The most liberal cars in America... And what we need to do about it
Okay, it sounds absurd, and here's a little disclaimer: Just because you drive one of these cars, that does not make you a socialist or anti-American. This is simply a collection of astute observations. I drive a lot. I like cars, and this is what I see. The following list takes into account political bumper stickers for the most part, but also less concrete suspicions on my part.
Hey, if Keith Olbermann can make a living on TV by calling someone "THE WORST REPUBLICAN---I MEAN--PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!!", I'm pretty sure I can rip on people who think pouring water up some terrorists nose is wrong and that driving lame cars with "Impeach Bush" stickers and other anti-US epithets is cool.
The Most Liberal Cars in America (From most moderate to most radical)
10.) Tie: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry
9.) Tie: Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Beetle
8.) Mini Cooper
7.) Tie: Toyota Sienna, Scion Box (you know which one I mean)
6.) Honda CRV
5.) Honda Element
4.) Honda Odyssey
3.) Tie: Subaru Outback Wagon, Subaru Forester
2.) Honda Civic (Hybrid, and Non-Hybrid)
1.) Toyota Prius
Ed. note: VW Buses, Honda Insights, and Smart Cars are so far off the map radical, that I consider them list-skewing outliers, and have chosen to exclude them.
Okay. Look me in the eye (or computer monitor as it were) and tell me these cars are not what I'm telling you they are. The Prius needs no explanation. We all know it's the car of choice of liberals everywhere. They are as much a political statement as anything. By driving one of these cars, these folks are saying "I care more about everything than you, and you hate the environment and support torture."
Very few Republicans have purchased them, not because we're bad people, but because these vehicles are associated with the left, and Cindy Sheehan, and San Francisco, and basically everything we can't stand. I speak for us guys, when I say that we would rather get 20 mpg less than sacrifice our dignity and political hangups.
The Civic? Another very common car, plenty of non-radicals drive them because they're small, pretty reliable, and get decent mileage. I wish I had scientific data on this stuff, but I'd say the Civic is at least a 60%/40% split (liberal/non) in terms of ownership. The introduction of the Hybrid model has helped grow this "fanbase".
Subarus? Come on... they are the car of choice for outdoorsy liberals... you know, the Greenpeace freaks and people from Boulder, Colorado. Then of course they are the car of choice of non-traditional female-female couples (not that there's anything wrong with that... just a little generalizing, calm down).
One of two or three really surprising additions to my list are the Honda Odyssey and Mini Cooper.
I live in one of the most far-left places of this country, so I can tell you. I have seen more leftist political stickers on Honda Odysseys than any other vehicle of that size. More than CRVs, more than even Volkswagen Buses. It's truly an unbelievable sight. What's even more unbelievable is that I rarely seen any children in these vehicles. Women (95% of the time) are the primary drivers of these vans, and there is ample space for 6 children or anti-war protesters. I've been paying a lot of attention to this (because I've wanted to write this column for a long time), and I believe that they have the highest empty seat to occupied seat ratio of any liberal car. Simply put: they do not need these vans. What a shameful waste! (I'm cracking up over here).
The Mini Cooper is the sophisticated choice of the elitist, educated, urban liberal. They went to Berkeley or Northeastern, or NYU, or something, and they enjoy the sportiness and compactness of the little cars. Can we bring back the term "yuppie" please? For those who don't know, yuppies are Young Urban Professionals. They overspend on Faconnable and Burberry shirts and drop $200 on sushi at hip fusion restaurants like Chaya in San Francisco or LA. This is their style. These are the types that fancy themselves especially open-minded, but levy personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with them. They'll tape an Obama sticker to the inside of their back window, but won't affix it to the outside. They'll talk about the Iraqi villagers who died as collateral damage, but won't talk about our soldiers who gave their lives for their country. But they have a more expensive education than you and have a slightly better haircut, so they know. Oh yeah, they know alright.
Does anyone have Ann Coulter's email address? I think she'd enjoy that last paragraph.
My point in all this is not to be a jerk (although I accomplished that fairly easily). My point in all this is that the most liberal among us choose to buy cars not made by American companies. Although the quality gap has narrowed considerably between the Japanese imports and Americans in recent years, it is not reflected in the marketplace. More importantly, it is fairly obvious to this observer that liberals love living up to their stereotypes. You may think you are, but you people are not better than the Church-attending Durango drivers you look down on so often.
True, gas mileage and reliability have not exactly been hallmarks for the Big 3 in recent years, but they are really trying now, and I believe have introduced some very solid cars.
For those considering buying a car in the future, why don't you at least give American cars a fair shake? That's all I ask. Equal opportunity-- that's what you preach, isn't it? Instead of a CRV or Highlander, take a look at a Ford Escape Hybrid. Instead of going with that bland Accord, take a new Chevy Malibu Hybrid out for a spin. Liberals are constantly on the defensive about being patriotic. Here's your opportunity to prove it.
This is not supposed to be a charity thing. Detroit messed up by not evolving with the times (but GM was ahead of the trend... remember the EV1 anyone??). The American Auto industry is hanging on by a thread, and if they go down, they're taking the entire state of Michigan with them. Do you care? I do. (Even though I hate the Detroit Red Wings with a passion.)
And pleeease... do not give me the line about Nissan plants in Tennessee or Toyota plants in Missouri. The fact is that these companies take profits out of this country to Japan (and God knows where else). So they hire people to do lower paying jobs, then turn around and sell Americans a car marked up way higher than any Chrysler or Ford of comparable qualities, then send the profit back to a foreign country.
It's just a more complicated form of a long term CD or Mutual Fund. They put in a X amount of dollars/yen, wait for profits, then withdraw their profits and send it overseas. I for one am not down.
This is a whole 'nother ball of wax, but I was remarking to a buddy the other day what this country needs. We need to become more introverted. We need to heavily tax imports, to not only make them equally priced to domestic products, but in fact exceed the cost of domestically-made products. And if Toyota wants to build manufacturing plants in this country, they'd still be taxed more heavily for sending their profits abroad. We need to redevelop our manufacturing sector and radically shrink our dependence on foreign oil, and Asian electronics and cars.
Our economy is based too much on credit and the service industries. Obviously we don't need to go back to the Industrial Revolution days, but the once-robust structure of secondary industries (manufacturing mainly), has all but collapsed. It's like living on nothing but trendy energy drinks and iceberg lettuce; you will crash eventually. We need some meat and potatoes in our economic diet. Not to the point where we're super sizing one pound bacon cheeseburger combos for every meal, but we need some more meat on our industrial bones.
If we can just become more self-sufficient, we could avoid a lot of the crap we're dealing with now. I agree with maintaining military bases all over the world, and meddling in other countries' affairs when they need meddling, but I'm tired of fighting other peoples' battles with our money and blood. Screw them, you know? If Afghans want to live in the stone age like disgusting cavemen and Sunnis and Shi'ites want to bomb each other while they go to mosque, let 'em. It wouldn't be our battle anymore. Isolationism has its drawbacks, but we wouldn't be North Korea, we'd just have more wealth concentrated in this country and the rest of the world might realize how much they really liked us before-- when we were financial pivot of the world and our money flowed freely out of our wallets and into the Nikkei Stock Exchange or a Saudi Prince's trust fund.
If we were to adopt policies like this, we'd be funnelling significantly less hard earned money overseas. That's not to say we'd cease our foreign investment at all, but it would say that this is our money and we choose where it goes. It would be amusing as hell watching all these other countries flop and flounder around without the benefit of US Consumer and Petrodollars. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela would have half the demand for oil they once did, Japan and South Korea wouldn't dominate the electronic marketplace any more, and we'd see a lot more Chevy Bowties, Cadillac Crests, and Ford Ovals on the freshly paved streets of America.
In other words. Buy American.
(Wow, that could be the craziest thing I've ever written)