Former prez George H.W. Bush recently gave the gift of the Chevrolet Volt to his son Neil for his 57th birthday. A Houston dealership took delivery of the gift to Bush’s fourth son, who ironically has spent much of his career holding positions within the oil industry. Bush Sr.’s purchase adds the 41st president to a growing list of prominent Republicans going ‘rogue’ and publicly rethinking conservative criticism of the car.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Obama announced that he would purchase a Volt when he leaves office, or that his former auto czar Steve Rattner, “tweeted that he’d bought a silver one and loves it “even though [it's] not financially savvy.” The Obama administration has shown immense support for the car, which would appear to be precisely the reason the car has become a political target to such an extreme that even Bob Lutz is confused.
But, as many have noted, it makes perfect sense for the Bush family to embrace the Volt: the car’s development was set in motion with policies established by George W. Bush. The 43rd President enacted the $13.4million bailout of GM and Chrysler in early 2008, the GM portion of which kept the Detroit automaker running and freed them up to develop the fuel efficient hybrid. Additionally, it was Bush himself who created the tax-credit incentives to purchase hybrid cars in his 2005 Clean Energy Bill.
It’s not just the Bush family who is quietly showing their support for the American-made hybrid car; Fox News even ran a piece showing support for the Chevy Volt, and while Bill O’Reilly may still falsely maintain that the cars are flammable, he too, once supported the car. Perhaps he too can be bought back around by the love shown to the Volt by former Republican Presidents and Oil Executives.