Arnold Schwarzenegger: "The Republican Al Gore"

A Republican congressman from Michigan says the California governor wants Detroit to "drop dead."

Published March 15, 2007 4:32PM (EDT)

Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger, really? According to Joe Knollenberg, a Republican congressman from Michigan, he's "kind of a Republican Al Gore." That's what Knollenberg told Fox News' Neil Cavuto on Tuesday night.

What's Knollenberg's beef? The congressman represents a district north of Detroit. Among his constituents are the Big 3 automakers. The Big 3 are feeling pretty nervous these days -- on Wednesday the chief executives of GM, Ford and Chrysler appeared before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality to lobby against tighter fuel economy (CAFE) standards.

Knollenberg has decided to carry their water -- by attacking California. He spent $10,000 of his own money to put up a billboard on I-75 that reads "Arnold to Michigan: Drop Dead." Schwarzenegger's efforts to mandate higher fuel economy standards, says Knollenberg, will cost the U.S. auto industry $85 billion. The ecofascist California liberal must be stopped!

As Knollenberg's new Web site,, declares:

Detroit is getting unfairly bullied in this debate over energy independence and global warming. The professional environmentalists and their political allies are attempting to demonize America's auto companies and make pickup trucks seem as bad as cigarettes.

How the World Works thinks that a comprehensive carbon tax would probably be better than tightened CAFE standards at fighting global warming and increasing fuel efficiency. But we also believe Detroit has mostly itself to blame for its woes, and would be better off imitating California rather than trying to scapegoat it.

But most of all, we think Joe Knollenberg is on a mission to do as much damage to the world as he can. In 1998 and 1999, Knollenberg attached a rider known as "the Knollenberg amendement" to congressional budget appropriation bills. It's purpose: preventing any government agency from doing anything that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions, to the point of even forbidding the EPA from holding educational seminars about climate change. The science of global warming, he said at the time, "was immature."

If we want to play the blame game, let's start with Detroit, not California.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Environment Global Warming Globalization How The World Works