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Ed Driscoll

‘Best Commercial Ever!’

February 13th, 2014 - 4:12 pm

“Cadillac tells lazy French leftists to get stuffed! Love it!” Like Andrew Klavan, I also got a capitalist kick out of message of this Cadillac commercial — if you’re going to sell a hybrid that isn’t a Prius, make its commercial the most pro-American ad you can write. I’m only half surprised that GM didn’t cast Michael Douglas dressed up in one of his Gordon Gekko suits, a power tie, and trademark horizontal-striped shirt. But no need — as left-leaning Jalopnik quips, “This Cadillac ELR Ad Will Make You Hate Electric Car Buyers.”

I only wish General Motors walked the walk as well as their pitchmen talk it. As Jonah Goldberg said in 2009, the period in which General Motors transformed itself — at least for a time — into Government Motors, “the old adage ‘Everyone’s a capitalist on the way up and a socialist on the way down’ is kicking in. The thing is, if you’re a socialist on the way down, you were never really a capitalist on the way up. Capitalism requires putting your own capital at risk.”

But then, this isn’t the first time the message from General Motors diverged from the corporation’s actual practices. Shortly after World War II, GM was at least enough of a capitalist on the way up that it distributed copies of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Only to eventually gun the motor so hard down that very same road to serfdom that by the start of the 21st century, as Jonah wrote in 2008′s Liberal Fascism, “There’s a reason liberal economists joke that General Motors is a health-care provider that makes cars as an industrial by-product,” foreshadowing GM’s bailout by the Obama administration the following year.

On the other hand, this new ad could foreshadow events this fall, as we’ll explore right after the page break.

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Top Rated Comments   
GM is dead to me, although I might manage to buy a used Corvette someday - or an old 60s or 70s Chevy pickup, with acres of open space under the hood for easy maintenance.

What Obama did with GM and Chrysler? You and I know it was illegal, shafting investors to pander to unions. And yet...
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I owned a 1997 Cadillac Sedan deVille. Pluses: big, comfortable, quiet, fast (Northstar V8), pretty much everything you'd want in a luxury sedan. It was a joy to drive.

Minuses: you could not bribe it with enough money to stay fixed. Financially, it was like putting a kid through M.I.T. Got to know "Steve", the service rep, too well. You name it, it broke. If you can't name it and are not even dimly aware of it, it still broke. From the mundane to the esoteric.

And every break had a number, usually some multiple of $600.

I've owned a dozen cars in my life, from a lowly, rust-eaten '68 Plymouth Belvedere station wagon I bought in 1979 for $125, to an almost-as-lowly '66 Ford Galaxie... a '74 Fiat 124 sedan (married into it) that spit hot radiator fluid on a passenger and burned oil when it was brand new; an '82 VW Jetta diesel that was so unreliable my mechanic called it, "Hitler's Revenge"... four different Toyotas; a Honda Element; another Cadillac, an '89 that was actually a decent car; and an '82 Checker Marathon, which I still own.

Hands down, the '97 Caddy was the worst automotive mistake of my life. Nothing else is even close. My '68 Belvedere was a pile of junk, but I trusted it more than the Caddy. My '74 Fiat would lose its headlights rolling down the Interstate at 10 PM, and I still trusted it more than the Caddy.

Case in point: most modern cars have rack & pinion steering. (Some few of my cars, notably the Sixties cars and the Checker, did not; they had an old-fashioned steering box.) The '97 Caddy remains, to this day, the only one with a steering rack I ever had to replace. And I had to do it twice. Within 40,000 miles of each other. And when I got rid of the car, it was already showing the tell-tale signs of needing another one. We're not talking about a trivial repair, either, but somewhere around $1200 (at the time) for just a rebuilt rack (a new rack was higher).

Now, if I were selling a car to the American people, touting it to be one of the best in its class, and a basic part kept malfunctioning, I'd wear an expression of mortified embarrassment until we fixed the engineering problem that was causing it.

Cadillac's response? "That'll be $1200, please." They were happy to acknowledge problems with the parts, and cheerful as well about taking your money for them.

Other problems? Too numerous to get into. Just one example: the anti-theft device began hinting that it thought I was stealing my own car. Took it in, WTF, "Steve"? (if that is your real name). "Well," Steve explained, "the older model has a wire running through the steering column and into the computer, and turning the steering wheel for seven years has worn it out."

I pondered that for a minute until it sunk in: an electrical wire, in a Cadillac, is a wear part.

"But," Steve added cheerfully, "the later model fixed that issue!"

Like that did me any good.

For want of a five-cent plastic sleeve on a wire, I'm out... how much, Steve?

"That'll be $600, please."

Finally traded it in on a new 2005 Honda Element. 120,000 miles now on it. Just this morning, it's getting new rear brakes for the first time since new. Brakes, tires, batteries, and $30 worth of differential fluid are all the repairs this vehicle has ever needed.

Hell will freeze well before I buy another GM, let alone a Cadillac. Customers are not your beta-testers.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's all deception, psychological brainwashing, 2 minutes of yelling at Goldstein (1984), meant to condition the masses into associating socialist enterprises with patriotic themes. To those in power we're all just a bunch of animals to be conditioned by ringing Pavlov's bell after we get our EBT cards recharged, our condoms supplied for free, our abortions paid for by someone else, encouraged to not have families or faith, immersed in pornography and quick instant highs from drugs and manipulated into slaving away working for the State for a pittance until time comes that we're a burden to the state and we're put to death at the free Euthanasia clinic paid for by Obamacare.
And if we protest too much, called terrorists and either killed outright or imprisoned indefinitely without habeas corpus and our friends threatened with the same should they enquire about our fate. Christians took over symbols and festivals from earlier pagan religions successfully absorbing and eliminating the latter. Your friendly American communist/socialist/fascist is just doing the same with American symbols of freedom, independence, and prosperity.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (66)
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I'm supposed to believe that I'm just a Cadillac away from my kids doing their homework?

Keep the car. Sell me those kids.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neal McDonough needs to get on the Mark Rippetoe program. Fine actor, but needs to get in shape.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I will never buy another GM or Chrysler vehicle for the rest of my life. I will encourage my children to do the same. Are you with me?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's just silly. Not buying one while they are under the control of the government is a reasonable political statement but what if they became truly independent companies again AND produced really good cars? What would the point of a boycott be then? Your proposal is like vowing never to have you or any of your descendants visit Germany at any time in the future because of Hitler. Or Mongolia because of Genghis Khan.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
GM and Chrysler are accursed unto the 7th generation. Check back in the 24th century.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey! That Guy was the 2d season bad guy in Justified! Terrific!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I was a young newlywed, I worked changing oil at a Toyota dealership. I come from a family that mostly drove Mopars. Now? They're mostly driving Fords. I buy American cars because I like the roominess and the power, and the parts are very cheap compared to imported brands (I do all my own labor; I rebuilt a wiring harness on my 300M and I just finished resealing the engine on a Grand Caravan; I rebuilt an engine and replaced a tranny after driving a $600 Neon for five years). But when my coworkers ask me, I tell them straight: Toyotas are the best cars on the planet for reliability.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Toyotas are the best cars on the planet for reliability."

Certainly our experiences with Toyota bear this out. We strayed for a few years with Jeep & Chevrolet but came back into the fold. Very happy with our Tacoma & Avalon.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, I'm not taking the bait Gov't Motors. First you stiff the bond holders and reward the UAW, then you fail to repay all of the billions you get from the American taxpayers, and finally you allow Obama to pick your CEOs based on factors other than excellence. I'm going to buy another Lexus when I get finished with my current car and reward the truly entrepreneurial automotive company. I felt like vomiting while watching this sanctimonious commercial, who do you think you're kidding?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
ehhhh, it should have ended with Elstin Limehouse chopping off his arm
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Like previous post by Pseudonymous:
GM is dead to me.
Government Motors might as well change their logo with a picture of Obama.

Progress.Forward.Yes we can.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I bought a Prius. Gets great gas mileage and given that it's a Toyota I can expect to drive it for a good 8 to 10 years.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the battery life-expectancy?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What did the people tell them that they wanted? A clean, simple, pure America where people are kind to one another, work hard, raise animals, and honor their troops. In short, most of these spots could be labeled “Patriotic” — not saber-rattling, jingoistic, war-mongering patriotic, but pride-in-self, pride-in-country patriotic."

The flaw in the analysis is this: while that's the way to appeal to people who have enough money to buy consumer goods, such people are a subset - in fact, a minority - of people who vote. And our current political leaders are telling those not in that subset that the people who are in that subset owe them a living and that they have no obligation to try to become self-sufficient.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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