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George W. Bush, Father of the Modern Electric Car Page 2

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Barack Obama

Barack Obama

President Obama has his own vision. He's angling to make CAFE a potent enforcer of electric-car mandates: Obama wants a million electric cars to hit the roads by 2015, is mandating federal agencies buy them, and is urging the EPA to keep tightening the CAFE fleet average. Electric cars may be the only way to meet a stringent new 60-mpg bogey, if the President gets his way.

Obama's also trying to turn the federal electric-car $7500 tax credit advocated in the 2007 bill into at-dealer rebates. It's a step that has to happen for the Volt and Leaf to get mainstream consideration, and it's entirely indebted to the Bush bill.

Whose side are you on?

Agnostic of party affiliation, the electric-car mandates were and are political inventions for the right reasons. They reinforce a constitutional obligation with legislation, not without a little bit of cheerleading.

We wouldn't at this place in automotive history without President Bush. To see that or admit it, you have to part a dense thicket of hater propaganda. The politically misguided, morally ambiguous invasion of Iraq is no reason to see electric cars for the win they could be, and to give credit where credit is due.

Bush is still a convenient "stupid" joke for lazy critics who don't like his accent or his big, simple, long-term ideals. The war legacy isn't a comfortable one but like his advocacy of subsidized HIV treatment for Africa--a humane mission before it was overwhelmingly confirmed as smart science--it has undoubtedly changed a miserable situation to something less miserable. Bush was right on Afghanistan, too, which led Obama to Bin Laden.

Now he's being proven right on electric cars, and I wonder if he'll ever get his due.

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