Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He loves us, he loves us not

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain held a townhall meeting at General Motors Corp.'s Tech Center Friday at which he told GM workers a few things they liked hearing and one big thing they didn't.

McCain said if elected, he would support a $5,000 tax credit for consumers who buy low-emission vehicles. He also reiterated his support for a $300 million prize to the first company that makes the first commercially available electric vehicle.

But GM Chairman Rick Wagoner may have wondered why he invited McCain into his corporate home when Mr. Straight Talker said he supports letting individual states set their own vehicle exhaust emission standards. GM and most other automakers oppose that, opting instead for a single federal standard. GM says building cars and trucks to meet various state standards would be a costly engineering nightmare.

McCain is entitled to his opinions, of course. And his view on emission standards plays well in California and Northeast states that want to impose more stringent regulations. But Michigan is expected to be a battleground state in the November election. Appearing at an auto company and promoting a stance that the industry opposes could be more political crazy talk than straight talk.