A California Comedy

Arianna Huffington runs out of gas. Phil’s column in the Sacramento Bee on the Californian and her foolish attack on Hummers and SUVs.

(SH) – Looking for some great entertainment this weekend? Allow me to suggest The Arianna Huffington Show, California’s newest comedy. Tickets are free, but there’s one catch – she’ll be starring in her ridiculous marionette act all fall.

Suddenly, a woman who usually jet sets in limousines and spends her days gossiping with Hollywood wives is trying to run in the California governors race postponed just the other day by a federal appeals court. And she’s only got one issue – to harass SUV owners. The attack on consumer choice is a laughable attempt at a political platform and interesting, considering she told reporters that she’s “not a car person, really,” at a 2002 Hollywood charity event.

The attack on SUV owners includes t-shirts reading “Hybrid v. Hummer” and an animated auto race against Arnold Schwarzenegger. With so much rhetoric promoting her favorite new car, I have to wonder who is sponsoring the political talking head.
One thing is certain – environmentalists like the Sierra Club or Arianna’s new friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council are lapping up her pabulum day after day. The defense council’s charity wife cheerleaders like Laurie Davie are the ones who brainwashed the former conservative, just as the environmentalist groups have done with the uninformed and the unsuspecting. Now they sit on stage, Arianna puppet on their knees, using her heavy wood head to spew out misguided campaign rhetoric.

Take the performing artists’ attacks on the Hummer. Lost in their rehash of ridiculousness is any attempt to present facts to support the premise that buying a Hummer makes one a “global warmer.” The fact is that Hummer sales – all of 40,000 might be sold this year – add up to a whopping 0.5 of 1 percent of the U.S. vehicle market. How this results in any impact on global warming is hard to imagine, although with no facts that is what Arianna, the Sierra Club and the defense council would have us believe.

The truth is, despite consumer demand for safer, larger vehicles, average fuel economy has remained flat since 2002. The environmentalists don’t want you to know that progress on SUV and light truck emissions reduction is actually quite impressive. Fuel efficiency for cars has increased 133 percent in past decades and truck efficiency has improved by about 75 percent.

Not only are these groups using Arianna as a puppet to promote their cause, she’s doubling as their ticket broker too, asking voters to contribute to her sorry act. We have seen what these political groups do with the money from their campaigns. The Nature Conservancy has used contributions not just to conserve land, but to serve the landed. Newspaper articles showed transactions in which purchased land was used for the construction of expensive vacation homes.

Arianna’s puppeteers generate opposition to choices that don’t fit their liberal pro-choice politics. And if sloppy statistics keep the contributions rolling in, all the better.

California’s voters deserve more than emotional scare tactics. The Huffington clan should be ashamed for using environmental fear as an excuse to squeeze money from campaign contributors.

There are legitimate environmental concerns in America, and thoughtful Americans are concerned about them. That’s what makes this sort of propaganda so damaging to the very environment these organizations swear they want to help. We all remember the story of the boy who cried wolf. When the real wolf arrived, nobody believed him.

That is the legacy being created by Arianna’s so-called political platform. Instead of applauding her lip-syncing act, contributors should insist on conservation – of their funds.

Phil Kent is president of Phil Kent Consulting Inc.