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Richard Burr: Never let the facts get in the way of a good visual

For those in need of a chortle on a hot summer’s day, check out the latest feature on the blog of Senator Richard Burr’s campaign website. It’s a news story that ABC produced in May about Burr’s opposition to improved federal automotive fuel mileage standards — something that even the U.S. car industry ultimately embraced.

Though the specific objective of the symbolism is never completely clear, Burr seems to attempt to use his personal ownership of a 1973 Volkswagen deathtrap known as the “Thing” as evidence of the need to oppose improved federal fuel mileage standards. According to Burr, the car gets 40 miles per gallon as his getting-around-Washington car, but this is only at the expense of safety sacrifices.

Therefore, says the senator (or at least implies the senator — his actual point is never terribly clear), we should oppose increased gas mileage requirements because it will endanger more drivers and harm consumer choice.

According to Burr, “If you leave the consumer out of the decisions we make in Washington, we’re gonna’ bankrupt a lot of companies by setting standards that the American consumer won’t buy.”

Okay, let’s see if we can get this straight:

Richard Burr thinks that his ownership of an old foreign “car” that was banned from being sold in the U.S. in 1974 (a la the Corvair) for being impossibly dangerous and that got 21mpg at the time according to its owners’ manual (that the Senator somehow manages to get 40 mpg today driving the same 36 year old junker today in city traffic is simply not believable) is somehow symbolic of the need to “listen to consumers” today when it comes to regulating the American automotive industry — which has just been driven into bankruptcy by those same consumers who didn’t like the crappy, low mileage cars it produced and who, instead favored foreign cars that got better mileage and were a thousand times safer than any 1973 car of any size or make.  

Well, that makes sense. No wonder he’s a magnet for big corporate campaign contributors and a favorite for reelection next year.  

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