RUSH: Fort Myers, Florida. This is Trevor. Thank you for waiting, sir. You’re next.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. I just wanted to say that the president is hired by the people. We, the people, elected him. And for him to start going around and firing civilian CEOs or whomever is just wrong. I mean, I think he’s in the White House because we allow him to be there. We elected him to be there in the White House. And my second point is —
RUSH: You know, Trevor, if I may interrupt —
RUSH: — may I ask your age? You don’t have to tell me.
CALLER: I’m 56.
RUSH: Fifty-six. You sound like you could be in your twenties, which is why I asked. Okay, what’s your second point?
CALLER: My second point is I’m on my sixth Suburban and they’re great. I’m planning on buying a Prius, by the way, a black Prius so that I can have both, and I will decide when I drive the Prius and I’ll decide when I drive the Suburban, and that’s real freedom.
RUSH: Okay, I mean, if you want to buy a Prius, feel free. How many family members do you cart around in your SUV?
CALLER: It varies. I mean, sometimes it’s just my wife and myself. Many times, though, Rush, it’s just myself.
RUSH: All right, so why are you going to get a Prius?
CALLER: Well, I’m going to get a Prius because, two reasons. One is the price of gas was four dollars, and I’d like to just save money, nothing wrong with that.
RUSH: Have you checked the price of a Prius? You ought to do a cost-benefit analysis and find out how much a Prius costs over a similar car in size and weight with a standard fuel combustion engine that gets just a few miles per gallon less than the Prius, find out you’re maybe going to be paying thousand of dollars more, and then ask yourself how many years you’re going to have to own the thing to make up the difference. You need to do that.
RUSH: Hm-hm. You do. Now, as we elected the president, and he’s firing CEOs, yeah, we did and apparently every damn one of them that voted for him thinks it’s a great deal. In fact I had the story in the first hour. Union people in Detroit are very upset, they think Obama hitting their industry harder than he hit Wall Street, and Bob Pisani at CNBC, I think he’s got a point, says, ‘Look for some bank CEOs to get fired next.’ It’s fascinating to listen to people with the junior high school understanding of Civics101. I don’t mean that as an insult. People misunderstand. We elect the president and he can’t go around firing people? Oh, yeah? Who’s to stop him? Somebody tell me who’s going to stop this? You know what the chairman of the Republican National Committee’s out there talking about? All his partying days. Steele is out there talking about his raucous partying days on the same day that the president fires the CEO of General Motors. Anyway, thanks for the call out there, Trevor.
Knoxville, Tennessee, Steve, great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how are you today?
RUSH: Good, thank you.
CALLER: It is an absolute honor to talk to you. I’ll get straight to my point. Listen, I’m blown away at the fact that we’re not hearing more — for that matter, I don’t think I really heard anything in depth on what I consider to be the fundamental problem in the auto industry, which is the unions. It seems that the unions have grabbed hold of that industry and are bringing it down and doing more damage to it than anything else I can think of.
RUSH: Well, you’re not alone. People have called here and expressed that sentiment for quite a long period of time. However, the auto companies made these deals with them, they made the deals on the pensions and the health care until you die, and there are a lot of people at General Motors who are making more in their retirement than they ever made when they worked there.
RUSH: But management made the deals.
CALLER: Well, it seems that Obama’s willing to have the tough conversation with everybody, with the exception of the unions.
RUSH: Of course. This is payback for the unions.
CALLER: Of course.
RUSH: The unions are going to end up a significant membership of the board of directors of General Motors, probably. I mean, this is giant payback for the unions supporting him and the Democrat Party. There’s no question that’s what this is.
CALLER: So don’t the unions need to give a little bit to help this situation?
RUSH: Well, some United Auto Workers people are losing their jobs and the new CEO of General Motors, Fritz whatever, said that they’re going to have to close some plants, GM is shutting down plants. When you get canned at General Motors you still get paid for a while.
RUSH: But, no, I mean the whole point here is that when it comes to unions, the workers are not going to the make any concessions. The Obama administration is not going to insist on it. You have to understand, this is all done according to a principle Obama believes, and that is his presidency is about returning the nation’s wealth to its rightful owners. And members of unions have been screwed by the likes of Rick Wagoner and Lee Iacocca and all these management people for decades. The unions are the ones that build the cars; the unions are the ones that put ’em together; the unions are the ones working sweat labor. They should be getting $20 million retirement package. That’s what guides Obama. They’ve been shafted for as long as they’ve been union members. They’ve been shafted for as long as they’ve been working on the assembly line.
This, for Obama and liberalism in general, is decades and decades and decades of payback, and there’s nothing to stop it. Do you hear any opposition to it anywhere? The Hill even has a news to story that Obama didn’t even consult Congress on it, he just called Carl Levin and his brother Sander Levin, who is a member of Congress, and Debbie Stabenow. And Carl Levin said, ‘Ah, this is very sad,’ and that was it. Can you imagine George W. Bush called Carl Levin, Senator from Michigan, ‘Hey, we’re firing Rick Wagoner today, we’re taking over the company.’ Do you think old Carl Levin would say, ‘Oh, that’s sad’?
Lori in Jacksonville, Florida. Lori is one of my all-time top ten female names. Great to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush, thank you for taking my call.
RUSH: Yes, ma’am.
CALLER: I drive a Chevy Corvette, I’ve worked long and hard to be able to afford to do so, and if we’re talking about everybody driving the same sort of car, I don’t feel like I should be forced into driving a Prius or a Cobalt or Focus or anything, you know, of that ilk. And what really upsets me is I take a lot of heat for the fact that I drive a Corvette.
RUSH: Who gives you the heat?
CALLER: Well, other people, they feel like I think I’m better than they are —
RUSH: Your neighbors?
CALLER: Not too much my neighbors, more people I work with.
RUSH: Okay, but people in town.
CALLER: People in general, yeah.
RUSH: Do they give you grief for driving a Corvette because it’s a gas hog and you’re polluting the planet, too?
CALLER: That as well, but, you know, I kind of feel like I’ve paid my fair share —
RUSH: You have been stigmatized and you have been stigmatized on purpose, you have been made a target on purpose.
CALLER: But, Rush, when I bought this car, I paid more for it, I paid their gas guzzler tax or whatever specious name they want to call it. I pay more for maintenance. I pay more for gas. When gas was over four dollars a gallon, I was paying almost five dollars a gallon because I put 93 in my car, that’s all it will take. So, you know, I feel like I’m paying my fair share for my, you know, lack of concern for the global warming or whatever.
RUSH: No, you’re missing the point in the Era of Obama.
CALLER: I’m beginning to understand the Era of Obama more and more every day and it’s very depressing.
RUSH: The point is that it is not only unfair that you have a ‘Vette, it’s immoral, and you shouldn’t be allowed because you can afford this, it’s not fair you can afford it when others can’t.
RUSH: This is Matthew, Sacramento, my adopted hometown. Hello, Matthew.
CALLER: Wow. Honor to talk to you. Short-time liberal, longtime conservative. How’s it going?
CALLER: What happened to the fuel economy of the past? We used to have economic cars that were an option. We don’t even have that option now. The most fuel efficient car beside the hybrid is about 35 miles per gallon and costs, you know, almost as much as the hybrid in the first place. What happened to like the Geo Metro, 40 miles per gallon; the Honda CRX, about 75 to 90 miles per gallon, depending on how you drove it? We don’t even have that option anymore.
RUSH: You’re asking me what happened to the Honda CRX and the Geo Metro?
RUSH: Well, you know, I’m just going to take a flier here. I’m just going to take a wild guess. Not enough people bought ’em.
CALLER: Well, they’re all over the place, and I’ve got a Geo Metro — and you might enjoy this. It gets about 40 miles to the gallon, and I have friends and a boss — which a little dangerous territory there — that bought these little smart cars, and they’ve got a Prius, and they paid, you know, twenty-five, thirty thousand dollars for these cars. I paid a thousand dollars for my Geo Metro. It carries more stuff and gets about the same miles per gallon.
RUSH: Okay, let me try this answer. You’re describing cars here with tremendous gasoline mileage, your Geo Metro and the Honda — what is it, the CRX?
CALLER: CRX, yes.
RUSH: What did you say the average…? Are you talking 40, depending on how drive it? Forty all the way up to 80 miles per gallon with one of these cars? Is that what you said?
CALLER: In the CRX, yes.
RUSH: Well, I think the answer to your question may lie in the fact that they got too good a gas mileage, because they raised the corporate fleet emissions standards. The CAFE standards are put out by the government, and the government says your fleet has to meet these; and when you got a car in your fleet like the CRX or the Geo that it is off-the-charts with good gas mileage, it could cause a problem on the lower end with the SUVs and some of these others.
RUSH: So your culprit may be the CAFE standards there again.
CALLER: I kind of thought about that.
RUSH: I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Geo or a CRX.
CALLER: Ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaa! They’re very tiny! You might have run one over in one of your vehicles.
CALLER: It’s true. I enjoy SUVs.
RUSH: How many people can fit in it? How many people can fit in a CRX?
CALLER: Oh, CRX is worse. You can only fit about two people. They say it’s a four-seater but it’s really about a two-person car. It’s not much bigger than these little Smart Cars they have or a Tata Nano. (chuckles)
RUSH: Yeah, I’ve seen a Smart Car, the little bubble cars. There are some people around here take to the grocery store —
RUSH: — which doesn’t make any sense to me ’cause there’s no room for groceries in there but they still do it because I think people want to be seen. I mean, even people here want to be seen driving around these little putt-putt things so they can be appreciated as having a social conscience. Anyway, Matthew, thanks for the call. Look, I know there are some of you in this audience, and I’ll just acknowledge you, saying, ‘Come on, Rush! Tell the truth. Big Oil killed those cars! Big Oil did it.’ You know there are people who think that. Here is George in Richmond, Virginia. Hello, sir. It’s great to have you with us.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m kind of a GM fanatic, and I’m really a Chevy Cobalt fanatic, and I resent the Corvette lady’s comments about the Cobalt. A Cobalt is really an Opel Astra, which in Europe is a mid-sized car which is quite expensive, but they make it cheap in the US; and we get a $15,000 Cobalt in this country. I get 40 miles per gallon with my Cobalt. I’ve got over 200,000 miles on various Cobalts, and I have yet to have one go in the shop with any defect. A nephew of mine is the general manager of a large Chevrolet dealer in Salt Lake City, Utah, and he says they never have Cobalts in the service department. They’re so dependable, so solid, with great German engineering. Just as you drive, Rush, but at a bargain price. Now, the Cobalt has an XFE model that gives 37 EPA highway, and you can get better than that if you drive sanely — and a Corvette even will get 25 miles to the gallon with a stick shift. We could solve our entire oil problem, Rush, if people would just rediscover the clutch.
CALLER: If all those Camry and Accord drivers would dump the sissy stick transmission and get a stick shift, we would solve our oil problem right there, but Americans are lazy. You know that.
RUSH: (laughing) I’ve heard everything now!
CALLER: I love Cobalts!
RUSH: Let me ask you a question. You love the Cobalt. Why don’t more people have them?
CALLER: Because General Motors in their infinite wisdom made it so cheap in this country, that the interior is the grimmest, most ugly interior on any car sold in the United States. A freaking Daewoo, slash, Chevy Aveo, has a better-looking interior than the Cobalt. But the basic goodness is still there. If you want to see what General Motors did to the Cobalt, go to the Saturn dealer and look at the Saturn Astra, which is the same basic car, but made in Europe. It’s a lot nicer. They brought it down to a price, but the basic goodness is there. Like the Cobalt SS is the best performance car for the money in the country, but it just sometimes loses comparison tests just on the basis as, Car and Driver said, of its ‘chintzy interior.’
RUSH: Here. Why don’t more people have them? You say it’s the interior and they’re cheap, and that’s not the answer. It’s not the answer. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. You like your Cobalts. That’s fabulous. Whatever car any of you have out there, if you like it, that’s great. I would never presume to tell you what car you have to drive. It’s not in my nature. The only thing I would say is don’t be an idiot and buy a hybrid because you think you’re saving the planet. If you want a hybrid because you think you’re going to save some gasoline and so forth, all well and good, but don’t get sucked in by this social do-gooder stuff. You know, get the car you want — and the cars and trucks that people want in this country are big. That is why the Geo doesn’t sell.
That’s why the CRX has a limited market. It’s why Priuses have a limited market. It’s why even when gasoline is 2.50 and three bucks a gallon people are buying SUVs, large cars and trucks. They like them. We are Americans. We like our automobiles big. They are safer. We have families. They’re easier to transport the families around in. It’s just that simple. But, see, now our freedom — our liberty and freedom to have the kinds of car we want — is being attacked. Because we’re being told by the central planners, the statist tyranny crowd in Washington that our choices are wrong, that they’re not good for the country, not good for the planet, and that we have no right to drive things these big. We’re going to have the size of our automobiles dictated to us, and first steps of this… Well, actually first steps of this took place many, many years ago. We’re now getting to the culmination of it, what with the election of Obama.
RUSH: Here’s Mike in Fayetteville, New…? Fayetteville, New York? Man, I know there are a lot of Fayettevilles out there, but I never knew there was one in New York!
CALLER: Yeah, it’s southeast of Syracuse.
RUSH: How close is it to the 20th District in New York where Obama is pulling out all the stops to win that special election today?
CALLER: Oh, not that close.
CALLER: About a hundred miles, anyway.
RUSH: Anyway, that’s close to be affected by it.
CALLER: Oh, yeah. Yeah. We will when we all will. But I’ve always wanted to say this: ‘Mega dittos, Rush.’ You know, I’m calling in response to the gentleman who called earlier lamenting the fact that there’s no choice in cars like the Geo Metro and the Honda CRX. I guess the simple answer to that is, they can’t make cars like that anymore. You know, those were basically stripped down econoboxes and they handled like brick sailboats. In fact, I’m glad you played the Yugo song because the Geo Metro is kind of like a reliable Yugo. But —
RUSH: Wait a minute now! Don’t go denigrating the mighty Yugo.
CALLER: (laughing) Yeah. But anyway, you know, people like comfortable cars. They like quiet cars, and those cars didn’t have any sound deadening, and sound deadening adds weight. Furthermore, again, you can’t make cars like that because those cars wouldn’t make today’s emissions standards. Plus, you have a lot of safety features available. In fact —
RUSH: Well, that’s what I was wondering. How safe were these little cars, the CRX, and the Geo, what is it, Metro?
CALLER: Yeah, Geo Metro. Well, they’re pretty reliable cars, and they handled well, but —
RUSH: Yeah, but what happens if you had a collision in one? You were a goner.
CALLER: Well, see, that’s the thing. I mean, today’s cars — the reason I say they can’t make those cars anymore now is because today, the cars — have things like anti-lock breaks, airbags, traction control, stability control, crash detection, crumple zones, safety beams in doors. They have rollover protection. All those things add weight to the car and they reduce mileage. So I mean I give the carmakers a lot of credit, today. You know, the cars are much heavier but they’re still getting the same mileage out of those things and they had to resort to things like hybrid vehicles to maintain that, to do that. Although, you know, engines are much better today than they were then, and so you have cars like Mazdas. You know, the Mazda 3, gets 40-some-odd miles to the gallon, you know, just using regular gas. So you also have the added benefit of all those safety features.
RUSH: All right. Now, here’s something that I have heard today from you and a number of callers. I find it fascinating. Apparently there are a lot of automobiles out there, if you want to buy one, that gets really good mileage — 30, 40 miles a gallon. Apparently there are enough of them out there that, if there were a national, genuine market demand for these things, they’d be number one on the road.
RUSH: Those cars, apparently, are there, but look what’s selling. It ain’t them.
CALLER: Exactly. Like again, going back to the Mazda. The Mazda 3 gets 40-some-odd miles to the gallon. I own one. My wife has one.
RUSH: Does that have the overhead camshaft in it?
CALLER: Yes, dual overhead cam, but it’s a very nice car, very comfortable, very quiet. You just didn’t get those out of yesterday’s cars. But more than that, again, it’s the emissions standards, all this safety equipment.
RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m sure it’s a fine, fine car; and I’m sure the overhead cam appeals to certain people. But still! It’s there for anybody who wants it, and they’re still buying big, and that’s gonna stop. We’re going to make sure that that stops. That’s not what the Obama administration wants.