Atrios asked yesterday, “Does anyone understand why Obama suggesting that people keep their tires properly inflated is some sort of hilarious gaffe?”
I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing for days. As the Obama campaign kicked off “energy week” with a new contrast ad and a policy speech in Michigan, Time’s Mark Halperin reports, “McCain supporters in Michigan will distribute tire gauges at Obama’s energy speech in Lansing. The RNC will also deliver gauges reading ‘Obama’s energy plan’ to Washington newsrooms.”
It looks like far-right blogs have received their copies of the Republican script, too. RedState.org’s Erick Erickson is on message: “Inflating your tires and getting a regular tune-up sounds more like Obama’s plan for ego maintenance than it does for helping American families.” Ed Morrissey added, “…Obama refers to ‘big oil’ and the need to reduce our use of oil by 35% over the next twenty years. How do we get there? Keep inflating those tires, folks.”
We are, quite obviously, in the midst of a very aggressive roll-out here. John McCain criticized the notion of well-inflated tires on Friday, and Newt Gingrich described Obama’s remarks as “loony toons” during a Fox News interview. Over the weekend, McCain said, “It seems to me the only thing [Obama] wants us to do is inflate tires” to improve gas mileage.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, still auditioning for the role of VP, even took to using a tire gauge as a prop.
“Barack Obama stood up at a speech recently and said that one of the things that is really important from energy policy from his standpoint is to check the pressure in our tires, so here’s a tire gauge and you can go out in the parking lot here and check your tires. Now, that’s an interesting thing — we want you to have good pressure in your tires, you know, it will very mildly add to your fuel efficiency — but checking the air pressure in your tires is not an energy policy for the United States of America,” Pawlenty said.
ABC News’ The Note added that tire gauges may get the Republican Party’s message “back on the road.”
There’s something deeply wrong with these people.