Romney — There you go again…

Some of you might have seen Mitt Romney’s big editorial in the NY Times about how America can’t compete with the Japanese and European automobile manufacturers because in order to sell a Ford Taurus at the same prices as an Toyota Avalon, the $2000 that goes to the UAW concessions has to come out of quality and features on the Taurus.

This is just pure intellectual dishonesty, and Mitt probably knows it.

At best — if I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt — I’d have to say he probably knows the Taurus from riding in one, and perhaps he just got in a new Avalon and thought, “wow… This is so much better than the Taurus. The pensions and health care benefits Ford has to pay to its workers must make them cut all the features and quality out of the Taurus. Too bad they can’t compete with Toyota because of that.”

At worst though, he knows the bullshit slight-of-hand he’s trying to pull on anyone who doesn’t know that these two cars do not compete in the same class.

The Avalon is the highest luxury sedan Toyota makes before you go looking at Lexuses (Lexi, Lexus’… whatever)…

The current Ford Taurus — previously known as the Ford Five Hundred — is a just slightly upscale family sedan, right above the Ford Fusion. But to really get in the same price range as the Avalon you have to start looking at Lincolns. And as you start looking at Lincolns, obviously the “quality and features” expectation is highert there than when looking at a Ford. At least, that’s the idea.

Here’s how I put my thoughts in a car group where someone posted a link to Romney’s latest display of idiocy. You can find the car comparisons for my argument at the end at this link.

I’m on the line here, but bankruptcy by the big three could be a major issue since it could take years before all the negotiations are settled. In the meantime, let’s say GM goes down first. Would you buy a car by a manufacturer that’s in bankruptcy? I don’t think I would. If I needed a car at that time, I’d probably be looking at a more stable company — if Ford looked stable, I’d probably go for a Mazda. Or perhaps (gasp) a VW company like an Audi.

I don’t know how a General Motors recovers from something like that.

Not only that, but I think Mitt is forgetting this problem we’re having with the big three isn’t just because they made bad decisions, they’re a victim of this moment in time as well. Under ordinary circumstances, I think I’d tell them to go fish if it was simply because of their own stupidity or bad decision making or ignorance of trends that led them to this point.

But it isn’t.

They’re a victim of the GLOBAL issues right now. They’ve got the Volt in the pipeline. They’ve got hybrids on the road right NOW. Ford has a small european car that could be rolled out here very quickly.

Believe me. I’m perhaps even MORE pissed at Paulson’s behavior since we gave him the cash, and I believe there should be strings attached to any “loan” made to the big three, but I think it needs to be done, with reassurances.

I think GM and Ford are creating more competitive cars in relation to their Asian counterparts in years. Are we going to let them fail because of a global recession and shakeout from the credit crisis?

Is it GM’s fault fewer people can get credit to buy its cars?

Mitt also shows his ignorance with one particular sentence: “Ford, for example, needs to cut $2,000 worth of features and quality out of its Taurus to compete with Toyota’s Avalon.”

Mitt must’ve sat in an Avalon and thought how much nicer it was than the Taurus he sat in, and thought, “Hey, I’ll write a clever article about this…”

Obviously, the Taurus competes with the CAMRY and not the Avalon. So I just took a look at the prices of the 2009 models at Edmunds.

The Taurus (formerly the Five Hundred) is available in AWD models, but for comparison purposes, let’s just keep the FWD options because that’s all the Avalon offers.

A base Taurus SE starts at $24,125. The SEL stickers for $25,425. The Limited stickers for $29,425.
A base Avalon XL starts at $27,845. The XLS stickers for $32,145. The Limited stickers for $35,185.

Now, I understand that Lincoln would probably be more comparable to Lexus (supposedly), but for purposes of this comparison, I think if you’re trying to compare similar models from the manufacturers, you might want to compare the Avalon with the Lincoln MKZ. It’s just not fair — using Romney’s argument — to compare a base level Avalon with a top-level Taurus. That would be like comparing a fully decked-out Mustang to a base-level Corvette or something. These are two different cars, in two different classes. I think the Avalon vs. MKZ model is a more intellectually honest comparison, so I’m going with that here.

There are two MKZ models for 2009 according to Edmunds. The AWD and the FWD. Again, let’s look at the FWD since the Avalon doesn’t offer AWD. But for the Edmunds comparison, I’m also going to throw in the top level FWD Taurus, just to see what the differences are as far as features, since that was half of Romney’s argument. Quality is more broad term — does he mean ratings? Interior materials quality? Road handling design? I can’t really judge that, but there are enough editorial reviews out there to give you an indication of what each model offers. So I’ll start here at least with the three automobiles.

A base model 2009 FWD Lincoln MKZ stickers for $32,695.
The 2009 mid-level XLS Avalon stickers for $32,145.
The 2009 FWD Taurus Limited stickers for $29,425.

Among these cars: The Lincoln has the best warranty. They all have the same crash test scores, with the exception of the MKZ which only got four stars in “Side Impact Rear.” Their EPA emissions are all identical. The MKZ and Taurus share the same powertrain, and the Toyota has almost identical specs.

All cars have six speed automatic transmissions. The MKZ has what Edmunds lists as “premium leather.” Heated seats are standard on the MKZ and Taurus, NOT on the Toyota. The Taurus has rear power outlets. The Toyota has air filtration, while the Ford & Lincoln do not (I find this odd). The premium dash and door trim on the MKZ are made of real wood, while the Taurus & Avalon have simulated wood. The Ford & Lincoln have seat and mirror memory, while this is not even available on the Avalon. The Taurus also has adjustable pedals. Xenons are optional on the MKZ, not available on the Taurus or Avalon. The stereo options are varied across the models, but the Ford and Lincoln have voice-activated phone, while “wired in” phone is optional on the Avalon.

As far as comfort and handling, the reviews are all online.

I know I’d rather drive the MKZ or Taurus any day over the Avalon. Your mileage may vary.

Basically, I just think Romney is way out to lunch on this one, and I hope I provided some backing for this here.

America is NOT “Center-Right”

There has been a lot written in the past few days about how America is still a “center-right” country. This is basically the right-wing talking heads plugging their ears and saying na-na-na-na-na-na so they don’t have to listen to what’s going on in this country today — namely, the facade of conservatism crumbling to the ground.

The War Room at had a few links today to some great blog posts and general thoughts about this.

Perhaps the best is Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly, who asks just when would a right-winger finally admit that the country is no longer center-right?

Would a Democratic Congress do it?

How about a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress?

How about a Democratic President, Democratic Congress, and a Democratic majority among the nation’s governors?

How about a Democratic president, Senate, House, governors, and polling data showing Americans support universal healthcare, are pro-choice, oppose the war in Iraq, and support the Democratic agenda on everything from the environment to the minimum wage to international diplomacy?

Most of us on the left have long known that America is really center-left, and the reason people don’t vote that way is simply because the GOP has — for far too long — been able to control the message and terms of discussion. But with the internet taking up much of the cause of the left, including holding the press accountable and actually keeping a running record of the absurd things the right-wing does and says on a regular basis, perhaps America is starting to wake up.

So is America really satisfied that it has now elected the 1st and 3rd most liberal Senators to lead the nation?

This article at CNN references a poll that shows Americans are generally fine with Democrats in total control of government, despite the threats aimed from the airwaves about dangerous liberalism/socialism of the Pelosi/Reid/Obama trifecta.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 59 percent of those questioned think that Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches will be good for the country, with 38 percent saying that such one-party control will be bad. View the public’s view of the parties »

“That much good will from the public opens a window of opportunity for the Democrats,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “But the public expects results and may not listen to excuses for very long if a Democratic Congress and a Democratic White House can’t get their act together in time.”

The poll also suggests that the public has a positive view of the Democratic Party, with 62 percent having a favorable opinion and 31 percent an unfavorable opinion.

That is not the case for the Republicans, with a majority, 54 percent, having an unfavorable view of the GOP and 38 percent holding a positive view.

Hear that, Hannity? Keep talking smack, and keep saying “no mandate,” because America has spoken, and the only people you’re reaching these days with your lies are those perpetually brainwashed by your GOP talking points.

Site Offline

Sorry for the downtime. This is what I get for switching to a new, green host service. Seems like it’s a very small operation that doesn’t like to answer support tickets in much of a hurry.

So I’m now back with Hostgator after a few months being away (I have now been through two hosting services in a couple months). And it turns out they’ve also gone green as well since I’ve been gone, so this here blog is STILL powered entirely by clean, renewable energy!


Standing Tall

Barack Obama might have struck a conciliatory tone on Tuesday night with his speech in Grant Park, but he’s no pushover. His first appointment is Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff (the story of the steak and the steak knife has been repeated ad nauseum for the past couple days on right-wing talk radio). And guess who he wants to be White House Press Secretary? Obama campaign Communications Director, Robert Gibbs. Check out the clip below to see how Gibbs makes Sean Hannity stir in his seat, crying like a whiny baby. This is a guy who won’t be bullied by questions from anyone. I’m sure Gibbs will be a no-nonsense Press Secretary, and god help the first FAUX News “journalist” that asks him, “does President Obama plan to invite Bill Ayers to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom?”

There are a lot of ex-Clinton administration names being floated as well for assorted administration positions. This is probably not a bad idea, even though most of us would like to see more “change” as promised, only because former Clinton officials would know how to hit the ground running on January 20th, something Clinton himself didn’t do. At least some of these appointments might be temporary, if reports are to be believed.

Let Liebermann Keep Chairmanship

You know, I’d really hate to see turncoat Joe Liebermann lose his good standing within the Democratic caucus, but it certainly sounds like Harry Reid is bent on stripping the “independent Democrat” from Connecticut from the chair position of a major Senate committee.

I don’t think this is entirely necessary, even though he did say this about the President-Elect at the Republican National Convention:

In the — in the Senate, during the three-and-a-half years that Senator Obama’s been a member, he has not reached across party lines to accomplish anything significant, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party to get something done. And I just ask you to contrast that with John McCain’s record of independence and bipartisanship.

Hmmmm. “has not reached across party lines to accomplish anything significant.” Sounds like a line lifted right from FAUX News, doesn’t it?

Oh yeah, and he said this too:

You know, when others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, which would have been a disaster for the USA; when colleagues like Barack Obama were voting to cut off funding for our American troops on the battlefield — (boos) — John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion, advocate the sure, support the surge.

I forgot about that — the whole thing about “cutting off funding,” and “retreat in defeat.” Wow. I guess those were pretty strong words.

Here’s what I think should happen if turncoat Joe wants to continue to be chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

I think he needs to take out a 30-minute primetime commercial on several major networks, explaining how sorry he is for being so selfish, and admitting that he refused to accept the decision of the voters in his former party when they chose Ned Lamont as their candidate for Senator from Connecticut.

Overall, I just want to hear how sorry he is.

A few tears as he’s begging our forgiveness, even fake ones, would help a lot.

Palin Takes the Heat

It seems like at least a few Republicans don’t want Sarah Palin to go on to better things in 2012. That’s probably a good thing if they want to be a viable choice for independents come 2004. Check this out from FOX News.

According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked “a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency,” in part because she didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA, and she “didn’t understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself.”

Yowsa. Someone’s really spilling the beans here.