Huckabee, Ignorance, Dupes (Energy division)


I didn’t catch much of the GOP debate last night — I was too busy washing my brain. But I did manage to hear the painfully idiotic interchange on energy independence. One of the most notable bits of pure rube ignorance came, stood as I would have predicted, from Mike Huckabee. His bright idea: offer a billion dollars to the bright lightbulb who first comes up with a hundred mpg car – a kind of government sponsored X Prize on steroids.

Astonishingly, some alledgely attentive observers seemed to think this made some kind of sense. I was provoked to write this whole long screed because of a little bit of fluff from Michael D., over at Balloon Juice titled “Something Good From Huckabee.”

Errr, no.

Michael’s already been taken over the coals by commentators but the gist is that he didn’t spend the 45 seconds or so with Google needed to show that Huckabee was just pulling something out of his ass so he could appear to have thought about US energy policy.

For example: X prizes already exist, and there is even a draft automotive X prize that will reward the winner(s) in a competition “to inspire a new generation of viable, super-efficient vehicles that help break our addiction to oil and stem the effects of climate change.”

So Huckabee’s suggestion that the US Government should spend a billion — a billion — bucks of your money and mine to duplicate something private folks are already doing for much less seems … how shall we say this … bone stupid.

Then there’s the fact that Huckabee’s goal of a 100 mpg car is old news.

You want high tech: there are already several cars that can meet that goal. Take the Pac II, invented by a team at the ETH in Zurich.

That fuel cell car achieves an efficiency of — wait for it — 12,670 miles per (US) gallon. To spell it out, that’s twelve thousand six hundred and seventy miles per gallon. Admittedly, the car is a three wheeled one-off that weighs 75 kilograms, but still — 12K miles per gallon is nothing to sneeze at.

You want a real vehicle? How about the Tesla Roadster.

It’s an expensive, high performance two-seater ride, setting you back about $100,000 — if you could find one; 2008 is sold out. But it exists, and it achieves what the company terms a “well-to-wheel” efficiency double that of the hybrid Toyota Prius, rated at 55 mpg. So there you have a production automobile already kicking in at better than 100 mpg.

More important, of course, is that Huckabee’s “idea” is pointless, virtually no help in dealing with the underlying question of US energy consumption and independence. 100 mpg cars would slow the consequences but not alter the basic reality of oil dependence in an age of increased demand for a resource that is peaking — or has peaked. (Scroll down to the “results” section if you are interested — and note that there are more pessimistic projections out there.)

So the whole idea is pretty dumb, putting it kindly, with a numbskull quotient that seems about par for any Huckabee policy suggestion. In fact, I’ll make a claim here: the amount of a real, sincere support for Governor Huckabee’s is a pretty damn good proxy metric for just how bad our education system is doing about now.

But as Michael D.’s tossed off entry (pun intended) shows, that’s being unfair to Huckabee supporters.

He’s smart, and recovered nicely from a truly rocky opening act at Balloon Juice. But this kind of credulous, “oh cool,” response to a known policy buffoon is exactly what lots of us, including Balloon Juice’s bloggers complain about in the media coverage of this campaign: mindless parroting of whatever the media (or blogger)-favored folks blather.

Bad Blogger! Don’t do that again. We can’t hold the MSM to standards higher than our own.

Update:  minor edits to ameliorate the effects of late night blogging while nursing a cold.

Images: “The Great Republican Reform Party Calling on their Candidate”, Currier and Ives. 1856, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Digital ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3a12793 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a12793, Card # 2003656588

Pac II car: credit ETH Zurich.

Tesla Roadster: Creative Commons Share Alike Licence

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Explore posts in the same categories: bad ideas, Energy follies, Huckabee, political follies, Politics, Uncategorized

5 Comments on “Huckabee, Ignorance, Dupes (Energy division)”


  1. […] story for another day. I took a long swipe at Huckabee’s “thinking” on this in an earlier post. Both McCain and Romney offer slightly more slickly packaged versions of the same pabulum. We […]


  2. […] this post I ridiculed Mike Huckabee’s pulled-out-of-some-orifice energy independence “plan” […]


  3. […] ridiculed Mike here and here. Mostly because (a) the billion bucks was such a wildly disproportionate reward, given the […]

  4. chris Says:

    you are a fool. I was not a Huckabee supporter, but i can still see that your trying to twist his words to make him seem out of date. When he says 100 mpg, he means not just for the few who can afford a 100k car, he means for real Americans driving real, utility vehicles not just fancy racers. and for the PAC II, I searched an image of it, and its just a glorified remote control car, its ONLY KNEE HIGH how can you site that as a source that Huck doesn’t know what he is talking about?


  5. Tesla Roadster the Next Generation Sports Car…

    This is the greatest car ever. Can you imagine to ride all day with the pleasure of Porsche GT3, and to pay about $10 for this. It is just amazing!!!…


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