Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Politics of Cars

In this election season, it seemed like a good idea to look at the cars that all the candidates drive -- to try to figure out which one is most likely to be "microcar-friendly."


It seems that the McCain's win in the contest of who owns the most cars. According to Newsweek, John McCain owns 13 cars. (Apparently 12 of the cars belong to Cindy McCain, while John only owns one.) The McCain cars include -- a Toyota Prius, a 2004 Cadillac STC, a 2005 Volkswagen convertible, a Lexus, a 2001 Honda sedan, a 2007 half-ton Ford pickup truck, two Jeeps, a 2000 Lincoln, a 2001 GMC SUV, and three GEM neighborhood electric vehicles.

Obama has one car registered in his name -- a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid. He went car shopping last year when his previous car, a Hemi powered Chrysler V-8 drew some criticism. The Ford Escape hybrid seems to be the unofficial political candidate car. It is driven by John Edwards, Sens. Christopher Dodd and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Govs. Mitt Romney and Bill Richardson.

It's probably not surprising to hear that Sarah Palin can often be seen driving a Chevrolet Suburban. It's hardly a microcar (or even a minicar, or a "politically-correct" hybrid), but it is the car the state of Alaska provides the governor. And with a family of seven in Alaska -- it may not be a bad choice. Her other vehicles include a VW Jetta TDI (42mpg -- not bad) and an Arctic Cat F6. If you aren't familiar with that last one, it's because it isn't a car . . . it's a snowmobile.


Biden is the guy with the most interesting cars -- perhaps because he is the son of a car salesman. He was given a 1967 Corvette (in 1967) as a wedding gift from his father, and he still drives it. Despite having a classic Corvette (Bill Clinton preceded him as a classic car owner, with a 1967 Mustang), Biden's choice of rides doesn't seem to be as public as that of the other candidates -- although one posting cited him as also owning a classic pickup truck.'s time to tally it up. Who is the best microcar candidate?

We certainly have to give McCain credit for his three GEM electric cars (even if they actually belong to his wife, Cindy). But we aren't a big fan of his "car of choice," the Cadillac CTS.

So, let's look at his running-mate, Sarah Palin. She gets one negative for the Suburban (sensible, perhaps...but not a very microcar-friendly choice), but she gets a positive for the Arctic Cat. It's not a car, but it is small -- and probably a lot of fun to drive.

On the other side we have Obama. His choice of a hybrid is a good thing, but he managed to pick one of biggest hybrids out there -- and it seems to be his second choice, after the Chrysler 300.

Barack's running-mate, Joe Biden wins on the coolness factor. (It's hard not to like a 1967 Corvette -- even if it's got a gas-guzzling V-8 under the hood.) But, between the Vette and a pickup, he doesn't seem to be driving small.

What's our conclusion?. . . a draw.

But we couldn't resist posting some photos of politicians doing what they do best -- looking foolish at the wheel.

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