wherever it goes. If Neidermeyer writes a piece for NYT, there’s not a little bit, but helluva lot of TTAC with him doing that. It’s a mindset, more than anything, a watershed of thougts. That spirit is obviously controversial, and wherever there’s a controverse, there’s going to be an opinionated debate. And that’s good. The more this is talked about, the better.

      And the longer the Obama administration lets this drag on, the more they will shoot themselves in their foots. I’m all for an open debate, and the only good thing that they could do in this case, is to drag it all out in the open. I’d really want to see Gibbs write a rebuttal on this, be it on NYT or TTAC or wherever he prefers. Let the truth be told…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    EN, consider yourself flattered by the attention.

    Glib comments aside, I’d like to see how the White House defends the production of a government-subsidized $41,000 money-losing car by a bankrupt company, whose contributions to cleaner air will be negligible.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    No such thing as bad PR, baby.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    TTAC is invaluable exactly because it refuses to look at things with rose colored glasses. Both sides of the political divide tend to simplify things and often fail to notice when their policies (that look good on the surface) don’t actually achieve their aims. CAFE (which actually did kinda work for the first few years, until automakers figured out they could sell trucks as cars), the ethanol boondoggle, automaker bailouts, hybrid and electric subsidies – all of these deserve scrutiny from people who are knowledgeable about the industry.

    I am an environmentalist, and I do hold out hope that hybrid and EV tech can be useful and popular. TTAC has covered the development and pitfalls of new automotive technology more thoroughly than any other site. If the news reveals that money is being spent in the name of the environment but in truth is a boondoggle or publicity stunt, I want to know, even if it looks bad for GM and the Washington elites (on both sides of the aisle). Heck, even if it looks bad to me. TTAC is more critical than any other site, and brings in more diverse and thoughtful opinions than any other auto site I can think of (in the comments section too).

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Looking forward to the Jetta review, the reviews on here have been very good.
    The political discussions are getting tedious though, just about any automotive topic can spark them. Let’s face, no one is changing anyone else’s mind on here.
    No wonder our Congress (every stinking last one of them) can’t get anything done!

  • avatar
    golf4me

    I may be naive, but how does anyone praise or pan a car that they have not even seen in the flesh, let alone driven? Do you even know how efficient it may may not be? IMO you deserve all the crap you get when you blatantly expose your bias against one company. I know, you call it ” the Truth” but when it’s so lopsided, I find it hard to believe, just as with anything else in life. Funny the only ones who don’t see the bias are the fanboys who have never stepped foot in the auto industry. It’s hilarious, and sad at the same time. How about reserving judgement on a product until you have the final copy in your hands? That’s a good start toward telling the Truth…

    • 0 avatar

      You’ve identified my number one trepidation about writing the NYT piece. To GM’s credit, they blame themselves for the fact that TTAC hasn’t yet driven the Volt, and they say this problem will be rectified shortly.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      It’s not hard to criticize the Volt without seeing it. GM says that it will revolutionize the industry. But it’s a Cruze converted to electric drive. None of the technology in the car is anything new. The engineering is good, but the basic concept dates back a hundred years. Nothing new here. Overpriced. Underperforming. A dud.

      The President’s own car industry task force panned the Volt. Now someone else (Edward Niedermeyer) says the same thing, and Robert Gibbs slams him. Pleasantly ironic.

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      Without having ever stepped foot near a Volt, AND having never read Ed’s NY Times piece, I can still tell you that the Obama admin’s reaction to this is a serious political conflict. It shows exactly what is wrong with America today.

    • 0 avatar
      golf4me

      If this car is not “new” I don’t know what is. Tell me about another car with the same technology. Sure, it’s an old idea, think diesel-electric locomotive, but it’s new in a passenger car. Also, it’s not an “electric Cruze”. If it were you’d be on glorified house arrest just like every the electric vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, the Volt may be the biggest POS to hit the road, but let’s reserve judgement until we can see how it works on a daily basis.

    • 0 avatar

      You’ve identified my number one trepidation about writing the NYT piece. To GM’s credit, they blame themselves for the fact that TTAC hasn’t yet driven the Volt, and they say this problem will be rectified shortly.

      I predict that when it comes to pass, TTAC’s review of the Volt will be the most widely read car review in the history of the web. I told GM’s communications crew that if they’re really confident about the Volt, they’ll let their biggest critics test drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      If this car is not “new” I don’t know what is. Tell me about another car with the same technology.

      The Volt is just a series hybrid. Ferdinand Porsche built and patented the first one in 1903. Many people have built them over the years.

      GM is the first carmaker to build one. And GM did a good and fast job on the engineering — they have some of the best engineers in the world. But the concept has nothing innovative. Just like the Tesla Roadster.

      Compare the Volt concept to GM’s AUTOnomy/Hy-wire concept. Now there was a concept car that should have been built. Interchangeable bodies on a skateboard chassis. That car would have changed the industry.

      Not the Volt. Nothing to get a charge out of there.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    You should invite Gibbs to write a rebuttal. Perhaps at the same time they lend a Volt for testing? It could be interesting…

  • avatar

    I think it’s Awesome you got mentioned, Ed!!
    Who cares what he said, @Robert Schwartz is exactly right.

    Besides, WH Press Secs are usually obsequious, two-faced toadying dbs, no matter what side of the aisle they have infested from.

    How could you take the love child of Tim Russert and Andy Richter seriously?

    .
    I mean, besides the obvious fact that he has the most awesome fore[five]head since Mena Suvari and James VanDerBeek…

    .
    -Irregardless, your first name’s Ed, not Doug.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    You’re not paranoid if you have proof they’re after you!

    Fly into Toronto International Airport and claim refugee status. Your genuine fear of persecution for your political views makes you an ideal candidate under Canadian rules.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “Worst of all, I’m now writing a post that is entirely about politics, and in no way related to a car or the industry that builds them”

    Well, that’s kind of your choice, isn’t it? Was there some particular reason that you had to respond to what you consider to be a sophmoric jab from someone that you don’t much respect? You have more control over the discourse here than anyone else. If you choose to respond to political speech in this forum it is you who are making TTAC political.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “If you choose to respond to political speech in this forum it is you who are making TTAC political.”

      Uh, no. By repeating what Gibbs said does not make TTAC political… it makes what Gibbs said political.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Uh, yes. What Gibbs says is, by definition, political due to his post. Ed could choose not to respond since any response will be inherently political. Ed has the right to respond in any forum that will have him. He just can’t complain that he is “forced” to drag TTAC into that realm if he responds here.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    And they said Farago pissed people off!
    Fine work Edward, continuing a long and distinguished lineage of being an annoyance to people in power everywhere.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    “but TTAC is not a political site.”

    Ha! That horse went out of the barn a couple years ago. As long as you opine about things that involve politics, you have yourself a political site, whether you like it or not. Cars and politics have always been intertwined on one level or another.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      You have a slight point. TTAC is political only in the sense that those who celebrate the wonders of driving and cars tend to be politically right of center. Note the emphasis on tend.

      America’s love/hate/need for driving and cars does create fascinating political contortions. From ethanol to CAFE to the bailouts to licensing “standards”, politics is everywhere.

      My favorite: What are the best ways to finance and maintain roads?

  • avatar
    ghentForever

    If you haven’t driven the Volt, then you shouldn’t have criticized it.

  • avatar

    The White House must really not like me. Besides contributing to TTAC, I was asked to contribute to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Journalism.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Oh! I wasn’t even aware that Mr. Breitbart had decided to get in to journalism.

    • 0 avatar

      Unlike the JournoListers of the establishment media, Andrew doesn’t dissemble about his political affiliations and agendas. I’m sure that for every one of Breitbart’s supposed shortcomings as a journalist, I can find a worse example in the establishment media. Though I’m not fond of tu quoque arguments the worst you can say about Breitbart is that he’s within the standards set by the establishment media. Andy’s a troublemaker, but I suppose to some only leftwing pranksters are entertaining.

      My only problem with Andrew is that his business model is based on getting people to write for free. Lately I’ve been able to sell just about everything I’ve written, though I don’t think that getting published on a site with Breitbart’s traffic would hurt my brand as a writer.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Let’s get one basic fact straight. Andrew Breitbart is NOT a journalist. He is a political commentator.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      So are plenty of “mainstream” reporters in such supposedly objective sources as CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and The New York Times. It’s just that too many people are apparently dumb enough to believe the charade.

      The big difference is that Mr. Breitbart doesn’t pretend to be objective.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “the worst you can say about Breitbart is that he’s within the standards set by the establishment media.”

      After the Shirley Sherrod affair, there are MUCH worse things that can be said about Breitbart, and I expect that Bill O’Reilly said many of them in private.

      Breitbart is to racism as Brian Ross is to Toyota/SUA, i.e. lacking all credibility.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    sounds like good press for you. Watch readership climb.

    Can we see the new jetta review now.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The truth bothers those with an agenda. Ed, how dare you speak of the emperor’s lack of attire.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    My my how the truth stings. I love the fact that TTAC is mainline news!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    If you piss him off again, Ed, you’ll have to have a beer in the rose garden with Obama and Biden.

  • avatar
    ja-gti

    “…because I believe that the truth is a process rather than a destination.”

    Come on Niedermeyer, don’t throw this post-modern relativism garbage at us on a site named “The Truth About Cars”. Sometimes a child rapist is simply an evil person, and an ’87 Cavalier is a horrible car. No process to either one, they just are what they are, and you’ve arrived at the “destination” without having to go through any process.

    I’m all for intelligent debate, but some things ARE absolutes, and a society that knows what they are is a society that has self-confidence and makes the world a better place. And an automotive website that knows its absolute truths makes the automotive world a better place as well.

    That being said, I gotta tell you that I love this website!

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Anyone who earns a spot on the BHO regime’s hit list has my undying support and respect. Congratulations Ed, and keep up the great journalism!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Because of this timing, however, my piece was apparently taken as a partisan attack on the White House… and it touched a nerve

    Attack on the White House? Yes, in a way. Partisan? No, not really.

    The meta-criticism that came after it certainly was, and I think that was likely the source of the ire. Your Op-Ed was a little ideological—the mention of taxpayers ensures that—but I wouldn’t have called it partisan. You went out of your way, in fact, to avoid making it a “Government Motors” cliche.

    I don’t agree with the premise because I think it’s a good product, and a necessary, and large. step in making personal transit sustainable. I also don’t have a problem with taxpayers incentivizing a paradigm shift that industry wouldn’t make on it’s own.

    But partisan? No, not at all. You’d have to be an absolutist (and a sycophant) to get that impression.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    I find this incredibly disturbing, not so much that Gibbs made an internet-level personal insult to Neidermeyer- I would personally be flattered by the jab.

    What is disturbing is the White House is acting like a PR tool for GM. That it has become so blatant that any criticism of a GM product results in a Lutz level reaction. People have a right to have an opinion in this country without being insulted by the Whitehouse afterall.

    This serves as evidence that the Whitehouse cannot handle the conflicts of interest that exist with a nationalized automaker and balancing equity and fairness that is required to also regulate it through various government agencies like NHTSA.

    Worse, these fear-mongering protectionist tendencies are reflective of countries we feel to have a moral superiority over.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    First of all- congrats on getting a piece on the NYT. I didn’t know until today that you had the opportunity. That’s an accomplishment in itself. Maybe the timing was just on your side, but getting noticed by the White House Press Secretary? Again, congrats. Some of us are quite proud of ya and your accomplishments thus far!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Gibbs is so slow it’s funny. You can see the wheels turning as he speaks.

  • avatar

    Ed, the premise of your NYT article that the future of GM depends on the Volt is faulty. It’s not likely that the failure of one model would bring down an auto company. The Volt is a leap (however small) in technology and it will certainly trickle down to other models. Yeah, only a fool would buy the Volt as it is now but if/when a Transit Van clone comes out in a few years it’ll be a hit. Battery tech is improving all the time and the prices will certainly come down. You’d rather GM not invest in any electric models or the half-assed ones like the Malibu Hybrid?

  • avatar
    Invisible

    When the new owners of Guberment Motors(the Detroit Mafia and the Chicago Mafia) you best be on the lookout for a horse head in your bed.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The first time I was really disappointed with President Obama was when he chose this guy to be his Press Secretary. This guy looked and sounded like a Bush carryover, even if he wasn’t. What, there were no comely lasses with Communications degrees from the U of C to choose from?

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      Usually Gibbs does a decent job but this playground low-blow to an american pointing out the obvious …. troubling. Maybe he’s getting burnt out. Spinning makes one dizzy, unfortunately it’s the nature of his chosen profession.

  • avatar
    chitbox dodge

    All this begs the questions:

    What happens if the Volt flops? (as it most likely will).
    If it takes GM out of the American picture altogether, will we have to see bail out #2?
    Will the government even be able to pull off another bailout, seeing how it is so strung out now?
    Is this why GM seems to be more focused on beefing up operations in east Asia, because they know the “end is nigh”? Maybe GM knows something we don’t or maybe they see that ‘Merica is a lost cause anymore?

    I’ve been waiting for the other foot to drop on the U.S. economy for my entire adult life. I have always been convinced that it was going to take a major player like GM to go belly up to put the last nail in the coffin. When they went to DC to panhandle I wanted to believe that there would be stipulations with the handouts. Turns out it was just hand outs.

    It seems the public believes the only thing that will happen is that the government may lose face. But that of course is a priceless commodity with the current administration. Face is all the have. At least previous administrations had an agenda, however wicked and self-serving as it might have been.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    I doubt there would be a bailout #2 if GM hits the skids again. The fallout from the first one has yet to really hit us yet. That said, all the bailout has done for GM is bought them time like the guy heading for the powerlines in his hot air balloon. Everything not essential goes over the side. He misses them by an inch, sighs of relief all around but what about the next set of powerlines? GM will either go down with a crash or will end up as a Chinese corporation.

    Anyway Mr. Neidermeyer, keep up the good work. Telling the truth takes courage and it always hurts those who want to keep it hidden.
    Well Done!

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      “all the bailout has done for GM is bought them time”

      Exactly. Because we bailed them out we (those that pay taxes) have a big voice in GMs future. Lets avoid being in this position again. OK.

      The new GM should be structured so that it’s not too big to fail. Then when performance laxes nature will be allowed to take it’s course. Maybe this is too difficult a task. Carry on soldier …

  • avatar
    msquare

    Frankly “Niedermayer…DEAD!” works best when opposing fans refer to hockey players Scott and Rob.

    I am surprised, though, by Gates’ comments. Sounds like he has some prior knowledge of TTAC’s editorial stand with respect to GM.

    Thing is, TTAC does have something in common with the partisan political wags on either side of the aisle. Something happens, you can predict what each side is going to say. And as far as anything GM does is concerned, TTAC is slavishly predictable. But sometimes Red Sox fans have legitimate things to say about the Yankees, and vice versa.

    Do I necessarily think GM is doing everything right with the Volt? No. Do I think it’s doomed to failure? Absolutely not, any more than the original Prius was. It’s priced in line with its initial cost, but the lease is heavily subsidized. As with the EV-1, GM clearly knows the type of customer who is going to take a chance on the Volt. The question needs to be whether there are enough of them and will GM treat them right?

    My feeling is if GM does the latter, there will be more of the former. The real proof of the pudding is whether the technology has any staying power in the rest of the GM line.

  • avatar
    phantomwolf

    First of all Ed, like one of the earlier respondents indicated, you have arrived, congratulations. However, you also may need to make sure you have your “i’s” dotted, and “t’s” crossed from now till the big O gets booted out of office, and then some. On another point, this is a political site, everything is political. The readers here for the most part are people who are passionate about cars. We have strong opinions about their style, performance, and what have you. However there are also people in this world who feel it is necessary to curb our ability to enjoy them for a variety of reasons. As car lovers, we naturally want to resist these people. This interaction between two groups makes us political. As such we are neither to the left, or to the right; we are on the automotive wing of the political spectrum, as opposed to the de-industrializing, anti-car wing of the political spectrum.

    ……..and yes, I know, somebody now is going to attack me on some point that I made. :)

  • avatar

    I enjoy Gibbs as the press secretary. Thats pretty much all I have to say.

  • avatar
    Emro

    just read this post now… congrats Ed! LOL

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Be proud, Niedermeyer. You’re not alone, as it seems Gibbs is showing a propensity to insult everyone lately:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/robert-gibbs-at-war-with-the-professional-left/

    Has he apologized to you yet for “inartful” comments?

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Pissing off the proletariat i see… Robert Farago would be proud.

    haven’t read the NYT piece, but if as some of the comments imply that Ed says the 50bil were spent on the Volt, i would be pissed off as well.

    better be fair, and reserved, rather than be in a stink-hol, the Volt’s technology might not be space age, but i think the concept is theoretically incredible. wonder why no one thought about it before.

    i think even without the batteries, it would be great and more efficient than conventional drive train. especially on large vehicles.

    The Volt is not the breaktrhough however, it’s merely the first stage, or it should be. the only way GM will make a killer is to apply the Volt EREV tech on the rest of their lineup, and better yet, figure out how to include Hydrogen fuel cells in the game. because ultimately that is what everyone wants to drive in the future.

    If the Obama admin want to have a grudge about the electrification of the auto industry, they should begrudge GM and Bush for scrapping the EV1, now that was GM’s greatest Sin…

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Wow. All this is on the Internet – well, it must all be true!

  • avatar
    whatever

    classy response, glad to see the high road is still in service.

  • avatar

    Ed: “On the continuum of jokes made throughout my life at the expense of my last name, Gibbs’ jab rates at about the sixth-grade level.”
    Since I have a very unusual last name, I have lived that attitude all my life from people who are bully-types in school and who think they are “funny” as adults.
    Gibbs is a jerk.  I don’t care for his boss either.  So anything that gets them agitated, I probably like.  I’ll be happy when they are gone.
    Cheers!


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