There’s a buzz on the Internet today about how House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) took a test drive and photo op in a GM Hydrogen3 hydrogen fuel cell car, then ditched the car a few blocks later in favor of his Chevy Suburban. Hastert’s security detail, however, demanded he ride in an armor-plated SUV for safety reasons. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), on the other hand, was happy to say he arrived in a Toyota Prius and that his family car was a Ford Taurus.
But, according to USA Today, both sides of the political aisle have issues with driving gas-guzzling vehicles, “Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) hopped in a GMC Yukon (14 mpg). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) climbed aboard a Nissan Pathfinder (15). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) stepped into an eight-cylinder Ford Explorer (14). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) disappeared into a Lincoln Town Car (17). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) met up with an idling Chrysler minivan (18).”
What does all this prove? Not much. Hydrogen cars (and even hybrid cars) are still very new to the public. If congressmen and senators need to drive in armor-plated vehicles to protect their own lives, then it will take some time to convince those in charge of security to armor up some eco-friendly hybrid vehicles for the sake of public image. But, if image does matter in Washington, DC (as we know it does) then this would also be a good step in the right direction. Our leaders in Washington DC, do need to put their money where their mouths are and not just during photo op time.
But, like many others, some of our leaders are also having a hard time grappling with the new and changing technology. If these kinds of photo op flops continue two years from now, though, I too will become very worried.