Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« HPV vaccination misinformation and bias in Medscape | Main | Suskind: White House forged back-dated letter to concoct Iraq/9-11 link »

August 05, 2008

What's funny about tire gauges?

The Republicans have been handing out tire gages with Obama's name on them. This is meant as a joke because Obama pointed out that the U.S. stands to save more energy from keeping the nation's tires properly inflated than it would from offshore drilling.

The tire gauges are supposed to be a joke. I don't get it. Usually, I can reverse engineer jokes even if they don't make me laugh. This one leaves me at a loss. What's funny about an attractive useful gadget that associates your opponent with his own message?

I can see why the Obama campaign would give out tire gage pumps to donors. That would be making fun of John McCain and the emptiness of his offshore drilling promises.

I can imagine the creative brief. Suggested tagline: McCain's plan falls flat. So, remember to check your tires with this Obama tire gage.

Frank Jones at TIME Magazine thought McCain's wisecrack was funny:

Now that many of us have had a good laugh following Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign's use of tire-inflation gauges as weapons of mass distraction against Sen. Barack Obama, can we acknowledge that properly inflated tires could indeed save a tremendous amount of energy?

So can driving at or slightly above the speed limit. Or keeping a vehicle tuned up so it operates more efficiently.

Even though there's a dispute over whether Obama's claim that inflated tires and tune-ups would save more oil than could be extracted by drilling off-shore, it seems indisputable that there could be considerable savings from such relatively easy efforts. [Swampland/TIME]

Can anyone explain the joke as written? Sometimes I feel like I'm from a completely different culture than Republicans and "respectable" journalists. 

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00e553eb90098834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What's funny about tire gauges?:

Comments

I hadn't heard about this, but I guess what they mean to say is that he is completely out of touch if he thinks that inflating tires will make the same dent in the energy problem as would offshore oil production.

The energy issue could really hurt him...I think most people including many many Democrats support drilling, both offshore and in Alaska. Not as "the solution" but as part of a comprehensive solution. Which includes tire inflation, which I will be doing in the next day or so.

if he thinks that inflating tires will make the same dentn

Exactly. The tires would make four times the dent.

...and would make that dent right now, instead in two decades.

Not as "the solution" but as part of a comprehensive solution.

Unless we are planning on nationalizing US oil companies, it's not even remotely "part of a comprehensive solution," since the oil from offshore driling will be sold on the world market.

Obviously, the tire-gauge making industry needs to be a bit more "persuasive" with their money if they want any say in our country's energy policy.

The joke is if you accept that off shore drilling does something, then tire gauges show how empty Obama is. I.e. full of air.

Obviously to me not funny, just stupid. But if you really really believe off shore drilling is solving something you might think your point is made. This is the kind of stuff aimed at Dukakis, the helmut and tank picture that is just crap, but like a people magazine picture might define someone as out of touch.

It seems to me the joke relies on the expectation that no one will believe that properly inflating tires could actually produce significant savings in oil consumption. Andy Vance points out that in fact, it would produce significant savings, but McCain's folks seem to be counting on voters like the Phantom, to whom the notion of seriously reducing energy consumption through such a simple method seems to be ridiculous on its face and who probably won't look into the possibility that they might be mistaken. (And will be encouraged by McCain treating the suggestion as a joke not to look into it.)

The republicans are either stupid, or they think a given portion of the electorate are stupid (demonstrably both).

If you don't know that tire pressure can positively affect fuel economy, you're not all that quick on the uptake, and I think you should increase your knowledge of what cars are, and how they work ... especially before you head out on the road again.

What's so funny about tire gauges? The fact that the McCain campaign is using them to support Obama's candidacy.

After months of assuring middle-class, flannel-wearing, NASCAR-watching, white voters that Obama isn't "normal" like everyone else, is John McCain *really* going to fill up garages and mechanics' shops with Obama-branded tire gauges?

parse

What makes you think that I think inflating tires properly, which does lead to better mileage, is "ridiculous"? I am in favor of everyone doing this and I do it myself.

It's not true that doing this will save as much as could be gained from offshore driling. All should be employed, for many reasons.

Is oil a global market? Yes it is, but every barrel produced here is a bit less leverage for the Arabs and Chavez and the Russians etc. Plus there are a lot of very nice paying jobs to be gained by going after that oil and gas.

It's not progressive at all to oppose offshore drilling. It is as close to a no brainer as you have today--along with intense conservation, more msss transit, wind, solar, and nuclear technologies. If you oppose any of these, you are part of the problem.

--middle-class, flannel-wearing, NASCAR-watching, white voters--

the bitter ones, clinging to their guns and religion?

You didn't get the memo. You Dems are supposed to pretend that you like and respect them. Just until November.

Citizens taking personal responsibility to reduce their gas bills is offensive to conservatives. Got it. Next week, the McCain campaign hands out free condoms.

Phantom, I didn't claim you thought inflating tires correctly was "ridiculous." I said you thought "the notion of seriously reducing energy consumption through such a simple method seems to be ridiculous on its face." I came to that conclusion because you wrote that Obama wasn't just wrong if he thought that proper tire maintenance would make the same dent in the energy problem as offshore drilling--not just wrong, but "completely out of touch." I think my description of your position is reasonable based on your statement, but if I've misunderstood you, my apologies.

Since you state as fact that it's not true that properly inflating tires will save as much as could be gained through offshore drilling, could you share your figures for how much oil would be saved if all Americans had optimally inflated tires and how much could be gained through offshore drilling. I don't have the expertise to evaluate Obama's claims, but since you do, I'd be interested in seeing your numbers and learning where you got them.

See this
and other places.

Its very hard to state how much could be save by properly inflating tires--since very many of us individual drivers, myself included, have done this forever. Almost all professional fleets would have proper inflation.

And its not either/or. We need to do ALL these things- conserve aggressively, drill, develop all good alternatives including nuclear.

I support Obama's tire inflation proposal! And I appreciate that he is, albeit begrudgingly, turning to the proper position on drilling. I think McCain should offer him a job in the administration.

It's shades of Carter's "put on a sweater." They used it to make him sound like a wuss. I guess some people think Presidents should talk on the grand strategic level, like offshore drilling, and not zero in on mundane household tasks.

No, Justin

They should talk about it all. And not dismiss important components like drilling for the oil that is right off our own coastlines.

It seems to me the joke relies on the expectation that no one will believe that properly inflating tires could actually produce significant savings in oil consumption.

Exactly. If you remember that the GOP loathes math, science, facts and people who know stuff it makes a lot more sense. It's funny if you're stupid.

Phantom, your source suggests that the amount of savings through tire inflation and proper tune ups, as Obama suggested can only be estimated, not accurately predicted. It also reports that "no one knows what volume you could/would get from additional drilling in the outer continental shelf." If those don't support Obama's bald assertion that the savings would be equivalent, neither to they support your claim that they would not.

Well, enjoy this

Uh-oh, The Phantom Homer is at it again, and wrong, as usual:

"The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right."

What was that you were saying about no brains - er, brainer?

And again, tell me how drilling for oil off-shore, increasing pollution of our shores and the ocean, raising the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and then selling oil that is nominally "ours" to places like Japan and Belgium and Brazil etc. is going to help the American people?

Oh that's right, it doesn't help the people at all ... it just fills the company coffers of oil companies.

TB

Well, using your logic, maybe we should shut down the existing offshore oil rigs and the land rigs too.

That kind of talk won't get you too far in this election. So keep talkin'

The Phantom Homer misses the point, again.

The point here is that properly inflating your tires saves more gas in a year than off-shore drilling can produce in more than twenty.

Further, the trope of " ... using your logic, maybe we should shut down the existing offshore oil rigs and the land rigs too," misses an even bigger issue:

We are already using too much oil.

We need to start using LESS oil, not MORE.

One of the ways to use less oil is to not drill for more of it, especially when drilling for more of it off-shore is guaranteed to increase pollution of our shores and the ocean and exacerbating global warming.

Talk about taking pride in being ignorant ...

TB

You are calling someone else ignorant?

Show me the evidence for your statement--The point here is that properly inflating your tires saves more gas in a year than off-shore drilling can produce in more than twenty

Who told you that?

Who is against conservation? Why does using less oil mean that the need for oil has gone away so that we no longer need to produce it?

If producing offshore is so bad, why not close the existing rigs of Texas and Alabama and Louisiana.

We need a rapid transition to other fuels that are cleaner and that don't make us dependent on bad countries, but I have news for you. We'll use plenty of oil 25-50 years from now. Along with coal, hyrdro, gas, solar, wind, and nuclear.

But thats OK. Frame it on Dem-Republican lines, alienate every blue collar worker in the country with this either/or stuff. That is not where the solution lies.

Apparently the solution lies in mocking energy conservation and the people smart enough to understand physics on some basic level.

Phantom you shouldn't inflate your tires, that makes you bad Republican. Follow the lead of your man McCain and purposely deflate them, that'll learn those pesky liberals somehow.

The comments to this entry are closed.