“This announcement puts Tennessee at the center of building electric cars in America. We can electrify half our cars and trucks if we plug them in at night, without building one new power plant because of all the unused nighttime electricity we have. This is the single best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, clean the air, and keep the cost of fuel low.”
Former Tennessee senator and global-warming guru Al Gore?
No, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, backed by GOP colleague Bob Corker praising the Department of Energy’s distribution of $1.6 billion to Nissan to make global warming-fighting electric cars and bring an alleged 1,300 jobs to Tennessee.
Bracketing the question of whether the U.S. government should be financing Nissan at a time when it is also burning taxpayer dollars to rescue Detroit automakers, these senators’ channeling of Gore to justify federal intervention in the auto market is disturbing evidence that Republicans seem to have been co-opted by the Green movement the old-fashioned way: by being bought off.
Just a year ago, Republicans scoffed at Gore’s speech challenging America to spend billions to completely wean the U.S. from carbon sources. But how different do Republicans sound today from Gore then?
“We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars,” prophesied the Goracle. “An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid. When we spend that money . . . we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.”