By on April 8, 2011

“I know some of these big guys, they’re all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything. You’re one of them? Well, now, here’s my point. If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon–(laughter)–you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? (Laughter.) Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then. “ — President Obama, speaking at a wind farm to a worker.

In what’s been called “a modern equivalent to ‘let them eat cake’,” the President instructed Americans with large families to buy a hybrid van during a speech yesterday.

Putting the political aspects — a foreign-owned wind farm employing 800 people at the same site which used to employ 8,000 with US Steel, the merits of having more than a single designer baby in one’s comfortable middle age, the idea that the President thinks there are a lot of 8mpg vehicles out there — it does make one wonder: Why doesn’t anybody make a hybrid van? Is there any reason that Toyota sells two entirely different Hybrid Synergy Drive systems in their Camry-based SUVs but doesn’t offer one in the Camry-based Sienna? What about Nissan? Hyundai? Could the Escape’s powertrain move a Flex?

And those are all so-called “mini” vans. Surely the Tahoe Hybrid’s two-mode system could also shove a Chevrolet Express Van down the road to church. Mercedes has been showing a diesel hybrid Sprinter for some time. Why not put hybrid drivetrains in the vehicles where they could do some of the most “good”? In the meantime, families approaching the five-passenger Prius limit may want to consider purchasing the most effective birth control method known to man: a “World Of Warcraft” subscription.

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217 Comments on “What You Need… Is A Hybrid Van...”


  • avatar
    eggsalad

    There may not be a lot of vehicles with an EPA rating of 8mpg city, but the way I see people drive SUV’s, i.e. lead foot away from every stop light, I’d be surprised if they achieved over 10 real-world MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      DIJacobi

      I may be repeating a few other comments here but this voice as an argument is currently vacant. All Obama bashing aside, what the President is trying to say is actually quite correct. Unfortunately, previous Republican led administrations and Congresses have entirely sidelined the energy issue and have so precipitated the current energy crisis. Now that proverbial chickens have come to roost, the way out is quite obvious. The question is how to implement. I am an electrical contractor. I do not have a fleet per se, but $5 a gallon gas is a crippling reality right about now for me and many others who need vans to do business. Along with other commodity speculation by the syndics and current Republican-led moves to maintain the profitable (for their backers) status-quo and then blame it on “the foreign nigger” is an insult to our collective intelligences right about now. Obama is trying to point out that digging the hole deeper IS NOT the key to getting out of it. The fact is that the relevant technology has been so well thwarted by the Big Energy syndics that it has to be actually developed (it never actually was!)in order to be effectively implemented is a sad testament to the state of the West these days and the wake up call to the naysayers. We should unite behind the progressives currently in office and solve this problem with technology, not with more costly oil wars a la Bush.

  • avatar
    86er

    Could be worse, he could’ve told them to put on a sweater…

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      God forbid that Americans should listen to commie notions like that…

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      The funny thing is, Carter was right.

      • 0 avatar

        @John Horner (assuming this comment system works properly)
         
        My favorite part about Carter is the old story about how Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House and Reagan took them down. Because God bless American energy use and obsession with fossil fuels, am I right guys? We can’t have solar panels on the White House, that’s being out of touch with the beliefs and ideals that America was built upon, gosh darn it.
         
        Carter told Americans to wear a sweater during the energy crisis and he was a tone-deaf out-of-touch elitist. Reagan built a trillion dollar system to shoot nuclear warheads with laser beams from outer space and he was a friend of the common American man.
         
        Yes, I know I’m comparing apples and oranges, but the Republican versus Democrat “well hurf durf they both suck” thing is tiresome. Yes they both suck, but one side of the argument is more than a little bit worse than the other. The fact that many think that Reagan was better than Abraham Lincoln while simultaneously likening Franklin Roosevelt to Joseph Stalin is absolutely mind boggling to me. Nobody has done that in this thread that I know of, at least not yet, but I’ve heard it insinuated and I find it astonishing.
         
        As for Obama’s remarks, they were truly stupid and tone deaf, actually dumber than Carter’s by a wide margin, but they were only as stupid as most of the other arguments I’ve heard from less-than-informed Americans. I have heard people say we should have used a nuclear device to close the leak during the BP oil spill based on the fact that the Russians did it and it worked 80% of the time (because Soviet politics are bad but their technology is great, right?) I’ve also heard arguments that we should shut down the nuclear plants because we could all die from a China syndrome, that we’re all going to die from fallout from Japan, that cell phones cause brain cancer and that the middle east crisis today is all America’s fault (hint: it’s not).
         
        People are idiots and Obama’s just another one of them.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Good Lord did Obama really say that? This is going to be another “scared people clinging to their guns”-type sound bite for Fox News. What a tone-deaf remark.

    I think you raise a good point. The penalty for the hybrid driving experience is a non-issue in a minivan or van, which already have sub-par driving dynamics. If you stuck a hybrid system into a minivan maybe one buyer out of 10 would notice.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I think you raise a good point. The penalty for the hybrid driving experience is a non-issue in a minivan or van, which already have sub-par driving dynamics. If you stuck a hybrid system into a minivan maybe one buyer out of 10 would notice.
       
      True.  Although now you’ve got me wondering what the % improvement fuel economy numbers are (hypothetically speaking) for given size classes of vehicles.  Are the biggest gains in hybrid tech to be had in smaller vehicles or larger vehicles?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The bigger gains are in larger vehicles and in urban driving.  It’s hard to squeeze blood from a stone.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        The lower the base fuel economy to begin with, the bigger the gas savings. For instance, in a hypothetical 10mpg van, if you somehow turn that into a 12mpg van you save about 1.7 gallons of gas per hundred miles driven. How efficient would you have to make a 30 MPG compact car to save the same 1.7 gallons per 100 miles driven? Over 60 MPG. So a hybrid Yukon actually makes more sense than a Prius. I mean, assuming you actually need the utility, and aren’t just commuting 100 miles each way by yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        Scott_314

        Good post Jellodyne. +1

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Sooo…Do I keep my Impala which gets me 32-33 mpg/hwy for my upcoming 100 mile r/t commute? Generally, in warm weather in my current commute, I average around 27.5 – 28.5 mpg. I imagine I’ll do slightly better in the near future when my commute changes. But is it enough to keep it? Hmmm…

      • 0 avatar

        jelodyne,
        Though they were widely mocked for it, that’s the logic behind GM rolling out the two-mode hybrid in their big pickups and SUVs first. Improving the mileage of America’s pickup fleet by 25% will save a lot more gas than a 50 mpg econobox.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @jellodyn- Great illustration! @psarhjinian also summarizesthe issues succinctly.

        GM is estimated to be losing $10,000+ on the Tahoe/Yukon hybrids (the even lower volume Escalade Hybrid is barely profitable at its higher price). Even then, the $13,000 premium for the Tahoe will take 21 years to pay for itself, based on-http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm

        Prius is reportedly profitable, but would require over 8 years of operation to recover an owner’s initial price premium in fuel savings. At that point, or probably not long afterward, the battery would have to be replaced!

        This illustrates the point that the technology is far from paying for itself at today’s fuel prices and technology level.    

      • 0 avatar
        hurls

        I don’t know the exact answer to Dan’s question, but this seems as good a time as any to point out the The MPG Illusion.

        Makes all of this (marketing) fighting over who’s got a 40 MPG vs. 39 MPG highway car seem pretty silly when the real gains are to be made on improving the 14 to 17 in the city on the big SUVs, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        The Walking Eye

        @doctor olds:

        8 years to pay off the Prius compared to what? A Yaris or similar tiny econobox? Or against it’s actual size competition, in which it’s competitively priced?

      • 0 avatar

        Larger vehicles benefit far more. Hence why Trains have been using what automakers would call hybrid technology for decades now.

        The problem with electrics in a van is packaging. The gas motor is already squeezed in there so tight you have to perform microsurgery to change the oil, I’d hate to think how bad it would be with an added electric motor.

        The only solution would be to either stretch the nose to cartoonish proportions or put the electric in the back, which wouldn’t work without seriously re-engineering the platforms.

        People who are talking about hybrid payback are making 2 errors in this case. Firstly, they are using car MPG figures in their calculations (The laughable mild hybrids in the GMTs are really such in name only) and secondly they’re assuming a typical car mileage per year. Fleet vehicles generally get a lot more mileage.

        Add to that the fact that a lot of commercial fleet vehicles spend their time slowly puttering around, towing and idling and hybrids make sense. The problem is packaging.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @The Walking Eye- Sorry for the obscure comment! I was comparing the Prius at $23,050 base price to the top gas engine fuel economy car, Cruze Eco at $18,425, using EPA fuel use estimates at the fueleconomy.gov website.
        I know the Cruze is larger, better equipped and more refined, really out of Prius’ league.
        I just happened to have the payback years in my memory bank from a comment I did research to make last week. There may be better examples that would make the Prius payback take longer, but I am a GM man and like pointing out that the Cruze Eco is the leader in conventional gas engine fuel economy at the moment! It is also a hell of a good car that is climbing the sales charts.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @doctor olds,
      When my wife bought her Prius, she was cross shopping it with a brand new Volvo.  I’m not sure which one, but I don’t think there’s anything on the Volvo lot that costs less than the Prius.  So, it started saving her money the day she drove it off the lot — and it’s still saving us money 7 years and 126k miles later.  The maintenance and fuel costs have been better than any car I’ve ever taken care of — and, due to the way its interior space is designed, it’s also the most useful small car I’ve ever driven.

      Your comparison is technically correct — and it holds true if you cross-shop a Prius with the Yaris and the Fit.  But I don’t think this comparison reflects the realty of who is buying the Prius, and what they would buy if it didn’t exist.  It seems to me that the Prius is grabbing buyers from more expensive cars across the board, not the econoboxes.

      Don’t get me wrong, the Fit and the Yaris are great little cars (and the press I’ve heard about the Cruze suggests that GM is finally gearing up to compete in the segment, and Ford beat them to it with the world-platform  Fiesta/Focus).  I can’t say anything bad about those cars, and my friend’s Fit has many of the same interior-space advantages that the Prius has.  But the Prius’s reputation for being a green technology car makes it possible for it to steal business from the Volvos and BMWs of the world, and once the shiny green halo wears off, the car turns out to be an excellent transportation appliance with exceptionally low fuel consumption and low running costs — so these buyers stay happy with it after the purchase, too.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The problem is this: minivans and vans, more often than crossovers, trucks and sedans, are utilitarian, and are bought on price.  They have to make economic sense *right now*.
     
    For example: someone buying a Sienna really needs a Sienna and is probably going to beat the dealer up on price on a base CE or maybe an LE.  Someone buying a Highlander is someone who probably should have bought a Sienna, but has too fragile an ego to do it.  That same utilitarianism is going to keep them from paying the premium for a hybrid (or diesel, or what-have-you) until the payback is rock-solid.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      The percentage gains would be significant, and most vans are used for routine suburban back and forth trips to schools, shops, athletic fields etc.  A hybrid wouldn’t help highway mileage all that much.  It’s actually a very good potential application for Toyota’s hybrid drive. Few people tow anything with a van.  That’s Sequoia territory.
      I don’t think many potential Sienna buyers purchase a Highlander.  Unlike 20 years ago, today the vans are immense.  Much bigger than a Highlander.  Nobody with a mere two kids needs a Sienna, although a Highlander would make sense or a Venza.  A FWD Highlander has better MPG than a Sienna I believe.
       
       
       
       

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        FWD 4cyl Highlander is rated at 25mpg on the highway.  FWD Sienna w/ the same 4cyl is 24mpg.  Highlander Hybrid is 28mpg both city and highway with AWD and V6.  I think there are some definitely gains that can be made over the 22mpg AWD, V6 Sienna with the hybrid drivetrain.  I would expect that Toyota is definitely planning a hybrid Sienna. 

        Toyota is making a family of 4/5 ready Prius with the v model.  It is a 7 seater in Europe & Japan, but the acceleration and space expectations are quite different there than the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The Highlander more or less exactly matches the Sienna for mileage.  It’s marginally lighter, but less aerodynamic.  The same is true of the Pilot and Oddy.
         
        I see your point about the two kids thing, but if you’re at the stage, the Matrix and Prius are about as good as the Highlander in terms of interior space, whereas the Sienna is a huge step up in packaging convenience.  If you want a hybrid, you’ll either go Prius, or Highlander.  Hybrid and minivan?  The intersection of those two buying groups is not high.
         

      • 0 avatar
        Bob12

        A couple of points:
        1) 2 rows vs. 3 rows of seats is also part of the buying equation.
        2) I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Mazda 5 yet in this thread. Compact and fuel-efficient yet has 3 rows of seats. The question is whether the prospective buyer fears or embraces the sliding doors.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Mazda 5 yet in this thread. Compact and fuel-efficient yet has 3 rows of seats.

        I actually looked that the 5 when we bought a Sienna.  It’s not a lot more fuel efficient than the Sienna is, and gives up a lot of versatility, but it is a nice car.

        I think that, were the powertrain supplied by someone other than Mazda (who has a perennial problem with real-world mileage) I would have more strongly considered it.  It also suffers for not having enough front seat-track travel (you have to be really tall for this to be an issue) and no easy walk-through to the second and third row.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        psarhjinian: “The intersection of those two buying groups is not high”

        Funny you should mention that.  I’m a Prius driver who has been thinking about replacing the vehicle in the beater/heavy-hauler slot in my driveway (which is currently a Ford Ranger) with a minivan.  I’d love a small hybrid minivan about the size of the Mazda 5.  The catch is that the thing needs to be able to tow small a utility trailer to the hardware store, and also use roofracks.  The Prius 7 (or whatever the Prius-based MPV that’s coming out next year) may not have the external cargo capacity.  Also, I’d prefer to go electric or plugin-hybrid rather than regular hybrid, but if we need the space, we need the space.

        (I looked at a Mazda MPV the other day and liked it.  I just wish it were a little smaller.  Other minivans (such as the Chrystler Grand Caravan) are exactly the wrong size for me — they’re just a little bit too big to be a passenver vehicle, but they’re literally a fraction of an inch too small to haul a 4′x8′ sheet of plywood flat on the floor.  I’d buy a bigger minivan or a smaller one, but that size is just wrong, and it’s a temptation for me to shove that piece of plywood in there anyway and damaging the oh-so-civilized interior. It seems that my and my wife’s preference in car-sizes is decidedly European, so Ford’s world-car strategy might really earn our business…)
         

      • 0 avatar
        Slocum

        Our minivan is used for towing, and rarely driven in town.  We could have bought a FWD midsize SUV, but the fuel economy is the same or worse with the SUV (Highlander 20/25 vs Sienna 19/24,  Pilot 17/23 vs Odyssey 19/28), the utility of the minivan is so much better, and I really don’t care about the image.

    • 0 avatar
      conswirloo

      Not saying this is a rational decision, but my wife liked the highlander better than a minivan because its easier to put a baby in the seat in the highlander.

      Of course, now that our girl is 4 a minivan would work better for her, because it would be easier for her to climb in.  

      As other people have mentioned, a hybrid just isn’t cost effective right now.

    • 0 avatar
      MusicMachine

      One does not need either extremes: gobs of power or a hybrid.  

      My wife and I have two kids.  We drive a 2 ton 2005, Saturn Vue (SUV) 4 cyl. 5 speed. Forget the EPA.  I average 26 MPG.  Plenty of power.  It’s not hard to drive either.  

      Our “run-about” is a 1997 Geo Metro four door, 4 cyl. 5 speed.  We average 39 MPG even with the a/c on. And in a pinch, the whole family can ride in it comfortably.  

      If you do your homework, research http://www.fueleconomy.gov, you can find a car that gets hybrid milage with out buying a hybrid.

  • avatar
    vvk

    If the guy has 10 kids, gas mileage is the least of his problems.

    But I don’t believe it because a man with 10 kids does not have time to go to town hall meetings.

    Anyway, a diesel Sprinter van would fit the bill nicely. 

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      One concern would be overall cost.  A paid for Suburban at 8mpg is still cheaper than making a payment on a new hybrid.  Just because you’re saving gas, doesn’t mean you’re saving money.

      • 0 avatar
        Don Mynack

        Exactly. Plus the “carbon cost” of maintaining an existing vehicle, over that of manufacturing a new one, is much, much less.  A 10 (or even 20) year old Suburban, well-tuned, is better for the environment than any new vehicle – the carbon for its creation has already been expended. Plus, with the low cost of entry, you are basically just paying for gas/maintenance.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a number of friends with very large families (I live in the heart of the orthodox Jewish community here). I’m talking 8, 9, 10 or more kids.  To a person they regard their children as blessings, not problems. Minivans abound here, and there’s still some GM B-body wagons, but a lot of large families opt for passenger versions of the Econoline and comparable GM & Dodge work vans.
       
      In families that large, the older kids tend to supervise the younger kids so mom and dad actually do get things done.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Yes, but the years before your family becomes, ah, self-sustaining, are tricky.  It’s also very hard when you’re a) relatively less wealthy, and b) have two working parents and no way to arrange care.
         
        Ask me how I know.
         
        It’s made even harder by the hard sell of isolationism that’s packaged with suburbia.  Communal parenting (“it takes a village to raise a child”) is dead outside of certain social colelctives like yours.  You can thank the “paedophile behind every corner” fearmongering for this state of affairs, but it’s part-and-parcel with suburbanization.
         
        Personally, I think it’s rather sad.  You’d expect to see younger kids out playing on the street.  Instead, everyone is sequestered inside their own lot and shuttled back and forth.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Personally, I think it’s rather sad.  You’d expect to see younger kids out playing on the street.  Instead, everyone is sequestered inside their own lot and shuttled back and forth.

        That’s why I moved to a small town.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        That’s why I moved to a small town.

        Ditto (depending on your definition of “small”) but even here it’s still frowned upon.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Ditto (depending on your definition of “small”) but even here it’s still frowned upon.

        450 souls, how’s that grab ya? 

        And yeah, compared to Regina, the kids are out way more here, but I didn’t exactly move back to the 1950s…  :)

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        We have about ten times that, but that would be taking into account the, ahem, greater metropolitan area.  The actual town is more like ~3500.
         
        There’s no real reason you couldn’t have this in major cities, and you actually do see it in some of Toronto’s more colourful neighbourhoods.  But it’s the exception, not the rule.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    A more basic question is Why the hell is a blue collar worker having 10 kids?!? That’s what Obama should have asked him.
    Sure if you’re multimillionaire have at it – you can afford it. But the rest of us? 2-3 kids at the max. Hell that guy can’t even drive as a family in a single vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      If you think the blow back from this “scandalous remark” was overblown (and you’d think right), then try to imagine the headlines the day after Obama gave a speech where he said the equivalent of “Only people with money should have children.” That’s just slightly better than “Only land owning white men should be voting”.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        The only reason we stopped at 3 was our ages. We would have had more if we had married younger. Every one of them is a blessing and a treasure far greater than money. I am sorry you don’t feel that way. But saving money and worrying about gas mileage are not any rational man’s goals in life.

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        Hey I never said kids aren’t great or they aren’t precious joys. But if you can’t afford them, you have too many. And if $4 a gallon gas is putting that big of a crimp in your life, then you have too many. You’re obligated to raise them and take care of them and that means financially too. I’m sorry if you find it insulting but along with love and joy, you have to be realistic when it comes to having a family.

    • 0 avatar
      KaneShadow

      Cuz Jesus don’t love no birth control!  Life is precious!

      Have you ever seen the intro scene to the movie Idiocracy?

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Why would anyone believe that humanity is on a downward spiral at this stage of humanity? Each of us living today are the results of dozens of our ancestors. If there is a downward spiral as claimed by this silly and insulting movie, then we have no reason to brag because we are the same. You end up insulting yourself.

        There are billions of people alive after billions more have lived. If there was some thing such as claimed by this stupid movie then you would not exist. You wouldn’t be intelligent enough at this point in human history to even compose the arrogant elitist statement you just wrote.

        The man you are attempting to defend is the son of a Kenyan shepherd. The gentleman you are attempting to insult is someone you do not know at all. So your comments really don’t make an awful lot of sense unless. The only Idiocracy I have witnessed in my life comes from those who have forgotten humility.

      • 0 avatar
        cfclark

        I missed it because I was watching “Ow! My Balls!”. 

        The guy with the 8 mpg vehicle and 10 tax exemptions, er, kids to cart around is actually not being that uneconomical on a fuel-consumed-per-passenger basis, although the absolute cost is considerable, I’m sure.

        (Edit: Strikethrough doesn’t work, or just doesn’t work on my browser?)

    • 0 avatar

      A more basic question is what business is it of the president’s (or yous, for the matter) to ask someone why they have 10 kids? As I said above, I have friends and neighbors with 8-12 kids. They are far from rich and based on family size many would meet criteria for poverty level. They can afford it because they put a priority on their children, not having a nice car or going on expensive vacations.
       
      Maybe when they reach 6 million, they’ll reconsider.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        A more basic question is what business is it of the president’s (or yous, for the matter) to ask someone why they have 10 kids?

        It’s a free society.  Part of that freedom is the freedom to be criticized.  People forget that.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        It’s a free society.  Part of that freedom is the freedom to be criticized.  People forget that.

        I don’t know if it’s necessarily that “people forget that”.  I suppose my question would be, what purpose does it serve to criticize the person after they’ve had 10 kids?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        …what purpose does it serve to criticize the person after they’ve had 10 kids?

        Good point.  Possibly because it’s a demonstrative example?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Ronnie, I listened twice; I didn’t hear the President ask why the guy had 10 kids.

        I did notice the President shook his head as if in amazement.  That I understand; I’ve got enough trouble with 4 of my own.  I can’t imagine how anyone lives through 10.  The average family is 2.something or thereabouts, so this is not going to be an uncommon reaction.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Cue the ‘OMG the gummint is gonna tell me Ah cain’t have a three quarter ton truck with a lift kit as a daily driver’ crowd.
     
    SRSLY, where is the hybrid minivan?
     
     

  • avatar
    Stacy McMahon

    I used to also wonder why there were no diesel or hybrid vans, until I bought one for my wife. She’s put 6500 miles on it in 12 months, at least 1200 of which were our family vacation last summer. That’s pretty typical for our neighbors, too. At that level, the difference in TCO for the vehicle between 12mpg or 22 is negligible. Reliability and ease of operation (for example, not having to remember to go to a particular fuel pump) is a lot more important…

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Well telling an 8-MPG SUV buyer to get a van isn’t exactly like telling a peasant to eat cake.  After all they already own a big SUV. 

    It’s more like telling someone who’s complaining that pie crusts are too hard to chew since they only have 10 teeth that maybe they should try cake.

  • avatar

    I get between 16 and 18 mpg city in Wrangler RUBICON (taken at refill, not computer). That thing is HEAVY. I do not see how an F-150 would get any less than 15 mpg, unless it runs loaded all day.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Sorry Baruth, not one of your better posts, in fact, a complete hack post…is it really Niedermeyer (an avowed “No-Hoper”) using your name as a pseudonym? (Kidding, ha ha, I kid!)

    So, what’s Obama supposed to do? Set American energy policy based on the needs of a man who either…
    A) Can’t keep it in his pants
    B) Is too stoopid to use birth control, or refuses to practice it based on extreme religious views
    C) Is lying about his alleged massive fertility in an attempt to “set up” the President.

    This is NOT a “let them eat cake moment”…rather, Obama should have mentioned that as the Republicans are attempting to shut down our government over funding for Planned Parenthood, (while refusing to eliminate tax cuts for millionaires, or subsidies for oil companies…ahem)  that women’s health care and birth control may yet still be available at reasonable cost, and AFTER visiting his local “hybrid van dealer”, he ought to check it out..so as to prevent the arrival of an 11th child, and the need for 2 hybrid vans for his ridiculous Duggar-size crew!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1
      The President was right to say you (ie the average citizen) cannot complain about the price of gas if you have a very inefficient vehicle. From the video there was someone else with a 8 children family – something in the water maybe! But hardly typical since the average family is 2 or 3 children.
      When GM did the hybrid Tahoe it made a massive difference %wise and as others have said there should be more hybrid large vehicles (including minivans) rather than concentrating on the mid-size car section only.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Exactly.
       
      There is a political philosophy that purports to be all about personal accountability. That same philosophy argues stridently for folks to drive ‘what they can afford’ and promotes policies that encourages excessive petrol consumption and restrictions to birth control. Then encourages the base to get in a snarl when gravity sets in. That political philosophy is known as hypocrisy.
       
      Count me among the millions of folks who get irritated when the < 10mpg crowd starts the Boehner-tears when gas gets above $3.50. If you can’t afford birth control, you can’t afford 10 kids.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Obama really doesn’t lose much by making this speech.  The kind of people who will have issues with criticism about the number of kids they have or the SUV they drive is probably already a die-hard Republican.
       
      This speech, and ones like it, is intended to motivate the progressive Left, who is more than a little disillusioned.  That it galvanizes his opponents is a) not a problem, and b) probably a good thing as it gives him something to define himself and his followers against.  It’s the same tactic his opponents use, only in a different direction.**
       
      ** How many leftists were really turned by the whole “death panels” thing?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      sfdennis1: So, what’s Obama supposed to do? Set American energy policy based on the needs of a man who either…
      A) Can’t keep it in his pants
      B) Is too stoopid to use birth control, or refuses to practice it based on extreme religious
      views.

      Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine a single mother on welfare with three kids (usually by two different fathers) complains about the insufficiency of welfare payments or the fact that her children don’t have all of things that middle-class and upper-middle class children enjoy.

      Based on your response, it’s okay for a conservative Republican or a Libertarian to tell her to:

      1. Keep her legs together instead of spreading them for every bozo with a pulse;
      2. Don’t have any kids until she can pay for them herself;
      3. Drop the extreme belief that productive members of society are somehow obligated to foot the bill for her amazing ability to pop out future stars of America’s Most Wanted.  

      Somehow, I’m sure that this response would cause the heads of many on the left to explode in indigation. Well, what’s sauce for the goose…
       
      sfdennis1: C) Is lying about his alleged massive fertility in an attempt to “set up” the President.

      If he is lying, that should be easy to discover. Given that it hasn’t by this point (the story has been floating around for two days now, and it’s easy to investigate this sort of information with the internet), I would say that he really does have ten kids. Now, he may have ADOPTED some of them, but they are still his kids, and he is legally obligated to provide for them.

      This may come as a shock to someone who lives in a place like San Francisco, where children are more the exception than the norm. There are, however, people who dwell on more important, deeper matters, than a new sequel to Sex and the City or the hottest bistro of the month.

      sfdennis1: This is NOT a “let them eat cake moment”

      Yes, it is. I know that it’s painful for the True Believers to contemplate that the President, who was sold as some sort of cross between Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ, could say something so clueless, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of what he said.

      The man specifically asked how he was supposed to afford gas when it is almost $4 a gallon, and he gets a lecture about how he should cope by buying a very expensive new vehicle. Which, of course, to anyone with even a passing knowledge of economics or Budgeting 101, is sheer nonsense.

      Now, the president COULD have said that the price of gasoline is subject to world market forces beyond his control, and that would have been a correct answer. He, unfortunately, apparently isn’t intellectually agile enough to answer an off-the-cuff question like that with a factual response.

      One should note, however, that when gas prices rose during President Bush’s second term in office, that simple explanation was conspicuous by its absence, particularly among the people now rushing to defend the current president.

      Which suggests, of course, that it helps to have a memory of history that extends before January 21, 2009 when discussing politics and events, to avoid looking either foolish or hypocritical.

      sfdennis1: And the comments about the need for this man to use birth control …rather, Obama should have mentioned that as the Republicans are attempting to shut down our government over funding for Planned Parenthood,

      The man doesn’t need Planned Parenthood services. He doesn’t want them. He wants an answer regarding the price of gasoline and how he is supposed to afford it. Last time I checked, Planned Parenthood is not in the petroleum refining and distribution business. 

      sfdennis1: (while refusing to eliminate tax cuts for millionaires, or subsidies for oil companies…ahem) 

      You mean the tax cuts that were extended by President Obama? 

      sfdennis1: that women’s health care and birth control may yet still be available at reasonable cost, and AFTER visiting his local “hybrid van dealer”, he ought to check it out..so as to prevent the arrival of an 11th child, and the need for 2 hybrid vans for his ridiculous Duggar-size crew!

      Funny, if he had dared to criticize YOUR lifestyle, he would undoubtedly be told to mind his own business, and not be so narrow-minded. Which is advice that you need to take.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        Essentially your saying “imagine if movement conservatives held a minority single mother to account, and denigrated her lifestyle as an example.”
         
        One doesn’t have to imagine too hard, Geeber. You’re three bullet points, and upward wealth redistribution, has pretty much been the Republican platform since 1968.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        cackalacka: Essentially your saying “imagine if movement conservatives held a minority single mother to account, and denigrated her lifestyle as an example.”

        Which, the last time I checked, is what other posters are doing to the gentleman who dared to question the president. 

        The difference, of course, is that there is no proof that his having ten children has been detrimental to his community, or that he is not raising them properly. Meanwhile, the side effects of welfare dependency and absentee fathers have been well documented by this point. At least, to those of us who are paying attention.  

        If you doubt that, my wife, who was a social worker and now teaches special education in a poor, urban school district, can enlighten you on that matter. Unlike many “advocates” for the poor, she knows firsthand their problems, and the source of those problems (hint - the source is not Republicans or the rich).
         
        I’m also amused that having children out of wedlock and expecting everyone else to pay for it is now apparently a “lifestyle,” much like backpacking across Europe during the summer between your junior and senior year of college.

        cackalacka: One doesn’t have to imagine too hard, Geeber. You’re three bullet points, and upward wealth redistribution, has pretty much been the Republican platform since 1968.

        Funny, but wealth distribution has been changing in the same way in European nations, too. I guess American Republicans were secretly running all of those nations during that time? Who knew?

      • 0 avatar
        ixim

        WOW! +1 many times! Wish I’d said it myself.

    • 0 avatar

      So, if we were talking about a different group of people than bible believing Christians or Orthodox Jews, would your comments be acceptable?
       
      So, what’s Obama supposed to do? Set American energy policy based on the needs of a black man who either…
      A) Can’t keep it in his pants
      B) Is too stoopid to use birth control, or refuses to practice it based on his desire to have as many baby mommas as possible.
      C) Is lying about his alleged massive fertility.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Wait- Geeber- if you are making that equivalency with your example of the welfare mother and the questioner- – I am assuming that you are either saying both have no grounds to complain, or both do have grounds to complain.  Which is it?  If not, then there is no equivalency and you have no point.  No?

        You are also making the straw-man fallacy of thinking that because liberals defend a certain amount of a social safety net they also think welfare should not have limits. 
        Now surely there are some few that might think that, but likewise there are some that think we should have no government at all.

        Just as I believe the social safety net by definition must have limits, I also believe there are limits on what kind of lifestyle you can expect when you have a certain sized family paired with a certain sized income.  

        The fact that you yourself point out the real reaon for rising gas-prices, rising global demand, and market forces, I would think you would realize that their is no answer to the question other than the best thing you can do for yourself is to make the right decisions for yourself.  Which in this case would be to buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible when possible.  Which is essentially what Obama said.  Not in the best way he could of, I give you that. 

         

      • 0 avatar
        sfdennis1

        @ Geeber/ RS

        Thank you for showing the beauty of the “we can dish it out but can’t take it” skool of thin-skinned oversensitivity to ANY criticism of “God-fearin’ Child-bearin’ Christianist White Real Amurricans”… That lovely group of often well-meaning people recieves a fraction, A VERY SMALL FRACTION of most of societies’ criticism, but is usually the first to get offended and claim victim status. Nice try, but you can both relax and know that there are lots and lots of y’all in powerful positions and your influence over society isn’t going away anytime soon.

        My original post was a snarky commentary implying that, um, maybe having 10 kids (!) is a “bit much” to use as any legitimate basis of critique for the unreasonable attacks on this BRIEF quip by Obama…and I stand by my belief that WHATEVER the commenters, race, religion, etc…uh…he had 10 kids, kind of his “beautiful mess” to deal with…don’t wanna have to spend big money on a gas sucking van to transport 10 kids?…Then don’t have 10 kids, problem solved!!!  Easy-squeezy!

        Maybe I’m a closet-republican, here I am advocating for personal responsibilty (pay your own way and be quiet about it) and ending subsidizing cheap transportation for every whining complainer stuck after they short-sightedly bought a gas hog…

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you for showing the beauty of the “we can dish it out but can’t take it” skool of thin-skinned oversensitivity to ANY criticism of “God-fearin’ Child-bearin’ Christianist White Real Amurricans”
         
         
        Thank you for showing clearly just how much you despise other Americans.
         
        And yes, this Jew is proud to defend Christians when they are unfairly attacked. Keep telling yourself how smart, tolerant and sophisticated you are. I guess it’s not what you say that makes you a bigot, it’s who you say it about. “white Christianist Amurricans”? Perfectly acceptable. Black Republicans? Perfectly fine to use racial slurs. Anointed minorities like black Democrats or Islamists? How dare you criticize the less fortunate.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        ringomon: Wait- Geeber- if you are making that equivalency with your example of the welfare mother and the questioner- – I am assuming that you are either saying both have no grounds to complain, or both do have grounds to complain.  Which is it?  If not, then there is no equivalency and you have no point.  No?

        No, I am turning their own arguments – used to bash the man who dared to question to president – against one of the left’s sacred cows. The fact that it hits the target shows their hypocrisy, as well as the silliness of their cries for “tolerance” of others.

        ringomon: You are also making the straw-man fallacy of thinking that because liberals defend a certain amount of a social safety net they also think welfare should not have limits. Now surely there are some few that might think that, but likewise there are some that think we should have no government at all.

        Liberals have gone beyond defending a “certain amount of a social safety net.” In my job, it’s my responsibility to track what people say about this subject. I didn’t set up a strawman. I accurately restated their arguments.

        ringomon: The fact that you yourself point out the real reaon for rising gas-prices, rising global demand, and market forces, I would think you would realize that their is no answer to the question other than the best thing you can do for yourself is to make the right decisions for yourself.

        I never said that the president was to blame for rising gas prices. Now, you tell me – were you defending President Bush when gasoline prices were rising during HIS second term? You know, when Bushcheneyhalliburton was somehow responsible for rising gasoline prices, and they were bankrupting the average American, and it was all that Texas oilman’s fault, because he only wanted to line Exxon’s pockets?

        Or did you, like many Democrats and others on the left, miraculously discover how petroleum markets really work in the last few weeks?

        ringomon: Which in this case would be to buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible when possible.  Which is essentially what Obama said.  Not in the best way he could of, I give you that. 

        Only if you already plan to buy a new car. Otherwise, telling someone to cope with rising gas prices by buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle (which ignores that the car payments and higher insurance premiums for the new vehicle will outweigh any gasoline savings) is the height of financial cluelessness.

        We’re dealing with the President of the United States, who is apparently so much smarter and than the rest of us rubes. I was repeatedly told this during the last election (as I said in a prior post, it helps to have a memory that extends before January 21, 2009).

        I guess that next time, before taking a question such as this,  he needs to consult with the posters on this board, who apparently know more about vehicle economics than he does.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Wait- you think the Cadillac welfare queen is the left’s sacred cow?  It’s just as much a sacred cow of the right.  They definitely got a lot more mileage out of it.  

        Much of your response you just gave is basically well  the left do it, so I’ll do it right back.
        But the left is also always wrong, right? 

        Do you not see the hypocrisy in this?

        And this:Liberals have gone beyond defending a “certain amount of a social safety net.” In my job, it’s my responsibility to track what people say about this subject. I didn’t set up a strawman. I accurately restated their arguments.

        What does it mean?  Can you be more specific?   Who is saying what?  Who are you tracking? 

        I’m done here just because I’m not going to be able to balance out your histrionic talking points. I learned that lesson long ago.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        sfdennis1: Thank you for showing the beauty of the “we can dish it out but can’t take it” skool of thin-skinned oversensitivity to ANY criticism of “God-fearin’ Child-bearin’ Christianist White Real Amurricans”…

        I know that it stings because the posts hit close to home, but that doesn’t make their point any less valid.

        sfdennis1: That lovely group of often well-meaning people recieves a fraction, A VERY SMALL FRACTION of most of societies’ criticism, but is usually the first to get offended and claim victim status.

        This from someone who went ballistic over the fact that Mr. Baruth said that owner of Gawker is gay – a fact that has been long known to any of us who have regularly read his sites (Defamer and Jalopnik), or at least did until the lousy redesign? sfdennis, methinks you doth protest too much here…  

        And the idea that conservative, religious people are somehow immune from criticism, or not often subject to it, is not true in the real world. Spend some time with FIRE, which works to protect free speech on college campuses. The simple fact is that a lot of their cases involve liberal college administrators attempting to shut down groups that they don’t like, or disagree with their views.

        sfdennis1: Maybe I’m a closet-republican, here I am advocating for personal responsibilty (pay your own way and be quiet about it) and ending subsidizing cheap transportation for every whining complainer stuck after they short-sightedly bought a gas hog…

        You apparently don’t understand the original question. He wanted to know why gasoline prices were so high. Now, the president could have explained that the petroleum market is a worldwide one, and it is beyond the ability of the U.S. to control.

        The questioner wasn’t asking us to subsidize his gasoline purchases.

        The questioner believed that there are artificial forces driving up the price, and the president could “do something” about it. He is largely wrong, of course.

        Given that the current president campaigned on his ability to do everything up to and including curing cancer, ushering in a new era of world peace and ridding us of Justin Beiber forever, one can forgive this man for believing in his awesome, almost supernatural, abilities. Especially since the questioner has undoubtedly heard the left and Democrats bash the former president over high gasoline prices.

        Pot, meet kettle…

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        ringomon: Wait- you think the Cadillac welfare queen is the left’s sacred cow?  It’s just as much a sacred cow of the right.  They definitely got a lot more mileage out of it. 

        It helps to understand what “sacred cow” really means. It refers to a subject that is supposedly beyond criticism, and must be defended at all costs. People on welfare have been criticized by those on the right…but those same people have not been defended by them. That is the job of those on the left. Welfare recipients are a sacred cow to those on the left. Those on the right criticize them.
         
        ringomon: Much of your response you just gave is basically well  the left do it, so I’ll do it right back. But the left is also always wrong, right? 

        In this case, yes, because we know the detrimental effect that welfare dependency and single parenthood have on our communitites, and there is no proof that having ten kids has those same or worse effects. For all that we know, he could have adopted some of those kids out of foster care. So should he be condemned for giving them a home, or is it better that they languish in the foster care system?
         
        ringomon: Do you not see the hypocrisy in this?

        The hypocrisy was displayed by those who criticized the man for having ten children – the same people who preach tolerance for those with different lifestyles or different life choices.

        It’s one thing to explain to him that gasoline prices are not determined by the president of the United States (which is true).

        It’s another to suggest that he have his tubes tied because he doesn’t need to have that many children. (Which is none of their business – I see no proof that he receives state money to raise his children. If it turns out that he DOES receive some form of welfare, then I’ll join in the suggestions that he not have more children than he can afford.) 

        ringomon: And this:Liberals have gone beyond defending a “certain amount of a social safety net.” In my job, it’s my responsibility to track what people say about this subject. I didn’t set up a strawman. I accurately restated their arguments. What does it mean?  Can you be more specific?   Who is saying what?  Who are you tracking? 

        I work in Pennsylvania state government, and one of my respsonsibilities is to track what various groups say about appropriations in the state budget. Given that welfare is one of the two largest expenditures in the state budget (along with K-12 education), and we are facing a $4 billion deficit that will require cuts in the 2011-12 fiscal year budget, lots of people and groups have weighed in on the plight of those on welfare. I am well aware of the rhetoric and arguments used by those on the left. I read them everyday.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Geeber- thank you for being so condescending.
        It is the fake welfare queen “issue” that is the  sacred cow of the right. 

        Most of the left’s support of welfare is a don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater thing.
        You seem to think there’s nothing but bathwater.  As someone deeply involved in the issues, I would like to think you would have a more nuanced view of the situation.  I’ll leave it at that.

        I’m never gonna comment again on anything but defending the front end of the Mazda 3!  I’ve learned my lesson.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        ringomon: Geeber- thank you for being so condescending.

        If I came across as condescending, I apologize. But welfare queens have not been a sacred cow of the right.

        ringomon: I’m never gonna comment again on anything but defending the front end of the Mazda 3!  I’ve learned my lesson.

        Why not? I think that you are doing well in keeping up with the rather lively debate, especially if these aren’t subject matters you regularly discuss. You improve by participating in this sort of debate regularly.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        I hope you don’t take my white flag as a sign of victory.

        I give up because having a conversation with someone that thinks the manufactured “welfare queen” issue in any way reflect the true stance of those who see the value in a healthy safety net, and think those people don’t believe in some level of personal responsibilty- is not worth my time.  Too far gone.

        Final point- someone with 10 children is either wealthy enough to not worry too much about gas prices, or knows in his heart that worst comes to worst (prolonged unemployment, sickness) that very social net will come in to make sure they don’t all starve to death. 

      • 0 avatar

        Final point- someone with 10 children is either wealthy enough to not worry too much about gas prices, or knows in his heart that worst comes to worst (prolonged unemployment, sickness) that very social net will come in to make sure they don’t all starve to death.
         
        Again, I know people with 10 or more kids. For the most part, they support themselves. Should they have a problem they are far more likely (at least in this community) to rely on communal resources, than on governmental resources.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        ringomon: I give up because having a conversation with someone that thinks the manufactured “welfare queen” issue in any way reflect the true stance of those who see the value in a healthy safety net, and think those people don’t believe in some level of personal responsibilty- is not worth my time. 

        I’m familiar with the arguments and rhetoric surrounding this issue, as well as the actual benefits and programs available to people. We’ve gone well beyond providing a safety net for people who are temporarily down on their luck. We’ve provided a way of life for people who aren’t interested in improving themselves or their lot in life.

        ringomon: Final point- someone with 10 children is either wealthy enough to not worry too much about gas prices, or knows in his heart that worst comes to worst (prolonged unemployment, sickness) that very social net will come in to make sure they don’t all starve to death. 

        There is a considerable difference between someone who falls on hard times, and needs a helping hand, and someone who has children that he or she cannot afford from day one. It helps to understand that key distinction. The simplistic, naive approach is to group everyone under the same umbrella just because they have received public assistance (let alone attempting to equate someone who MIGHT receive public assistance with someone clearly milking the system). I would suggest not taking that approach.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I’ve seen more than a few “welfeare queens,” and dealt with them personally.  I’m still a liberal because children shouldn’t be made to suffer for the sins of the parents.

        Yeah, for a lot of kids (on welfare and not) their upbringing sucks and is full of examples of bad choices.  Short of forcing kids into orphanages, though, I don’t see how you’re going to address their basic health and wellness reequirements without giving them money and some of that money is going to stick to unworthy parents.  That’s just how it goes.

        Of course, one could do the Reaganesque thing and reduce the welfare rolls by encouraging abortion.  And later denying that one supports abortion.

    • 0 avatar

      Guys, let’s make sure we’re staying civil and on-topic here. The president inadvertently touched on a fascinating question… let’s not get lost in partisan point-scoring. Contrary to sfdennis1′s perception, I find the partisan politics perspective not only deeply tiresome, but also a distraction from the truth (which is still what we’re about here). Sometimes criticism is just criticism.
       

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Obama exposed himself on a number of counts and just looks bad here.  He comes off as a complete dork.

    “I know some of these big guys, they’re all driving big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything…”

    This is a very patronizing thing for a president to say. First off, he doesn’t know. Secondly, he alters his language in an embarrassing attempt to demonstrate a level of familiarity he does not have with the questioner or with those who disagree with him. Thirdly – the President is literally mocking the questioner by belittling his initial question. The gentleman wasn’t joking, so it is simply wrong for the President to infer that the gentleman was. Finally, the President is shown operating on a level of assumptions that expose him as someone who believes the worse of people who disagree with him. What the President said, and how he said it, is a disaster.

    “Well, now, here’s my point. If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon, (he laughs), you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? (he laughs). Well, you definately need a hybrid van then. (he laughs again)…

    When the President says, “here’s my point…”, I hoped he would return to a presidential tone and address this gentleman’s initial question in a meaningful way. Feeling he could take his point further by exposing the gentleman as having a large wasteful SUV while having no need for one, the President asks the man about the size of his family and discovers that the gentleman indeed has a real reason for driving a vehicle the President just mocked. Instead of then shifting gears and getting serious, and worse for everyone listening and watching, the President decides to bury himself further by laughing the question off and telling the gentleman that he needs a vehicle that does not exist, a “hybrid van”.

    Wow – what a disaster!

    The gentleman did not ask the President what kind of vehicle he should be driving. He did not ask the President to judge drivers of large vehicles. He did not ask the President how big a family should be. He was merely asking a very pedestrian question the President should have been fully prepared to handle. We have $4 a gallon gas during a struggling economy with inflation soaring beyond what we’ve seen in 34 years. The President demonstrated a complete inability to address this routine concern. His failure exposes the President as being disinterested in the daily life of filling a family vehicle for $60 dollars.

    Hybrid van? So what if there is a hybrid van somewhere to be bought! Ten kids? Who cares if this gentleman has ten kids or none? Do we have to justify our auto purchases in order to ask the President of the United States, whomever it is, a question that concerns us regarding the cost of gasoline?

    The President’s handling of this simple question is shocking for it’s ineptitude, callousness, incorrect assumptions and utter disrespect. I hope someone can remind him that he is not a god-annointed king or some kind of Buddha from whom we seek wisdom. He works for us, does he remember that?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Oh well it had to happen – anti-Obama types come out. The basic point stands, you cannot complain about $4 a gallon gas when you drive a very inefficient vehicle. If you have 10 children then I would have thought a Ford E van would be his choice not a Suburban. Also the suggestion of manufacturing hybrid vans is a very good question – there should be vans like that. It would have a large effect on reducing gas consumption, which would then reduce demand and hence price. The President was showing an understanding of the supply-demand basis of capitalistic societies.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        It’s Obama’s fault, obviously, that some folks can’t engage in ‘personal responsibility.’

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        I don’t hink I mentioned Mr. Obama’s name once. What the President did is wreck a chance for him to address an issue effecting all of us. He failed. I attempted to clearly write how he failed. It does not matter who the President is. This gentleman should not have to be screened as to whether he lives a specific lifestyle that satisfies the President’s supporters in order to ask our President a question.

        It is not a “Let them eat cake” moment. It is simpler than that. The President blew it. That is why we are discussing it here.

        The gentleman asking the President a question should not be insulted by the folks on this blog either. We wouldn’t be insulting him if the President handled the question well, would we?

        Mr. Obama is the President. He is held to a higher standard than we are because he wanted the job and got elected to do it.

        It isn’t political. This President mishandled this question.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s Obama’s fault, obviously, that some folks can’t engage in ‘personal responsibility.’
         
        Do you have any evidence, beyond your endorsement of Malthus, that the gentleman was being personally irresponsible? I know lots of people with more than 6 kids. They do a better job making their kids into responsible adults than the folks who have kids out of wedlock. I”m quite sure that if I questioned the “personal responsibility” of people on public assistance you’d be calling me a racist or a bigot.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        “I don’t think I metioned Obama once”
         
        Take a careful look at the first word in your post.
         
        “I”m quite sure that if I questioned the “personal responsibility” of people on public assistance you’d be calling me a racist or a bigot.”
         
        By all means, please argue with things that you think I might believe.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      This is basically like someone who eats a ton of unhealthy foods and never exercises, asking what can be done to lower my medical costs?

      Now surely growing medical costs are a concern to be addressed, and I agree that part of the question should be addressed directly.  But you are implying that the questioner’s lifestyle choices should be off the table, when in fact, it is those very lifestyle choices when added up throuthout the populous that play a significant part of the problem.  And not only to themselves, but to everyone else who is a part of that system.

      Maybe it wasn’t the most PC answer available, but I thought the right hated PC answers anyways.

      Spare me.

      • 0 avatar

        This is basically like someone who eats a ton of unhealthy foods and never exercises, asking what can be done to lower my medical costs?
         
        This is basically like someone who has anal sex with other men and never ears a condom, asking what can be done to fight AIDS.
         
        FIFY
         
        Or are only some “lifestyle choices” deserving of critique?

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Ronnie, you do know what a strawman argument is, don’t you?  Try again.

        And nice of you to only quote half my post- where I already responded to your weak argument.

        You can answer the question in general fashion, but when the lifestyle choices affect the answer, they should be ignored?
        That’s what you’re arguing. I’m not the one saying personal choice should be ignored, you are.

        Who would argue you should ignore someone’s sexual choices when talking about public health. Practice safe sex is practically a mantra. Come on!

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      So, the President should set our national energy policy based on the needs of a man with 10 friggin’ children? That’s what we, as a nation, should do?! Coddle every short-sighted jumbo SUV buyer? Subsidize his transportation dilema even more than we already do?

      Look, ‘ProcreaterDude’ is either…lying, or has a blended family based on multiple prior marriages, or needs to suffer the consequences of his particular “lifestyle choice” to procreate out of bounds.

      Expensive gas? Tough cr*p, pal…just shut up and deal with it!….Isn’t that what Republicans supposedly champion, “personal responsibilty”? He created his own mess, apparently.

      What, in reality, can Obama do to solve our oil problem?…you’ve offer NO solutions, only criticism of a minor quip by the President. What’s the solution? EVEN MORE tax breaks and and favoritism for mutinational oil companies, which ALREADY make more money than ANY other industry? Putting an oil rig on each and every beach in Gulf of Mexico? Telling China and India, sorry, but we forbid you from purchasing any addition oil and will bomb you if you attempt it….WE need the oil,  and insist on buying it on the cheap?

      The President is clearly not a car geek, but has tried to move some longer-term energy solutions forward…better fuel economy standards, attempts to ‘right our budget’ by elimnating oil subsidies, championning alternative energy, etc, etc…

      If ya gonna bitch so much….then what IS the solution for “Mr. Breeding Out of Control”? Enlighten us…

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        It is pretty bad when the President screws up answering your question causing many people who you never met and know nothing about you to start calling you names.

        The gentleman’s question was not odd. The President should have been able to answer it.

        Insulting the gentleman questioner but defending a President who cannot answer a simple question is also pretty bad.

        He shanked it. Stop insulting the questioner.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        sfdennis1: Look, ‘ProcreaterDude’ is either…lying, or has a blended family based on multiple prior marriages, or needs to suffer the consequences of his particular “lifestyle choice” to procreate out of bounds.

        You apparently don’t understand how it works regarding children and finances. If they are legally your children – whether by natural birth, adoption or through a blended family structure – they are your financial responsibility.

        I would suggest that you quit bringing up this point, as it is irrelevant to the discussion.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      Where’s the insult?  You’re the one that called the president a “complete dork.”
      Other than that a see a lot of spades being called spades.

      Man with ten children has ten children and a big gas bill!  Zinger!

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        I said his answer made him come off looking like a dork. I didn’t say he was one. He isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Vanilla dude, through your evasive defensiveness of what you did and did not say you are “coming off” as a partisisan critic looking to take umbrage in whatever way possible.   

        I do agree with you though that there are some insulting posts in other parts of the thread- and they are uncalled for.  I don’t see any of that though in response to your original post.

  • avatar
    snabster

    Actually, if you want to quote james may, the humorous response would be to tell this cracker blue collar worker with 10 kids to drive more.  We’ll run out of gasoline quicker and we’ll transition to the next great thing quicker.

    If you are complaining about the price of gas, drive less.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you tell me why “cracker” is more acceptable than “nigger” or “kike”?

      • 0 avatar
        sfdennis1

        Oh no you didn’t… for one, show me when EXACTLY “crackers” were hunted, beaten and hung from trees in this country? When did “crackers” have Jim Crow laws and discrimination encoded into law in this country? To equate ANY suffering you have experienced as a (presumably) straight, white, christian male in a straight white christian male run society is ludicrous.

        And to put that insult on the level of sufferring endured by Jewish people (um, heard of the Holocaust?) Yeah, you’ve clearly had it just as bad.

        Wow, just wow….I find it thin skinned, racist, claiming false-victimhood AND grossly ignorant. Luckily you apparently know an editor, cuz if you were just “one of us” you’d likely get banned.

        Oh, the poor poor downtrodden persucuted crackers, lowest of the low, persecuted on all fronts because of how they were born…let’s have a telethon for you.

        Cracker talk clearly insn’t a compliment, but maybe you could get down off the ‘persecution cross’, some honestly discriminated-against person could probably use the wood.

      • 0 avatar
        sfdennis1

        Just read you self-disclose as Jewish (I think?) Meant no offense on my Holocaust remark, but still have huge issues with the false equivalency of cracker with the N-word or K-work…most of my Jewish friends would disagree strongly with you…talk about a shanda!

      • 0 avatar

        sfdennis1 shorter version:
         
        Some animals are more equal than others.
         
        A slur is a slur. You think it’s acceptable to slur white southerners. I don’t. You think it’s cool to make fun of Christians (though you’d never do likewise to Muslims). I don’t.
         
        To equate ANY suffering you have experienced as a (presumably) straight, white, christian male in a straight white christian male run society is ludicrous.
         
        I do like girls but I’ve never identified as white, Ultimately my family is from the Middle East. I’m not a Christian (how you could presume that after I’ve explicitly referred to my Judaism in this thread speaks to your reading comprehension) and I don’t believe that this society is “run” by straight white Christian (religions get capitalized) males. A simple look at our educational system, which punishes and expels boys while favoring females should disabuse you of the notion of men running this society.

         
        And to put that insult on the level of sufferring endured by Jewish people (um, heard of the Holocaust?) Yeah, you’ve clearly had it just as bad.

        Get ready to feel really silly and embarrassed (well, if progressives were capable of shame).
         
        Yes, I’ve heard of the Holocaust (from the “fire offerings” in the Temple in Jerusalem that were completely consumed by fire) or Shoah, “catastrophe” in Hebrew. I have family members and friends with numbers tattooed on their arms. I have friends who started new families after the Nazis killed their spouses and children.
         
        I’m Jewish, fairly observant by contemporary standards, and the Germans and their collaborators murdered 25% of my family, my grandfather’s entire family.  Their name was Smolinsky. I have friends and family members who are (or were, now deceased) survivors. Shall I show you the postcard that I keep that was sent to my Bubbie (Yiddish for grandmother) by her childhood friend in July of 1939? It was the last that was ever heard of her.
         
        With that context and background I have no problem saying that calling someone a cracker is a slur akin to calling them a kike. The issue isn’t the history of the word, it’s the intent to use the word to injure. You just want to rationalize your own double standards and hypocrisy.

      • 0 avatar

        Wow, just wow….I find it thin skinned, racist, claiming false-victimhood AND grossly ignorant. Luckily you apparently know an editor, cuz if you were just “one of us” you’d likely get banned.
         
        Actually, I do know an editor or two, and though I’m on the writing staff, I’ve had comments pulled by the editors. Most recently a couple of weeks ago, and I fully expected the comment to get pulled. I know what the rules are and when I break them.  Comparing your own bigotry to racism or Jew-hatred doesn’t break the rules here. However,  you calling me a racist most likely does break those same rules. I’m a big boy and I can take it as well as dish it out so for the time being I’ll leave it up to Ed and Bertel, but keep defaming me as a “racist” and you’ll find out just how the banning process works.
         
        As an aside, you also insulted Ed, Bertel and the other editors, inferring that there is a double standard at play on TTAC, that users can get banned for doing stuff that writers do. If anything the double standard goes in the other direction, the staff writers are on a tighter leash than the commenters here.  We want people to feel welcome here. So we abide some level of rudeness and jackassery directed at writers from the peanut gallery, which may explain why some of your comments are still here.

      • 0 avatar

        most of my Jewish friends would disagree strongly with you…talk about a shanda!

        Now you’re being genuinely offensive (and engaging in more than a little cultural expropriation).   Would you call a black man an “uncle Tom” to his face? The word “shanda” means “shame” and is often used in the context of “a shanda fun de goyim” ie. a Jew acting in a manner that makes Jews look bad in front of non-Jews. You are deliberately using an insulting Yiddish term to deliberately insult a Jew, but I’m the one who’s the racist and the bigot. You have no prejudices or prejudicial behavior because you’re a liberal, right? Your prejudices are rationally based, right?
         
        I’ll tell you what. Around the corner from my house is a Kollel. Don’t bother to ask your so intensely Jewish Jewish friends what a Kollel is, because they have no idea. It’s a post-ordination seminary. The Detroit kollel is headed by two rabbis, R’ Irons and R’ Schwab. Both of them have international reputations as great Torah scholars.
         
        I’ll make you and your “Jewish friends” a challenge. We’ll present my statements here to Rabbis Schwab and Irons along with descriptions of your Jewish friends’ lifestyles and beliefs and ask the rabbis just who is being a shanda.
         
        Kish mir Yiddishe tuchas.
         
        Most of your Jewish friends wouldn’t know anything authentically Jewish if it came up and bit them on their tuchases. They think Judaism is some kind of cross between Unitarianism and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man. They most likely regard most of traditional Judaism as primitive and atavistic. Spare me their opprobrium, they’re “am aratzim“. I’ll give $18 to the Magen David Adom – Israel’s version of the Red Cross if any of your Jewish friends even know what an Am HaAretz is.

      • 0 avatar
        sfdennis1

        Retract and apologize for any assumption that you’re racist…though, as claiming to be a ‘fairly tolerant Jew’ you are a true anomaly as compared to any of the ‘tolerant’ Jewish friends that I have (nice AIDS comment, btw) who tend to be more Democratic-leaning, progressive, gay-friendly and who generally are Obama supporters, you appear to be none of those things….

        But hey, living authentically to one’s beliefs, and embracing diversity free from stereotypes, judgements and persecution is great, right? We can even have a (half) black President in this great, diverse country…or choose to birth out a bazillion kids! Seriously, I sincerely hope he finds gas money, because “you don’t know me”, and I actually don’t hate people, even when I disagree with some of their choices or beliefs.

        Not sure if it was you or Geeber (you peas in a pod, you) who posted it…but contrary to the Obama haters, we supporters can and do criticize the President when he makes a real mistake…THIS MINOR VERBAL FAUX PAS by the President was not a major mistake.

        End of story, end of my interest in this thread.

      • 0 avatar

        Retract and apologize for any assumption that you’re racist…though, as claiming to be a ‘fairly tolerant Jew’ you are a true anomaly as compared to any of the ‘tolerant’ Jewish friends that I have (nice AIDS comment, btw) who tend to be more Democratic-leaning, progressive, gay-friendly and who generally are Obama supporters, you appear to be none of those things…
         
        Apology not accepted. The shanda remark was inexcusable. Of course since “racist” is the worst thing a lefty can call someone (well, besides “rich”) you think I’m more offended by that, than by your cultural expropriation of a Jewish term in order to insult a Jew.
        Your “shanda” remark makes it clear that you’re being disingenuous.  Again, your reading comprehension is poor. I never said that I was “fairly tolerant”, though i try to practice tolerance for those who deserve it. I said that I was a fairly observant Jew – in supposed contradistinction to your Jewish friends who think that it’s more important to vote Democratic than to keep the Sabbath or eat a kosher diet. They’re the kind of Jews who would never think of keeping kosher but regard vegans with respect.  The kind of Jews that admire the way the Amish maintain their culture but think that Chassidim are atavistic. The kind of Jews that get tattoos or plugs in their ears, but regard circumcision as a barbaric practice (while being silent on the subject of FGM in Africa and the Middle East).
         
        I’m willing to bet that none of your Jewish friends prays three times a day or even attends synagogue services more than 3 times a year. They don’t do anything Jewish, unless being a liberal in good standing is doing something Jewish. My bible believing Christian friends most likely know more about Judaism than your Jewish friends do. But, please, show us what an expert about Judaism you are. It’s kind of entertaining. Sorta like Carrot Top is kind of funny.
         
        What’s wrong with my AIDS comment? If the nannies can blame heart disease on eating fatty foods, why can’t I point out other lifestyle related diseases? I have gay friends. If they want to engage in risky sex, that’s their prerogative, but it’s not wrong to point out the risky behavior.

      • 0 avatar
        sfdennis1

        @RS
        Consider my apology retracted, I don’t want to further any tensions here by attempting to find any common ground that upsets you….I NEVER said I was any kind of expert on the Jewish faith, though I grew up with, and have been fortunate to have many friendships with Jewish people througout my life. My friends who have been raised in the Jewish faith have been a great joy, support and blessing to me…nothing you can say or do will change that in any way.

        Sayeth you:
        “I never said that I was “fairly tolerant”, though i try to practice tolerance for those who deserve it.”   
         
        Who gave you the right to decide “who deserves tolerance”? When were you appointed as “God’s Chosen Mouthpiece” and/or Moral Arbiter? I’d be interested in hearing how you earned that honor, above the other 7 billion people you share the planet with…and Mazel Tov on your apparent “Best Jew Ever” award, well deserved I’m sure. However, please be advised that you have NO spiritual authority whatsoever over me, nor over anyone else in my life regardless of their religion, if any at all. Your insults and taunts directed at the spiritual paths of people who you haven’t even met just might mean your tolerance is more than slightly lacking, n’est ce pas?

        So, to please the honorable Mr. Niedermeyer, back to cars…one of my best Jewish friends has an M-B C280 4Matic, a pretty sharp car. One of my favorite Jewish lesbian friends drives an old Land Rover Discovery, it’s in the shop practically as often as it’s on the road, but she still loves it. Then there’s a Lexus IS250, a Honda Civic EX, an old M-B E Class sedan, a hot little 6-speed Acura RSX, etc…yes, back to cars, OK?

      • 0 avatar

        sfdennis1 shorter version: ‘How dare you get offended at my expropriation of a Jewish term in order to insult a Jew? Some of my best friends are Jews.’
         
        My friends who have been raised in the Jewish faith have been a great joy, support and blessing to me…nothing you can say or do will change that in any way.
         
        That’s wonderful. It also doesn’t say anything about their level of Jewish knowledge or practice.
         
        Sayeth you:
        “I never said that I was “fairly tolerant”, though i try to practice tolerance for those who deserve it.”

        Who gave you the right to decide “who deserves tolerance”?
         
        Simple morality. I don’t believe in tolerating evil.  Should I have tolerance for Nazis? How about for Hamas terrorists who cut the head off of an 11 month old baby? I guess some people are so open-minded that their brains have fallen out. Whether Burke really said it or not, tolerating evil allows it to triumph.
         
        When were you appointed as “God’s Chosen Mouthpiece” and/or Moral Arbiter? I’d be interested in hearing how you earned that honor, above the other 7 billion people you share the planet with…and Mazel Tov on your apparent “Best Jew Ever” award, well deserved I’m sure.
         
        Do you effect a black urban patios when arguing with black people? Do you say that you are down with tha brothas when the popo harrass them? Do you throw in Spanish slang when talking to Latinos? Do you say that you are living la vida loca? Why do you find the need to throw in Jewish terms like “shanda”, “mazel tov”, and “chosen” when trying to insult a Jew? At best it comes off as deliberately patronizing. It’s almost humorous the way self-described tolerant progressives will deliberately engage in behavior that they would call racist, sexist or bigoted if it was someone on the other side who was doing it.
         
        I never claimed to be a particularly good Jew – my good friend Danny is always telling me I should spend less time arguing with fools on the internet and more time engaged in Torah study. I said that I was “fairly observant” by contemporary standards. That’s an accurate statement that says that I’m more observant than most, less observant than some. I used the term “fairly” to qualify the remark since I know a lot of people that are far more observant and knowledgeable than myself.
         
        Do I know more about Judaism and am I more involved in Jewish things than your so many Jewish friends? Most likely – but then that statement would stand regarding most American Jews. Do I know as much at the true Torah scholars that I have the privilege to know? Far from it. To quote a great rabbi, I’m neither a big Torah scholar nor a small fool.
         
        However, please be advised that you have NO spiritual authority whatsoever over me, nor over anyone else in my life regardless of their religion, if any at all. Your insults and taunts directed at the spiritual paths of people who you haven’t even met just might mean your tolerance is more than slightly lacking, n’est ce pas?
         
        I have no “spiritual authority” over anyone. The only true spiritual authority is God.
         
        What insults and taunts? If they’re Jewish ignoramuses (as most North American Jews are – that’s not my opinion, that’s a measurable statistic) then they are Jewish ignoramuses. Since you didn’t deny any of my suppositions about the paucity of Jewish practices of your Jewish friends, I think it’s safe to say that I was accurate.
         
         

  • avatar
    Jedchev

    Obama can pry the keys to my 8mpg Lincoln Continental and my 15mpg Fleetwood out of my cold, dead hands. How can I like this man after he oversaw the genocide of 286 perfectly good 94-96 LT-1 Broughams?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Remind where in the constitution it says we have the right to drive (in a well regulated militia!)??

      • 0 avatar

        While we don’t have a right to drive per se, at the very least there’s a penumbra in the constitution (you know, like in Roe v Wade) of the right to freely travel . That right has come up in cases of police harassing black men for jogging in the “wrong” neighborhoods.

  • avatar
    jberger

    My lead-foot wife averages 15-16 MPG around town in her Quest minivan, with an avg. 25 MPG on the highway. So a hybrid model would be a good fit for her driving style.
    The issue is the modern minivan is big and heavy, so you are going to need quite a battery pack to power the motors. The large pack is going to add weight to an already large vehicle and take up room for things like fold away seating, low load floors, etc. Since most minivan purchasers want minivan utility and space (which is why they are not buying an SUV) removing utility for batteries would be a risky market approach.
    Same issue for standard panel vans where the low load floor is crucial to allow the driver to access the cargo cabin. If you trim 12-18 inches from the average walk in height of a cargo van, you’ve killed your sales as nobody wants to belly crawl for parts or equipment. Plus the standard cargo outfitters would have a limited amount of shelving options available for the shorter van, again limiting the market. Since these are usually fleet vehicles, it would have to be quite a fuel savings with a low incremental costs, to generate sales on such a vehicle.
    I think Toyota has the right approach with the Prius van options. It’s large enough to be considered a small minivan, but not large enough to complete with the typical minivan packages. This keeps them out of a regular shopping comparison with other vans and lets them develop a niche market to promote evolution of the product. Once they’ve developed the concept AND built a market, they just “upsize” into a ready-made market without cannibalizing sales.
     

  • avatar
    KaneShadow

    So everyone is going to focus on 1 out-of-touch statement like they did with Arugulagate, and a bunch of rich out-of-touch white men are going to tell you that a different rich out-of-touch (mostly) white man is more rich and out-of-touch.

    But what I want to know is, is he wrong?  

    My idea of the people he’s referring to are the proud-to-be-blue-collar type guys driving Ford Duallies where the hood is 6ft off the ground.  In which case Obama is right, you drive a “monster truck” and you can’t complain about gas prices and get 8 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      So when I think of the midwest I picture a bunch of proud-to-be-blue-collar type guys driving Ford Duallies where the hood is 6ft off the ground.

      As the former senator from a midwest state, (Illinois), the President knows that this is a misperception. He also should remember that he was once driving around Springfield as a state senator just a few years ago in a big black SUV himself. Understanding that his previous ownership of a big black SUV did not disqualify him as a human being, the President should have been able to respectfully answer this gentleman’s simple question.

      The President is not right. He knows better. He did not answer this gentleman’s question with the sincerity in which it was asked.

      • 0 avatar

        Vanilla Dude, give it up. He’s the perfect man. They’ll never acknowledge that he has any flaws. Anything less than perfection is someone else’s fault, not his.
         
        Google “I don’t care. Obama is awesome”.
         
        A pastor once said that you can’t reason someone out of a position that they weren’t reasoned into.
         
        See, it’s cool to act morally superior to “proud-to-be-blue-collar types” and folks of religious faith. It shows how tolerant the self-appointed moral superiors are.

  • avatar
    DasFast

    Might I suggest a used diesel Econoline or Sprinter and a vasectomy?

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Annnd… we have a WINNAR!
       
      I’ve found a new trick – if the article is potentially political flame-bait, I just search the comments page for “Strawman”, if it comes up more than once, then I know it will be a tough slog.
      Anyway, cheers to Obama for the “hybrid minivan” idea, focusing on a real-world solution to reducing petroleum demand.
      On the other hand, jeers to Obama for making an insensitive remark to a citizen.

      • 0 avatar

        Anyway, cheers to Obama for the “hybrid minivan” idea, focusing on a real-world solution to reducing petroleum demand.
         
        The only problem is that there are no hybrid minivans in the real-world (at least on the NA market) so it’s not exactly a real world solution.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Was it Jim Bob Duggar asking the question? I haven’t watched the video. Jim Bob and all the other nuts that think god is blessing them with eleventy billion kids need to grow a brain. You keep having kids because you continue to blow your load in your wife without any protection. Find yourself a condom. (rant off)
    Anyway, on to minivans. I’ve heard that once the Routan ends production (I guess VW contracted with Chrysler until 2013 for them) that VW might start selling a diesel van of some sort in North America. I’ll believe that when I see it sitting on a lot though. It seems like offering a gas hybrid might not be a great idea. Minivans often have hidden compartments for storage and it seems that those compartments might disappear if a bunch of batteries have to be put under the floor. At least Honda has a somewhat respectable fuel economy rating on the Odyssey, but if I were a minivan buyer I’d be annoyed at the lack of options for a fuel efficient people mover.

  • avatar
    Highway27

    I think jberger is kind of on the right track about why there aren’t hybrid vans.  In a flat-floor minivan, where do you put the battery pack(s)?  Perhaps this is a situation where they could get creative, and work them under the front seats, or maybe just give up area in the center console between the fronts.  Or maybe they work them into the interior rear panels around the wheel wells.  But it’s unlikely that raising the floor  overall is going to be an acceptable solution, since it’s far easier to put the batteries in a blockier structure than a long-wide-flat shape.  The basic point is there would be a significant compromise from what is generally thought of as a design feature of minivans: the ability to have a large flat floor surface.
     
    I don’t think weight is really too much of an issue.  The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is 4700 pounds.  The Toyota Sienna 2WD is 4500 pounds.  Not really too much of a difference.  Even with 500 pounds of batteries, it’s not like the Sienna would be way outside the realm of the Highlander.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I have 5 kids and a 2009 Kia Sedona.  I bought it with 1 year and 18k miles on it for $17k.
     
    I bought it for the interior space and reasonable price.  You can’t put enough battery in a 4000-lb vehicle to be worth it.  The physics and economics kill such a prospect.  You’d end up with a $50k, 5000-lb vehicle with a $7500 government subsidy, and nobody would buy it.
     
    This is the same reason the Cadillac Converj is dead.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Look, everyone on the left constantly pulled soundbites to ridicule the last president, and this guy should get a pass? Sorry, thats just how it works, and Im not from either major party.  Politicians at this level apparently are not capable of saying anything in public that is not written for them. They are all so out of touch that this folksy regular-guy talk is very awkward.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      At least this one’s sound bites are coherent.

      • 0 avatar

        Coherent? Cars get 8MPG today? They sell hybrid vans?
         
        Perhaps coherency has nothing to do with factual accuracy.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Ronnie,

        What the President was saying is that the Administration has long thought our thirst for oil to be a strategic problem and has been trying to encourage the development of fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrid vans.  No, there aren’t any today.  But, if there were, such a thing would save this fellow gas money, hence “you need a hybrid van.”

  • avatar
    Morea

    I waited patiently for years for Toyota to bring their Sienna hybrid to our shores. (They are available in Japan.)  Finally gave up and bought a non-hybrid minivan.  Many Prius owners I know with two or three kids are still waiting.  Mr President, would you support a $7000 Federal rebate for hybrid minivans?  This would encourage manufacturers to provide them in the US market.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    It is funny how many leftards are around here.
    Sometimes I think that demise of Soviet Union is a great loss. Just imagine – we could have swapped a few millions of folks between USA and USSR.
    USA would get a load of die-hard right-wingers, only wanting to work their ass off to get rich and be left alone.
    And USSR would get an influx of well-educated, honest believers, eager to sucrifice for the good of the society, attend party member meetings – and not fall asleep at them, to join trade unions and to be excited about public transport being the only mean of, well, transport to get you around.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Oh brother.  Are you for real? I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but did you get lost on your way to WingNut daily?

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Untermensch, you are one of the trolls here. How there can be so many car haters on a car site is one of the great myusteries of our time. I have gone through this thread and it is amazing how many not leftist but pure totalitarians there are here. The types that believe their way is the only way and to disagree is to be not only wrong but evil. Condescension just drips off them, they hold anyone who isn’t just liek them in total contempt. Did you get lost onn the way to DU or Daily Kos? Don’t you dare say anything critical of us when your side is infested with those crazies.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    What I am so surprised about is the fact that there seems to be so many posters here who attack a guy who wants to know how we can get gasoline under $4 a gallon again. This is a car blog, right? These guys do use gasoline, right?

    It is kind of like reading attacks on a guy who wants to know why the price of hamburger is so high and leading the charge on him is a bunch of bloggers who are chefs.

    How self-righteous has these people gotten that even they are bending over and taking it and begging for more? $4 a gas, sir? Please sir! Can you make it $5 a gallon? I know a guy down the street who drives a truck and he is so evil! Don’t worry about me – I’ll just push my car because I know I’ve been such a naughty boy!

    Why can’t a guy complain about the high price of gas on a car blog without having others claim that by making the complaint, you are an ignorant bigoted troglydite who hates our president?

    • 0 avatar

      VD,
       
      That’s because their politics is the most important thing in their life. It’s literally their religion. On left, politics trumps everything: art, music, culture and religion.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Vanilla dude posts a political response to almost every post on this site- and here you are calling everybody else out.  Pretty classy!

        Ronnie- get a grip man.  You as a contributor to this site need to hold yourself to a higher standard.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        Ronnie that’s harsh. I don’t excuse the lefties (I live in MA and hear lots of wacky stuff) but there are intolerant people on both sides. Let’s all rise above it.

        VanillaDude your point is interesting but I think car fans come in lots of flavors. I love big V8s but I also appreciate fuel-sippers. Above all, I love having CHOICES. I don’t think wanting to use less fuel, is tantamount to hating cars.

      • 0 avatar

        I find VD’s responses to be more philosophical than political. Don’t always agree with him but he’s a thoughtful guy.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        Fair enough- but that’s probably just because you happen to agree with his political philosophy.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        That’s because their politics is the most important thing in their life.

        Come on, Ronnie: pot-kettle-black a little?  You’ve posted a number of responses on this thread alone, on this site, some very political, all very partisan, and hold some spectacularly, ah, nuanced positions yourself.  And you have the gumption to criticize the left for the very same thing?

      • 0 avatar

        Psar,
         
        Politics is only one of my interests. I don’t live for politics and if you look at Cars In Depth, I try hard to keep that site focused on car culture, not the politics or business of cars.
         
        I’d discuss other subjects but Ed keeps rejecting my ideas for The Truth About The Grateful Dead.
         
        Want to talk about 3D?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Want to talk about 3D?
         

        Not unless you want to talk about storage-area networking.

      • 0 avatar

        Not unless you want to talk about storage-area networking.
         
        I used to be a LAN manager and administrator, but that was a decade ago. My friends think I know about computers but when I have a problem I can my son’s best friend who now has a CIS degree.

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        All that screaming and insults would be mute in a second, if the guy with that question turned out to be a religious Muslim refugee from Somalia.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    The underlying question for this president (and every modern president preceding him) regarding the price of fuel, is this:
     
    Mr President, when will this nation adopt a coherent energy policy that will make the price of fuel stable and predictable so that consumers can make their best long-term purchase decisions and allow auto makers to plan and build vehicles today without wondering what fuel prices will be 2-3 years ahead?
     
    Such an energy policy might also keep us from going to war as often as well, and we won’t have to topple so many “heinous dictators” in oil nations that aren’t cooperative with western oil concerns, while supporting other “benevolent dictators” in oil-endowed nations that are.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      He’s actually been talking about “energy independence” for a while, to your point.

      • 0 avatar

        friedclams,
        Yes, he’s been talking about energy independence while putting up obstacles to the US developing its own mineral energy resources. I have no problem with windmills and solar energy if they make economic and energy sense. I do have a problem with not drilling for liquid oil and natural gas, not developing our shale and tar sands, not building pebble bed reactors and not funding polywell fusion according to its promise. This administration has done more to encourage Brazil to develop its energy resources than encourage our own.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        To me he’s focusing on the demand side rather than the supply side, which theoretically (by the classical economic model) is equally vaild. To your point, I think people just assume we will be able to continue buying the energy sources you mention from a friendly power: Canada.

        I will Google polywell fusion and pebble bed reactors pursuant to this, I don’t know what those are…

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      So because fluctuations in the price of fuel are bad, the answer is “coherent policy to stabilize prices”, aka burying those fluctuations in sky high taxes ala the European nanny state.
       
      That is flawed because fluctuations aren’t what’s bad at all.  If oil fluctuated back down to $10/bbl it’d be wonderful.  High prices are what’s destructive.
       
      Government “stabilization” can’t do a thing to protect you from high prices.  But they can surely protect you from low ones.
       
       

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Someone, somehow, somewhere, there must be a consensus decided on the limits of a vehicle’s safety, utility, creature comforts and economy before much, if any of this gets resolved. Vehicles are too heavy for what they do, interiors are often cramped considering the usable space available in any given car, van or truck. Consoles are too large (wide) for merely housing a shifter and cupholders. Door panels are often too thick, just to bulge out and give a sense of luxury or margin of safety. Dashboards, too, are intrusive and overbearing in too many cars and trucks.

    I, like most of us, enjoy a certain amount of creature comforts in our rides like A/C, PS, PB, auto/manual, cruise, rear defroster, nice sound system, etc. But I’m talking about the designed-in dead space prevalent in cars to make them feel cozy and their owners cocooned.

    My Impala has a split-bench front seat with no center console – that’s the way I wanted it so I can slide in on the passenger side if necessary, plus it gives me lots of wiggle room up front to stretch my legs when driving and relax my knees, too. I wanted a car to actually carry people!

    What I am not saying is to go back to the cardboard interiors of days gone by – I just would like to see a more efficient use of space, reduction in weight and so forth. I believe that is possible without compromising the standards of safety that we have gotten accustomed to.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I posted hours ago and when I came back this had gotten interesting.

    We don’t know why the guy has 10 kids or whose 10 kids they are. Let it go!

    Per VanillaDude’s point, the President answered the guy’s question facetiously, which is unfortunate. He should have said “I have no control over the price of gas, but your example illustrates why we need energy independence. And part of that would be to have the market create better options for people with your needs, like a hybrid van…” This would also address Jack’s original question.

    Stay on message, that’s what good politicians do. Obama is usually good at this, but he garbled this a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      Nice summation.  Despite getting caught up in some back and forth previously, I agree with this. 
      I kind of took his “you need a hybrid van” to mean “someone needs to develop and market a good hybrid van”, but I tend to be a benefit of the doubt kind of person.

    • 0 avatar

      Energy independence does not necessarily result in lower prices.  Canada for example is a net energy exporter, and just look at gasoline prices there.

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    A hybrid minivan may be a good idea on paper, but manufacturer pricing will greatly limit who can actually afford one. Minivans already can reach into the mid-40′s. The average salary in the U.S. is around $40K annually. How would this help the common man?

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      Agreed- but a lot of that price is feature bloat. 

      People worrying about budgeting might better pay for the gas mileage and teach their kids to entertain themselves by looking out the window instead of playing PS3 on their own personal entertainment center.

      And it’s not like SUV’s are any cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Ringo, you struck gold with that reply. Feature bloat on vehicles is a hige problem as I see it. The worst part of iit is that most of the high dollar features do absolutely nothing to improve the safety or driving experience. DVD players, built in nav systems, connectivity, climate control, all these things add to the cost and complexity of cars without any benefit to actual driving and in lots of cases they are standard or part of expensive option packages. Tell the kids to enjoy the scenery, use a $100 GPS and you get cheaper, lighter cars with less to go wrong. 

  • avatar

    this guy reminds me of another puppet…Pinnochio.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think Chrysler had some intention of implementing Two-Mode in it’s minivans.  Did anything ever come of that?

  • avatar
    DenverInfidel

    Nothing like a condescending remark from a man who commutes in a Boeing (with his limo in tow) and eats his feasts in a white mansion.  He consumes more resources in the first 30 seconds of the day than the guy with 10 kids does all year.
    He had a very clear opening to make an intelligent argument regarding energy policy and all he can do is insult the common man.  Nevermind the irony of the anti-war candidate lobbing tomahawks at oil-laden Africans on behalf of our friends across the Atlantic.
    You can fake many things in this world, but leadership capacity is not one of them.  What a pathetic empty suit.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Denver Infidel- Reminds of “wonderfully green democrat” Al Gore consuming over 20 times the energy of the average American in his 20,000 square foot home, while “evil republican” GW Bush lived in an energy efficient 4,000 square foot home.

      This blog is supposed to be about CARS though. Isn’t it? 

      • 0 avatar
        DenverInfidel

        Agreed.  There is plenty of hypocrisy to go around in DC, but the sanctimonious environmentalism always strikes me as the worst (Gore included).  I do not begrudge anyone the spoils of success, he just needs to remember who pays for those spoils.  That clip is very telling.
         
        Regardless, I love this site because of the car banter and will join with the “lesson learned” group and stay out of the fever swamps.  More than enough of that on the interwebs, right?
         
        Cars kick ass; politicians not so much.
         
        Cheers.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Wow. What happened to our formerly calm Best and Brightest? President says something dumb and s–t goes crazy. Although some good points were made on both sides, there is certainly a lot of bile on here. Nasty generalizations. Name calling. I hope anti-flame rules weren’t in effect. Hate to lose anyone. Yikes.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Yeah… I had to make a cheeky (poor) analogy to Jimmy Carter when I should’ve just gone for cake.  Live and learn.

    • 0 avatar

      Because of the political bent of the conversation, I couldn’t begin to try to separate the flames from the legitimate arguments without being perceived as taking a side (and I have no dog in this fight). So yes, anti-flame rules have clearly been relaxed for this thread.
      At the same time, I echo mazder3′s concerns. I love the passion, but we’ve all worked too hard to keep TTAC a forum for open, respectful discussion to throw that away with the kind of partisan ire I’m seeing here. If we don’t wind down the off-topic-veering discussions and start showing more respect for one another, I’m going to shut this comment section down.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        I’ve been trying to read the “discussion” and come to one conclusion:

        Kill it! Kill it with fire!

        I like the political “debate” (i.e. shouting match) less than I like TTAC pinging GM for no good reason.

  • avatar
    DougD

    I’m in Canada too so I’m up for some cake, can you save me a piece 86r?

    As for Hybrids, I think we’d be better served by those Zero electric motorcycles.  Why put batteries to work dragging two tons of glass and steel around?

    I don’t know the context of Obama’s original comment, but it’s probably easy for him to be out of touch with personal transportation, I wonder when the last time was that he actually drove a car?

    As always I remain perplexed by the vigorous nature of the arguements, now about that cake…

  • avatar

    Wow.. I think this is one of the longest threads I’ve seen at TTAC!

    Besides of the politics and moral things and back to the auto topic…
    http://www.peugeot.com/en/products/cars/3008hybrid4.aspx

    I think because of the european origin Chrysler/Fiat may offer something similar to the french.
    Saludos from Mexico

  • avatar
    SpinnyD

    Toyota has had a Hybrid minvan for sale in Japan since 2001, I saw one when I was there in 2003, looks just like the regular Estima.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Previa

    • 0 avatar
      Morea

      Not available in America.  There are no hybrid minivans for sale in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        I know, I have asked everyone I know here at work as to why they haven’t brought it over to the US, no one knows. I also know they had developed a hybrid Venza and scrapped it because the fuel economy wasn’t worth the expense. The tech in the Toyota System may not scale up so well with an increase in weight.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @SpinnyD- Toyota really wanted to get in on the Two-Mode Hybrid technology GM co-developed with Chrysler, BMW and Daimler-Benz, but GM said no deal.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        Doctor Olds, is that really true? Everyone has mocked GM’s two-mode hybrid so long that I find it incredible that Toyota wanted in on it. I believe you but do you have a source for that? I’d like to win some arguments at work…
         
        If my Astro had 2-mode hybrid I’d be a happy camper. The driving dynamics couldn’t be any worse…

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I’d be surprised if Toyota wanted to use Two-Mode, but mostly because they already have heavy trucks equipped with a hybrid powertrain.

        But I agree that two-mode gets a bum rap.  It’s a good system that suffers for packaging issues and was installed in vehicles that made no sense to hybridize.   But it does work well.

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        @Doctor Olds, I have never heard that Toyota wanted anyone else’s hybrid tech, they have had others wanting theirs before (Ford, Nissan, etc.) if you could provide a source link for that I would appreciate it, I work for Toyota and have never heard that before though.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @friedclams- Given the attitude toward GM on this site,  I expect to get slammed as an unreliable source, but my knowledge of Toyota’s interest in the GM 2 mode comes from inside GM prior to my retirement in 2008. I was in the Powertrain Product Engineering Global HQ Staff. Though I was not an executive, my assignment put me face to face with top leaders, from Tom Stephens, to Vice Presidents, Exec. Directors, Chief Engineers and down the line. Within my Executive Director’s staff was the group who negotiated the sale of intellectual property and relationships with other car makers. GM Powertrain generated nearly $100M/year (fuzzy memory as to the exact #) by the sale of intellectual property. Ford’s use of GM’s 6 speed automatic design is a notable example. I am afraid this will not help you much, with the ignorant disdain so many have for GM. It is a fact that BMW, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler recognize the value and use the GM led 2 mode system. 

        @psarhjinian- Your attitude is not surprising, given all the misinformation and even disinformation spread around about GM. GM Powertrains consistently generate the highest customer satisfaction of any makers in the world. I was surprised when I recently compared Honda Civic with Chevy Cobalt and found much higher rating for engine quality in the Cobalt, the most recent model year where adequate consumer samples are available. As an example, we thought we could learn something from Honda with their powertrain in the Saturn Vue, only to find that our own 3.6 V6 was already at higher quality levels. It turned out that they were gaining far more from GM, with its world leading capabilities in on-board diagnostics and powertrain control technology.

        I expect lots of “experts” to chime in, but a disspassionate review of customer satisfaction data will disclose that GM Powertrain earns more top ratings for Engine and Transmission performance and reliability than any other maker. Those who write GM off as inept and incompetent are simply ignorant of the truth. On top of that, GM is a leader in fuel economy in the segments that most people actually buy. Those Chevy ads did not lie.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @psarhjinian- I forgot to ad that hybridization of large vehicles actually makes a lot more sense than Prius, for example, as the fuel savings are greater, and thus the benefit to society is more for them. As an example, GM’s hybrid bus powertrains used in Seattle and other cities in a few hundred buses save more fuel than thousands of Priuses.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @doctor olds:
         
        Did you read what I read?  I said that Two-Mode was a very good system that had packaging issues.
         
        This hardly qualifies as “disinformation” considering that GM itself admitted that the reason Two-Mode barely made it into the Vue crossover was due to the physical size of the unit.  It started life as a bus transmission, fer cryin’ out loud.  That’s all publicly-available information, by the way, as is Toyota’s already having hybrid Dyna and Hino trucks, which would imply that they have no pressing need for two-mode.
         
        I know this is hard to believe, but it is possible to criticize General Motors without being “biased”.  Again, I ask if you even read where I mentioned I rather liked the system.  I could point out, though, that a) you’re under similar obligation to prove that Toyota had interest in Two-Mode beyond heresay, and b) equally, if not moreso, subject to being called biased by virtue of your own background.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @psarhjinian- Sorry! I did not mean to imply that YOU are spreading disinformation, only that I see a lot of it coming through in media.

        The two-mode system was scaled down substantially from the bus design for the Tahoe. It really is not that much of packaging problem. The current Camaro can accomodate it, for example. It is primarily inside the transmission, which is not all that much larger than the non-hybrid version. The battery takes some additional volume, of course, and the controller a bit less.

        Cost is the reason hybrid powertrains are not more widespread and the reason they do not pay back with fuel savings as much as they cost. That equation is dependent on the price of fuel, of course.

        There is no fundamental problem scaling the 2 mode down a bit smaller for transverse, FWD/AWD applications, though the battery packaging seems likely to be an issue in minivans. I am sure there are more sophisticated designs in development, as GM has decided to produce the batteries as well as the electric motors in house. 

        C02 Emissions (really CAFE Fuel economy) regulations are expected to require every truck and 7/8′s of all cars to use a “non-conventional”, i.e. hybrid or diesel, drive train when they are fully rolled out in the next few years. The impact of these costs on the business and for consumers are daunting.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        doctor olds,

        I couldn’t help but notice that two-mode appears to add at least $10K to the price of the vehicle.  The Prius drivetrain appears to add less than $3K to the price of the vehicle and scales at least to LS600h sizes.  Why would Toyota come to GM for a hybrid drivetrain?

        Also, in 2008, GM should have been able to figure out that sales for two-mode were going to be, at best, in the low triple-digits monthly.  You’d think they’d have jumped at the chance to share the development cost for what should have been considered a white elepaht.  Why didn’t they?

        Further, GM has developed a scaled-down two-mode system, suitable for vehicles the size of an Equinox.  They appeared to be showing off prototypes in 2009.  This tech has yet to make it into any existing vehicle, nor has it apparently been firmly scheduled for any future vehicle.  GM does seem to have some commitment to their low-effect BAS-II system, so they’re not disinterested in hybrid tech.  If the two-mode is all that good, why aren’t we seeing more of it?  “Voltec,” with its inescapably high battery cost, was started later and has been rolled out first.  How did this come to pass?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @kixstart- GM did share the development costs with BMW, Daimler-Benz, & Chrysler, all of whom are, or will be using the technology. They may actually be using transmissions produced at the GM Baltimore plant, though I am not sure about that detail.

        Whether you are pre-disposed to believe it or not, Toyota did express interest in being a part of the consortium, but were declined for competitive reasons. I don’t know much about the LS600, so I can’t speak to that topic. 

        The 2 Mode Hybrid price premium of around $14,000 on Tahoe falls $thousands short of paying for the system at today’s level of development, or at least the 2008 level, when my direct personal knowledge ended. Only the Escalade Hybrid was expected to be  profitable and volumes were not projected to be very high, even with subsidized prices.

        None of these systems really pay for themselves. Compare Cruze Eco with price advantage nearly $5,000 less than Prius would take almost 8 years to pay back based on the EPA estimate of annual fuel costs (fueleconomy.gov) with Cruze producing 64% of Prius economy at the EPA estimate. But that actually understates the advantage of the high mileage conventional powertrain. Owners of Cruze Eco report averaging 40.7mpg vs Prius owners at 48.2mpg, or Cruze achieves 84% of Prius mileage in the real world. Do your own comparison with the high mileage, lower cost conventional powertrain of your choice. You may like hybrids for other reasons, but at today’s prices and fuel economy, they do not pay, they cost. The driver of these powertrains is the CAFE requirement.   

        GM had incredible disruption through the financial collapse and bankruptcy. They were struggling to survive the U.S. market collapse so many products have been delayed. I would not rule out two, and four mode hybrids over the next few years.

        The Volt is clearly a breakthrough, the only currently available EV that is suitable for all around use. Its purpose is to demonstrate technological capability and to develop real world experience for further development. I describe its battery as a $10,000 “gas” tank that holds only one gallon. Such is the current state of battery development. GM has gotten into the battery and electric motor businesses to push costs down so that these can eventually be sold profitably at competive prices. 

        Toyota assuredly did not make any money on the Prius with first year volume of only 8,500 cars, and may still be subsidizing the price. It has paid back in “green” image, despite the fact that there volume selling vehicles actually do not achieve the mileage of the best competitors, including GM.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @kixstart- Re: GM’s mild hybrid, e-Assist. It appears to provide a fairly good balance between cost and capability. LaCrosse now offers it as standard equipment, bumping that large car’s mileage to 37mpg on the highway, the best in its class and  2mpg better than tiny Toyota Yaris, for example. It appears that it will be optional on Malibu and Regal soon, and probably standard as increasingly high CAFE requirements are rolled out in the next few years. The real  challenge in the car business is to find the “sweet spot” balancing the cost of the technologies with the price they can command. Oh, the company has to make some money while doing it, too!  

    • 0 avatar
      Morea

      @SpinnyD

      My understanding is that hybrid vans cannot have seats that fold into the floor because that’s where the batteries go.  Seats that fold away and don’t have to be taken out of the vehicle to make a flat bed are considered a necessity by today’s minivan buyers (or so the marketing logic goes).

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        The seinna’s rear seat is the only one that folds into the floor, they always could use the floor between the wheels ala tesla model s

      • 0 avatar
        SpinnyD

        I meant that the sienna’s only seat that folds into the floor is the rear one, that leaves the floor between the seats to put batteries for a hybrid option. if someone wanted the hybrid option they could always just give up a future fold in the floor mid seat for the batteries ( like no spare tire on AWD models now, you must have run-flats)
         
        Sorry for any confusion

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Hybrid Minivan?- The closest thing is a Tahoe Hybrid- City fuel economy of a V6 Camry, seating capacity for 8 and you can tow your boat to the lake, too! Too bad it costs about $25,000 more to build than the standard version, though GM is eating over $10,000 of that trying to sell them.

    No one should expect the President to control commodity prices unless there is illegal activity of some kind causing them to be artificially high. It is a relief not to see GW Bush collusion with his buddies in the oil industry as the cause! Most of these comments are political psycho-babble. I like Obama’s comments about what drives gas prices. It is nice when he tells the truth! This is not easy for me to write as a Conservative Libertarian!

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Sounds like Obama was making some light hearted conversation with the many kidded guy, you know, kidding around :-)
    Also sounds like some people need to find offence… That is a bit sad to go after those statements.
    I also find it odd that vans don’t have hybrid options but then I find it odd that there are very few diesels available to. I think there are not enough people demanding more economical transport solutions yet and I guess that means that gas prices are still not high enough.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Wow! Nothing like a lifestyle debate (or one about global warming) to expose the bedrock of people’s fundamental beliefs. I actually come from a large family (the youngest of many) and I have to say that some of the comments here are actually quite scary, on both sides of the issue.
     
    As for the hybrid van thing, I actually think that’s an interesting question. I certainly don’t see why there couldn’t be a hybrid Town and Country, for example, with the Grand Caravan serving the more traditional clientele.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think hybrid vans  would end up being too expensive for most people.
     
    However, especially if the Ecoboost Explorer actually gets its advertised mileage, I could see direct injected turbo engines powering more family vehicles in the future. I’m hoping the 1.6L EB finds its way into the Cmax, and the Hyundai 2.0T would probably work in the Sorento/Santa Fe/Veracruz.

  • avatar
    kamiller42

    Not sure what’s worse about this story…

    1. The President believing SUVs get 8mpg. Sorry prez. We don’t all pimp around in a presidential caddy, which incidentally does get 8mpg.

    2. Or… The president believes there is a hybrid minivan. I am sure his car company is working to remedy that now.

    3. Or… The president assuming the man could afford a hybrid minivan, especially in an economy nurtured by him.

    4. Or… The President’s failure to understand the man’s concern about rising fuel prices involves much more than vehicles. Rising oil prices affects the cost of everything. But someone who has everything served to him wouldn’t understand. Hey, he does remember pumping gas though. He’s so in touch with the people.

    5. Or… The President’s failure and some here fail to recognize there is a man with a need, and he is looking to the most powerful leader in the world to make a difference. Mr. “Yes, we can” is suddenly “No, we can’t.” If he was honest, he would admit he’s “No. I don’t want to.”

    The president behaved like an out of touch arrogant a*s. And for those who wish to dictate how many children this working father can have, China welcomes you with open arms. It makes no difference if he is hauling his kids to the park or lumber for a living. He is using the vehicle that serves his needs, and it’s one of the many things becoming more expensive in his life. Nothing wrong with him expressing his concerns to the leader of his country. What is wrong is the cold shoulder response.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    8 mpg? Ha, the only vehicle I know that is that bad is my F-350 with a 460. 
    Our 01 Suburban gets 16 mpg or so, and our friends Dodge 15 passenger gets 14 mpg  
    While he may remember what it’s like to pump his own gas, I’ll bet it was back when it was a dollar a gallon.

  • avatar

    NOTICE: This thread has become impossible to police. It has been declared the Somalia of TTAC.

    Any rules of engagement are no longer in effect.

    The thread is in the hands of robots:
    Any posts held in the moderation queue will rot there. The bad word filter will catch the worst offenders.
    Ed & I are out of here. Post at your own risk. May whoever you believe in be with you.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Do they have brioche and minivans in Somalia?

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      Aww, but in Somalia they let me say say s–t, p–s, f–k, c–t, c–ks–cker, m–herf–ker and t–s. :-)
       
      Does this mean I can finally put up a link to the greatest junkyard ever?!? It’s NSFW but it’s rated TV-14. Everything is blurred. I present New England’s first and so far last junkyard/stripjoint:
      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-april-20-1999/trash-cans
      This is back when The Daily Show had more than just political commentary.
       

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I’d like to point out that Governor Chafee in Rhode Island drives a two-mode Tahoe hybrid, and before that he drove a Prius. Make of that what you will.

  • avatar
    vetes

    Unfortunately unsurprising in this comment thread are all of the know-it-alls criticizing others for their personal decisions from what they drive to what the composition of their families should be based on income and what they should drive depending on what that composition is. It is not President “I remember what it was like pumping gas” Obama’s duty to tell anyone else what to drive or how many kids to have and how to raise them. And it’s no one else’s business either.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      He’s not telling someone how they must live, but is telling them that perhaps their choices aren’t wise ones and what they could do otherwise to mitigate those choices..  He’s entitled to do that, as is anyone else in a free society.
       
      Never mind, though, that he is the head of the executive branch of government and actually is legally allowed to tell people what to do within certain limits.

      • 0 avatar

        Never mind, though, that he is the head of the executive branch of government and actually is legally allowed to tell people what to do within certain limits.
         
        So nice of someone who doesn’t live here tell us how our Constitution works. Actually, the president of the United States has rather limited power to tell me what to do. The president can issue “executive orders” but I doubt using such an order to prohibit or mandate certain acts by individuals  would pass constitutional muster. As for his administration, though current EPA administrators think otherwise, when an executive branch agency issues regulations, their power to issue those regulations is constrained by the agency’s enabling legislation.
         
        So no, the president cannot tell me what to do. Well, he can try to tell me what to do, but likewise, I can tell him to kiss my ass.
         
        If you don’t believe me, check out the SCOTUS decision in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 US 579 (1952). Ever since Harry Truman tried to nationalize the steel industry, and got his hands slapped by the court, presidents have been careful to cite relevant empowering legislation when issuing executive orders. The president’s power is limited.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        A president may be entitled to tell us that we are not making wise choices, but it is an unwise thing for a president to do. The Office has responsibilities that usually temper personal opinions, because nearly all presidents discover how little they actually know once in Office. It takes a lot of self-assurance for a president to give personal opinions in public. The current administration seems quite comfortable telling Americans how to live, based on their personal opinions and endorsements, like celebrities, which they are not.

        Wise presidents display in public a great deal of respect to all, sincerely answering each and every question asked by non-journalists. (Journalists and politicos have an assumed familiarity that fall outside these boundaries.) We have buckets of photo ops, video, and news of presidents going out of their way to answer sincerely even the most ridiculous and stupid questions. It is their job. It is how we relate to the Office itself. That is, until this administration’s odd pattern interupted this.

        It is unwise for any president to infer that some families, some lifestyles, some vehicles, or some questions are beneath his personal dignity. The President erred by forgetting the role he is to play as a president. He is not a celebrity endorser. It would be best for him to rediscover the humility necessary to do this job, as the Office’s previous occupants knew.

        And you are so dead wrong regarding his constitutional role, your views on this matter are also dead wrong.

  • avatar

    Boys, Boys
    Hybrids are intended to manage the CAFE numbers not actual fuel saved.  (Much at the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf need to be included in CAFE calculations).     This is the trouble with poorly structured government regulation.   A few MPG improvement in heavier vehicles would save gas (and if economic people would do it without government intervention).   But only a few econobox hybrid sales can really boost teh CAFE numbers.
     

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I’ve always liked the fact that Obama tells people things they don’t want to hear. I’ll admit his choice of words could have been a lot better but get past that and you see his point. It’s not his or anybody else’s job to make sure that gas remains is soo cheap in the US that we can continue to consume all we want without it affecting our pocket book. Having probelms paying for gas? how about getting rid or your cable TV for starters!

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Give examples of Obama telling people what they don’t want to hear. I can’t think of any time he has done that. Of course, it is hard to listen to someone who is that pompous and boring for long.

  • avatar
    V-Strom rider

    The President’s answer illustrates the dangers of making assumptions, and of trying to “kid around” on a sensitive topic. Maybe his answer could have been “If you’re paying more for gas than you would like to, then you’re free to find ways to use less gas, or to buy less of something else in order to be able to continue paying for the gas you use. Those, and many other choices, are up to you to make as you see fit. The best thing I can do is to work to make our economy strong so people have good job and income prospects and can afford to buy gas, and work to develop alternative energy sources and transportation methods to maximise consumer choice.”

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    A week later and the feelings out there is that it is not the appropriate role for any president to be a scold, to belittle those who ask him questions, or offer pie-in-the-sky solutions such as a hybrid van.

    Who he is, what he said is not as upsetting as how badly he used his public office to demean those who do not drive the latest green vehicles, which oddly enough, includes himself.

    We don’t need a new car, we need a president that is respectful towards the people who elected him to our nation’s highest office.


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