John McCain Owns Foreign Cars!

Via Daniel Drezner's always interesting blog comes this Obama ad that has aired in Michigan:

The main charge of the ad? That McCain says he always buys American cars, but is a liar! Three of his 13 sets of wheels are made made by furriners! A Lexus, a Honda, and... a Volkswagen (who woulda expected him to be driving a hippie mobile?).

Drezner, a poli-sci prof at Tufts, notes the massive anti-free-trade sentiments implicit in the ad, which is a major theme in Obama's campaign. The guy really can't seem to attack foreign competition enough, which is really disturbing. The ad also dings McCain for not reflexively bailing out the U.S. auto industry (don't worry, Motown, help is coming!).

Drezner, who is no fan of McCain, writes, "This ad actually brings up one of the few actual "straight talk" moments for McCain in this campaign—when he told Michigan auto workers that he wasn't going to be able to bring their jobs back."

What kinda ride does Obama have? He traded in a gas hog Chrysler for a Ford Escape Hybrid.

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  • ||

    Hey, whoa. If McCain is going to play the Patriot, America First, America America America game by claiming that he owns American cars, then why is it wrong to point out that he's full of crap? In fact, any claim made by an elected official should be fair game....assuming that they really are full of crap.

  • ||

    If you are going to have 13 cars, you might as well own 3 that work.

  • Hogan||

    Bill Ayers is a distraction!

  • ||

    Drezner, who is no fan of McCain, writes, "This ad actually brings up one of the few actual "straight talk" moments for McCain in this campaign-when he told Michigan auto workers that he wasn't going to be able to bring their jobs back."

    Except mixed into the straight talk is the lie where he said he only bought American cars. I'm guessing if McCain never said he only buys American, the ad doesn't get made. It's like my mom always said, "If you never lie, you'll never have to worry about getting caught." Of course, if you never lie, how can you hope to get elected.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "What kinda ride does Obama have? He traded in a gas hog Chrysler for a Ford Escape Hybrid."

    Better analyze the component parts sourcing of the car - it may count as "foreign" too!

    Tell Obama to yank out all the foreign parts in his car and see if it still runs.

  • The Extispicator||

    I like how they put the word FOREIGN in larger type. Even better than scare quotes are scare englargements. If they really had any idea how to run a campaign, they would have had the letters dripping with blood.

  • DannyK||

    That ad is running in Michigan, where I'm from. And people there really do still buy American makes of cars, in sort of a cargo cult effort to bring the Big Three back to life and back in Detroit.

    And I think it's really more of a sly attack on McCain as a rich guy (THIRTEEN CARS!) than an economic message.

  • ||

    If the cars are assembled here in the US, could a case be made that it's buying American to buy that car?

    Or is it not even the case that the cars were assembled here?

    Or do we not know and we're just looking at "Honda"?

  • ||

    ...in sort of a cargo cult effort to bring the Big Three back to life and back in Detroit.

    Awesome. Maybe if we make a fascimile of a market for full-sized sedans out of straw...

  • ||

    I'm just not sure about the effectiveness of such an attack. I mean, if he has 13 cars and 3 are foreign, that means he has 10 that are domestic. Isn't that a good thing?

  • ||

    I dunno about Lexus, but don't Honda and VW both have plants in the US?

    Although the Honda may be from Canada. And we know how BO feels about that Canadian competition, don't we?

    I just keep hoping this is a hypocritical pander from Obama. Playing to the part of the base that wants to hear it. You know, the same way Republicans pretend to be really, really religious for their base.

  • ||

    (don't worry, Motown, help is coming!).

    I should be celebrating, right? Our turn at the public teat!

    Fuck that. The big 2½ and the UAW can drown together as far as I'm concerned.

  • ||

    Gilbert - Well, what are the domestic content requirements on cars these days? 80%? Hell, though, because they repatriate profits to the US the big three really aren't subject to that anyway IIRC and can just bring stuff up under NAFTA from Mexico.

    The funniest goddamned thing is that those "foreign" cars, in order to bypass quotas by meeting the aforementioned domestic content requirement are mostly manufactured in the US. My Honda was made in Kentucky, here in San Antonio we have a big Toyota facility. So Obama's ad is double stupid - mercantilist AND wrong on the facts.

  • ||

    I just keep hoping this is a hypocritical pander from Obama.

    Good God. Of course it is. This is campaign season, isn't it?

    If McCain had any decent advisers at all, they would run an ad hitting back at OBama for only having one car:

    "Who has done more for Detroit? Obama, with his one chintzy littl fad-mobile, or the McCains with their fleet of Detroit iron?"

  • ||

    I've gotta go with SugarFree on this one.

    If you have near unlimited resources and yet you still buy mostly American cars that's a serious judgement problem.

    No Mercedes? No BMWs? Geez John! Is that some limitation in your prenup?

  • ||

    I agree with J sub D. These companies have shown time and time again to be utterly apathetic and incompentent from top to bottom.

    Furthermore, pandering does actually do damage to those in Detroit, as it continues this false dream of a Motor City comeback...that. just. isn't. coming.

    Detroit needs to start over from scratch with a liberalized labor market and an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and small business growth. This will create robust and stable economic growth, not the importing of corporate offices.

  • ||

    I realized Obama's foreign trade stuff was hypocritical back during the primary.

    He'd give these stemwinders like he was William Jennings Bryant about NAFTA, and then propose some lukewarm, Washington-consensus-approved environmental and labor protections.

    Yeah! Boo-yah! We will bring back your jobs by making sure there are fire escapes in factories in China!

    It's similar to McCain's "Nassssssty Ssspeculatorsssssss" speeches during the oil price spike. He barked like a pit bull, then proposed the most inoffensive, milquetoast, goo-goo accounting reforms.

  • John McCain\'s next ad||

    Barrack Obama has FOREIGN relatives! FOREIGN!

  • ||

    Incidentally, guess who designed that hybrid system that powers Obama's green dream? Hint: it's not an American company.

  • shecky||

    While I presume the ad is true, it still isn't very effective, IMO. Lying about what kind of cars you own strikes me as a silly white lie. Trying to make hay out of it looks a bit petty and desperate, something Obama has largely avoided, to his success. Perhaps Obama is starting to feel the heat.

  • ||

    But it was mostly just the battery that they designed, not really the whole system.

  • ||

    Perhaps Obama is starting to feel the heat.

    With a ~6 point national lead?

  • ||

    ...and a growing lead in Michigan.

  • ||

    And people there really do still buy American makes of cars, in sort of a cargo cult effort to bring the Big Three back to life and back in Detroit.


    Its funny you use the phrase "cargo cult"-- my father said the exact same thing last week while we were visiting Detroit.

    I grew up just a little north of Automaton Alley, but my parents first new car was a 1989 Jetta and there were kids in my elementary school who told me that only bad people drive cars like that because they're made by slaves. When my dad started working as a contractor at a GM plant in the late '90s, he began biking to work because the Jetta kept getting keyed in the gated employee lot.

    The east side of the state is definitely receptive to this ad's message.

  • ||

    But seriously, if you are a buy American cars guy, buy Ford.

    At this juncture they are the only ones who have a hope in hell of coming out in one piece.

    Waggoner should have pulled the C11 trigger over at GM an age ago and Chrysler is an organ donor.

  • ||

    Every time I see a "Out of a Job Yet? Quit Buying Foreign!" bumper sticker, it makes me want to punch a puppy in its gut.

  • Dormouse||

    Every time I see a "Out of a Job Yet? Quit Buying Foreign!" bumper sticker, it makes me want to punch a puppy in its gut.

    I just moved to SW Michigan and know how you feel. But why take it out on a puppy? That ain't cool.

  • Seitz||

    If the cars are assembled here in the US, could a case be made that it's buying American to buy that car?

    My brother in law works for GM at their plant in Toledo making transmissions for GM cars. He's tell you that no, being assembled in the US with foreign parts doesn't qualify as being American made.

    Personally, I'd prefer the American auto companies said "you should be our cars because they're well made and competitively priced" instead of "you should buy our cars because you're American and overpaying for crap is patriotic!". I buy Hondas because 1) cars are expensive, and 2) they last a long time. I may spend an extra couple bucks on towels or something that are made here, but when I'm shelling out five digits, I want something that's going to work really well. I like my brother in law, but not enough to make a really bad investment.

    Besides, isn't this ad like three weeks old or something? Has Gillespie been in a cave? This stories been out there for a while.

  • ||

    Try being exposed to that nonsense for almost 30 years and see where you end up.

  • Seitz||

    Man, lots of typos there. Sorry.

    He's tell you... should be "He'd tell you...".

    "you should be our cars... should read "you should buy our cars..."

    This stories... should be "this story's...", which is actually probably still grammatically incorrect.

  • ||

    That comment was meant for Dormouse.

  • ||

    Christ, not that "buy American" shit again. You know what? Screw 'em. If concern about price and quality makes me unpatriotic, so be it. I always imagine the poor schlub in his broken-down lemon, stuck out in the middle of nowhere on a cold winter's night, freezing his ass off, by God, he's proud because HE BOUGHT AMERICAN!

    Fuck the hardhats. Right to Work, Baby!

  • troll||

    Aren't F-150s and the like uber cheap right now? American cars are sold VERY cheaply these days (though it seems like it's because no one wants one).

    Sadly I can't think of an American car I actually prefer.

  • ||

    If the cars are assembled here in the US, could a case be made that it's buying American to buy that car?

    Or is it not even the case that the cars were assembled here?

    Or do we not know and we're just looking at "Honda"?


    Why won't the car just make its birth certificate available for inspection?

  • ||

    Was just talking to a friend who pushes tin at our local Toyota dealership.

    The man who owns the dealership also owns a combo Ford/Mercury/Chrysler/dealership. He had a chance to buy a large local property that would have been perfect to combine all into a streamlined, efficient operation.

    First Ford balked, then Toyota balked when Ford agreed but wanted too much top billing. They finally ironed out the details, then Chrysler threw a monkey wrench in the deal, because THEY wanted a lead role.

    I told him that was like the 4th string QB threatening to quit if he didn't start on Sunday.

  • ||

    Joe, apparently you didn't watch the 2008 Olympics, or the 2001 LL world series. Can you say Danny Almonte? Of course you can! :-)

  • ||

    I agree with Lamar. To point out someone owns a foriegn car is no big deal (though where I grew up at people would actually not speak to you if you did, but man, times change). But if a candidate makes hay out of the fact that he always buys american cars, and this is not true, I don't think its unfair to point that out.

    A relatively silly waste of time, yes, but unfair? Naw.

  • Federal Dog||

    "He'd give these stemwinders like he was William Jennings Bryant about NAFTA, and then propose some lukewarm, Washington-consensus-approved environmental and labor protections."

    Racist.

  • ||

    Why won't the car just make its birth certificate available for inspection?

    Domestic content

    in model year 2006, the Ford Mustang had 65% domestic content and the Chevrolet Suburban 67%-both less than the Honda Accord at 70% and the Toyota Camry at 80%.3 In this Chicago Fed Letter, we illustrate two different ways to calculate domestic content of motor vehicles sold in the U.S.

    Domestic content data

    The U.S. federal government uses several approaches to determine the domestic content of vehicles sold in the United States. All of them define "domestic" as a geographic concept, rather than strictly by nation of ownership.

    For regulating fuel-efficiency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers a vehicle to be domestic if at least 75% of its content is produced in North America, including Canada and Mexico.

    For setting import tariffs, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Customs Service considers a vehicle to be domestic if it has at least 50% U.S. or Canadian content.

    For informing consumers, the American Automobile Labeling Act of 1992 (AAIA) considers a vehicle to be domestic if at least 85% of its parts originate in the U.S. or Canada; a part is counted as domestic if at least 70% of its content comes from the U.S. or Canada.



    As you can plainly see, with just a few more newer and betterer regulations all will become crystal clear.

  • ||

    I come from the year 2011 to let you know that nothing has changed. No, I won't spoil the election for you.

    brb, Brawndo shipment's here.

  • cunnivore||

    Barack Obama was conceived with foreign Nigerian sperm, wasn't he? So he's 50% foreign himself! Slap a tariff on that fucker.

  • ||

    Why won't the car just make its birth certificate available for inspection?

    joe wins the thread. That shit was funny.

  • ||

    Well, so much for my political future--I own a Honda.

  • ||

    Barack Obama was conceived with foreign Nigerian sperm, wasn't he? So he's 50% foreign himself! Slap a tariff on that fucker.

    Not so fast cunnivore . From Biology OnLine

    Chromosomes X and Y do not truly make up a homologous pair. They act similarly in their roles, but they are not homologous (the same). The X chromosome in humans is much longer than the Y chromosome and also contains many more genes. [emphasis added]


    Genitically, Barack Obama's domestic content is >50%.

  • ||

    I own a Honda Civi Si and a Toyota Tocoma. I will never buy another American brand again because of the bailout. They are floundering because their products suck and they have to pay these union dudes a lot money for jobs that you could probably train a monkey to do. Screw them. When I get my bailout (or they have the engineering prowess, which I doubt, to build an engine that redlines at 8K), i will reconsider.


    I think my Toyota is almost 100% japanese and my Honda was put together in Canada with Canadian, Mexican, and Japanese parts.

  • ||

    You can have Trusty the Wonder Civic when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    That care is nine years old, and it is absolutely no more underpowered than the day I bought it.

  • NSA Operative||

    You can have Trusty the Wonder Civic when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    Deal. Though it would be more accurate to say we pry your cold, dead hands from it.

  • ||

    No, it isn't a buy American argument folks………it's a buy "Michigan" thing. As a resident of SE Michigan why the hell should I care if a Honda Accord is built in Ohio????? Will Sotheast Michigan see any of the money Honda made from that Accord? How of Honda's suppliers are based in the Detroit area? Hell, a PT cruiser is assembled in Mexico, but still designed, engineered and tested in Auburn Hills and Chelsea. If you design and build in SE Michigan, I will support you. Toyota employs about 1000 people in SE Michigan….Honda, maybe 200. GM….20,000+. All I care about is if any of that $$ is coming back to SE Michigan.

  • Merry Mace||

    Last three cars: a Mexican built Ford and two American built Hondas. The Ford was falling apart at 40k and the Hondas just keep going (wonderful cars built in AL and OH). America can build a great car again thanks to the global economy. I doubt I'll ever buy a Ford or GM product again. Chrysler sucks a step past the two previous entries.

    I was disappointed with Sen. Obama over the ad. I'm sorry he's pandering to a xenophobic crowd. He knows global trade is a good thing, not bad.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Drezner, a poli-sci prof at Tufts, notes the massive anti-free-trade sentiments implicit in the ad, which is a major theme in Obama's campaign.
    Yeah, because everyone knows that NAFTA was responsible for the 1993-2000 depression.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Bill Ayers is a distraction!


    How dare they talk about that non-issue when the real issue is having three foreign cars out of thirteen! I mean, it is preposterous.

    What is next? The bananas they buy are foreign-grown as well?

  • ||

    Aren't F-150s and the like uber cheap right now? American cars are sold VERY cheaply these days (though it seems like it's because no one wants one).

    Sadly I can't think of an American car I actually prefer.


    Consider two cars, the Pontaic Vibe and the Toyota Matrix. Other than the name plate, they are identical. The Matrix sells for a higher price than the Vibe.

    But guess which model sells more units? The Matrix. The big 2 1/2 have problems, although I love my '04 Durango. My big, black baby runs fine!

  • ||

    Sadly I can't think of an American car I actually prefer.

    Depends on what you want. For at least one market segment (luxury/performance sedan), the American car (Cadillac CTS) pretty clearly offers the best value for the dollar. Once you get past ogling the Euro badges, anyway.

  • A||

    The jounalist should point out that John McCain himself does not own any foreign cars. Those mentioned belong to his wife and his wife's company.

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