I’m not sure what derangement syndrome Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is suffering from, but on Friday’s “Hardball,” he actually blamed the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center on President Reagan’s rollback of CAFE standards in 1986.
I kid you not.
To set this up, Kennedy and conservative talk show host Melanie Morgan were invited on to discuss profits that are currently being made surrounding “solutions” to anthropogenic global warming.
That precipitated the following set of almost unbelievable inanities from Kennedy (video available here, relevant section begins at 2:10):
Well, what we need to do, I mean the most important thing we need to do from a national security point of view, from an economic point of view, from a foreign policy point of view, is to eliminate our dependence particularly on foreign oil. We did this back in the 1980s.
You know, in 1979, we had fuel economy standards that worked. We went from 18 miles per gallon to 27.5 miles per gallon in six years. And we reduced oil imports from the Mideast by 87 percent. Our economy incidentally, Chris, grew by 27 percent during that period.
If we had left those fuel economy standards intact, Ronald Reagan rolled them back, we would not have had to import one drop of oil after 1986. Think of what that would have done to our history. The World Trade Center would probably still be standing. We would have avoided two Gulf Wars. We would be a prosperous nation. We wouldn’t be bound down in this Mesopotamian quagmire that has destroyed our reputation and destroyed the reputation of democracy across the globe.
Unbelievable. Now, to put this in perspective, one must understand a little bit of the history regarding Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
To meet the goal of doubling the 1974 passenger car fuel economy average by 1985 (to 27.5 mpg), Congress set fuel economy standards for some of the intervening years. Passenger car standards were established for MY 1978 (18 mpg); MY 1979 (19 mpg); MY 1980 (20 mpg); and for MY 1985 and thereafter (27.5 mpg). Congress left the level of 1981-84 standards to the Department to establish administratively. Subsequently, standards of 22, 24, 26, and 27 mpg were established. For the post-1985 period, Congress provided for the continued application of the 27.5 mpg standard for passenger cars, but gave the Department the authority to set higher or lower standards. From MY 1986 through 1989, the passenger car standards were lowered. Thereafter, in MY 1990, the passenger car standard was amended to 27.5 mpg, which it has remained at this level.
So, the standards were reduced for four years – during a period when oil prices had plummeted as a result of a huge glut mind you – then returned to 27.5 mpg in 1990 where they remained for almost twelve years and three different Presidential administrations before 9/11. Yet, those four years when they were dropped caused all of the problem?
How unbelievably asinine.
As you might imagine, Melanie Morgan didn’t take this absurdity lightly:
Well, first of all, I’m absolutely shocked to hear that Bobby Kennedy is saying that if we had different CAFE standards early, that 3000 Americans would still be alive after the bombing of the Twin Towers. This is ridiculous.
Actually, Melanie, ridiculous is an understatement.