(This comes after round one earlier this week when Detroit's woes were blamed on another famed conservative bogeyman -- organized labor.)
The bridge trolls at the Wall Street Journal editorial page began the fun this week, dashing off a nice little missive called "The Environmental Motor Company: Making Detroit a Subsidiary of the Sierra Club." The piece called on Congress to lift the "onerous fleet-mileage standards (CAFE rules) that force the companies to make cars domestically that are unprofitable." Huh? Then for good measure it took a swipe at the California global warming emissions standards for cars before hitting its crescendo: "[Congressional Democrats] want an entirely different American auto industry that serves goals other than selling cars to consumers." Well, duh.
(The idea of the Sierra Club running Detroit reminds me of a line Obama used toward the end of the campaign in his stump speech. It was a story about Obama asking a dyed in the wool Republican to vote for him and give Democrats a chance to run the economy after eight years of the Bush administration's failed policies. "Couldn't do any worse," a grinning Obama would say to raucous laughter.)
Like so many lemmings marching toward a cliff, other conservatives then took to the airwaves to peddle the CAFE lie. Mitt Romney: "There's no question but that the CAFE standards have put an unusual burden on the domestic automobile manufacturers." Bill Kristol: "Well, one problem with the auto industry is we have been telling them how to operate an awful lot, you know, in terms of CAFE standards and other things…" Sean Hannity: "They [the government] -- you know, between the unions, between trade policy, safety standards, CAFE standards, you know, economy, fuel economy standards, they're forcing these auto companies to be in a position where they're not as competitive."
Luckily, Speaker Pelosi is standing strong and refusing to strip out the conditions for the $25 billion in retooling loans already available to the automakers. And in terms of another $25 billion bailout (which the Sierra Club supports with the right conditions attached), just yesterday she said "until they show us the plan [for viability], we cannot show them the money."
We're all for recycling at the Sierra Club, but it's time for conservatives to spring for some new talking points when it comes to the auto industry's woes.