Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Weasel Alert: Republican organization says biking, walking is a “wacky” idea

Posted by on October 3rd, 2008 at 11:10 am

[via Treehugger and EarthFirst.]

Riding bikes; a “wacky idea”.

In honor of Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s call to “hold the weasels accountable” and taking a cue from the League of American Bicyclist’s “Trash Talk” campaign, here’s a political attack ad (watch below) from Pennsylvania that is simply shocking.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is running an ad against Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania (she’s leading a close race against Republican incumbent Phil English) that points out her “wacky” ideas. Among them are the appalling fact (sacrasm) that she says one way out of our energy mess is to walk and bike more.

After pointing that out, the narrator in the ad says sarcastically, “Hmmmm… why don’t we use dog sleds too.”

Watch the ad below…

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  • Tim October 3, 2008 at 11:17 am

    this is stupid.

    I am a conservative and typically vote republican because the other side has gone completely socialist.

    I am a car-free and full time bicycle commuter. I do so because I think that our health is our own responsibility and I work hard every day at maintaining it. I also dislike sending my money to terrorists who want nothing more than to kill my infidel axx.

    It also saves me thousands of dollars per year which I save/invest in the hopes of becoming independently wealthy someday.

    Biking/Walking should be a very conservative idea.

    Remember that the Federal Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Project Grant (100 million dollar bill) was passed by a republican congress and signed by a republican president.

    My city received it only because one of our senators is a senior republican with lots of pull and is on the senate transportation committee.

    This type of nonsense is to real conservatives what moveon should be to liberals. Crazed idiots.

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  • Jebus October 3, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Nice… glad to know they ignore the fact that drilling in Alaska wouldn’t help for another 10 years… and even then, would only hurt innovation in other areas of transportation such as hydrogen or your legs.

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  • Tim October 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I am a conservative who primarily votes republican. I am also a car free bicycle commuter.

    Being car free should be a conservative value.

    -Not buying oil from terrorists
    -Your health is YOUR OWN responsibility. I have no interest in buying health care for the fat and lazy.
    -Not owning a depreciating asset helps you build wealth quicker than you would otherwise.

    There are many conservatives out there who support bicycling and walking. I hope that this group does not skew your perception although I admit that TRUE conservatives are few and far between anymore.

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  • toddistic October 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I think dog sledding looks like fun!

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  • Tim October 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Jebus –

    Please know that HYDROGEN is not an energy source but rather a energy storage system. You might as well say that batteries are the energy future. It takes large amounts of energy to create hydrogen in an energy form. Not to mention the fact that car’s exhausting water would be a problem in the winter.

    Hydrogen is probably the biggest scam in history. Anytime people lie about these magical energy sources it just leads to more complacency about our energy future. There is nothing that can replace oil. The future will probably have a much different energy look than the present.

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  • Jebus October 3, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Tim –

    Very true. I didn’t mean to say hydrogen exactly, just other forms of energy/extraction that we can use. A shortage of oil/gasoline in this country will increase the desire to find other solutions and methods. I do not think any one method can replace oil, but a combination over time can reduce our use to tolerable levels hopefully.

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  • dobrien October 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Go Kathy Dahlkemper! From where we are, it’s easy to forget how different our bike culture is from places like Pennsylvania. From what I understand, PennDOT is kind of the butt of jokes among transportation people. And I remember telling someone at a York (of all places) pub that Pennsylvania roads don’t make it very easy to commute by bicycle. The two women looked at me like I had a hole in my head. One of them said, “I can’t even imagine. It’s dangerous and hassle enough using a car around here.”

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  • Snacky October 3, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    @Tim – thanks for the conservative rundown.

    I think the truth is that most people, even most Oregonians are truly conservative, in the sense of what it really means.

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  • Arem October 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Wow. Legs? Pffft, why move those around? Too much effort, that’s what a foot and a rump are for! Sitting and pressing with minimal effort exerted! Why move about like all those so-called “healthy” people (insert much finger-waggling here) when I’m perfectly pleased as punch to sit and as much adipose tissue as the size of the state of Rhode Island!?

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  • Arem October 3, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    darn, my (sarcasm) (/sarcasm) fake tags didn’t work in there. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • kgb (the poster formly known as kg. October 3, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    There is nothing conservative about the modern Republican party.

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  • Andrea October 3, 2008 at 12:41 pm


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  • Philip October 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    “The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” – Albert Einstein

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  • Chris October 3, 2008 at 12:46 pm


    That is a funny ad. Thanks.

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  • Vance October 3, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    You know, I actually kind of enjoy seeing this sort of garbage. Messages of this sort generate polarity. Likewise this message is patronizing, and inadvertently characterizes the alternative transportation movement as less than bona-fide. In a way, patronizing one’s opposition in this manner can, in effect, produce an under-dog. Fence riders gravitate toward the underdog, don’t they? A constituent even considering alternative transpo is bound to be offended by this type of message.

    Additionally, I too enjoyed Tim #2’s comment. Thank you for that sir. Easy on hydrogen though, eh? I mean, ya it’s a negative net-energy state currently, but not eternally. Plus, hydrogen is the most abundant matter in the known universe. Better that than food IMO. I’m just sayin’!

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  • Suburban October 3, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks TIM for the fresh air.
    Cycling in the terms you laid out is straight-up patriotic, as well as conservative, and fun.

    They hate us for our freedom.-GWB

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  • Jordan October 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Welcome to opposite land! It seems like that ad has everything backwards.

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  • Richard S October 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Re Tim(post 2):
    Noooo.. That makes me a conservative!! How am I going to live with myself?

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  • Kathleen McDade October 3, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I suggest Republicans (and others, if you wish) who disagree send an email or letter to the Republican National Committee, which is responsible for the content of this ad.

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  • Carice October 3, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    God forbid anyone should make “personal sacrifices”! I thought that the Republicans were trying to cast themselves as the party of personal responsibility?
    And as to “sacrifices” my bicycle commute is often the best part of my day! Much better than being crammed into a subway car or trapped in traffic in a car!

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  • Andrew H October 3, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    You know the Republican Party is desperate when it attacks someone for urging that people take personal actions to reduce gas and oil use… and for opposing increased deficit spending (by reducing gas taxes while still spending on roads, etc.)

    Isn’t personal responsibility central Republican tenet?

    It’s a wacky political year alright.

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  • Graham October 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Who comes up with this stuff? And do they have a team of servants carry them around in palanquins to spare their legs the burden of hauling around their atrophied torsos?

    Maybe we could ask Sen. Jason Atkinson to give them a call, and let them know some Republicans don’t mind carrying their own weight.

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  • Andr้ delepierre October 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    This message comes from Lille France.

    Congratulations to Mrs Kathy Dahlkemper. Such a senseless ad should bring her many ballots.
    Biking is freedom, attention to others, fun, and health and fitness.

    By the way, save the world from Sarah Palin. the Vice president of the USA can’t be the person we saw and heard on CNN. If not, God bless America;

    For us in France, Alaska means Jack London and the Call of the Wild, not oil greedy moguls and Exxon tankers broken ashore.

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  • matt picio October 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    The real joy is that the authors of this ad will probably turn around next and blame Dahlkemper for the fact that the Highway fund is bankrupt (due to the reduction in gas tax revenues, the very tax she’s saying we need to keep).

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  • Tbird October 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Personal sacrifice…
    Here, here… That’s the one thing our generation has forgotten. Our grandparents sure knew about sacrifice, and I think most folks would agree that by and large they faired better in the long run because of it. The sad fact that what plays is simply head in the sand business as usual type mentality is staggering. Almost everyone agrees we have issues, but somehow it’s only the “wacky” people who think we might need to change our behavior in order to affect change.
    Sad, but then so is AmeriKKKa.

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  • Bike Mike October 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Tim: You’re quite right about hydrogen being a form of energy storage (at least in the present context), but I don’t think it’s quite accurate to state that nothing can replace oil. If you’re referring to the use of petroleum as starting points in the synthesis of lots of things, you might be close to right, but you should also point out in your argument that generation of hydrogen gas as an ultimate result of nuclear energy (for example) might well be capable of replacing the use of oil (and perhaps all hydrocarbons) as energy sources. Also, don’t forget that hydrocarbons used today in combustion engines produce lots of water that heads out tailpipes etc. w/o causing too many problems, and I suspect we could deal with the water generated by hydrogen oxidation w/o too much difficulty.

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  • peejay October 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm


    Stick to the facts, facts you can back up with citations, and then tell me why you believe moveon is a bunch of crazed idiots. Seriously. And I’ll jump the gun, and tell you that the supposed video comparing Bush to Hitler was not produced by moveon, but was submitted to a contest they held, and when they realized what was on it, they deleted it from their site. But, if you have some other examples, let us know.

    I say this because it’s a popular meme that’s been put out by the media that there’s some sort of equivalence between the extremists on the right and extremists on the left. Well, there are plenty of examples of extremism on the right, and perhaps a few on the left, but the problem is that the Republican mainstream has more or less embraced the extremist elements on their side, while the Democrats have not. Moveon, ACORN, and other groups like that are not extremists, but the media like to say they are so they can force symmetry where none exists, and look “balanced.”

    Now, back to bikes…

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  • TonyH October 3, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    This is the NEW conservatism. Being self-reliant and living within one’s means are no longer conservative notions. Didn’t you folks get the memo?

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  • Tom October 3, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Dogsledding is a blast…those animals are happiest when they are exercising.

    There are races at Frog Lake on Mt. Hood. Great off-season training for cyclist/mushers. These are attended by mostly Republican dogs I think.

    I wonder if http://www.pennsleddogclub.com would concur ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • eileen October 3, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    This is the attitude that best demonstrates why we NEED some major thing like another great depression. Americans just can’t fathom giving up their cars. How ridiculous to even suggest that we not drive, how could that be the answer?

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  • G.A.R. October 3, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    We don’t need a depression. We need to internalize these huge externalities: the obesity epidemic, energy wars, global warming, carnage on the streets, etc. There is great opportunity in renewables and they’re cheap if you consider global costs.

    We are working on some of these items. New laws that call traffic deaths homicides are a step in the right direction. Hopefully it isn’t only in death that a person can get this “protection”. Apportioning repair costs according to vehicle weight in proportional fault accidents would be another good step.

    Unfortunately the price system as it stands today only relays to motorists the costs of drilling, shipping, refining and distribution.

    Mandating the giving up of cars, taken broadly (e.g., taken to include giving up clean cars) is discriminatory against the elderly, the young, and the disabled. Most of us on this frequency, I’d guess, simply prefer bikes over cars for many everyday activities.

    It is unfortunate that Dahlkemper has to resort to the vocabulary of “personal sacrifice”. Personal sacrifice is for losers. Why do we have to use this vocabulary? It is because the price system isn’t “thinking globally,” but people are still “acting locally.” The price system, as it stands, makes it a personal sacrifice to bike and walk. It takes longer to get to point B and time is precious. And driving big cars is still far too cheap. Especially when it comes to sacrificing our families the number who are willing shrinks. Do I say to my eight year old that he can’t take that piano lesson because that would require a car trip? Should I?

    We need to work toward a price system that accurately reflects the costs, globally and long-term. Then people will be more likely to make the right choices.

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  • justa October 3, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    well, that’s just ridiculous.

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  • JohnO October 3, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    If you want to increase your disgust factor, take a look at her congressional opponent, Phil English. I was so pissed about this commercial that I blogged about it earlier, and in the process I dredged up a photo of him. If ever someone needed to “sacrifice” about 30 lbs. of excess weight by walking or cycling, it’s him.

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  • Faux Porteur October 4, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Odds are, there several people within 3 miles of your home that teach piano.

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  • Coyote October 4, 2008 at 7:37 am

    G.A.R. your point that giving up clean cars is bad because it is discriminatory is ridiculous. Humans have gotten along without cars for about 100,000 years. To my knoledge we have always had young people, old people, and disabled people.

    Unfortunately, your comment about personal sacrifice being for losers is even more ridiculous. How do you expect your daughter to learn piano without a personal sacrifice? Taking lessons is not learning.

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  • JammyTime October 4, 2008 at 8:20 am

    What a ridiculous idea. This suggests that it would have to be snowing for me to get to the office. Realistically, how about a team of sled dogs pulling me on my bike. Either way, the issue of kenneling the animals all day long downtown may pose serious questions. Still, Phil English might be on to something. What a revolutionary thinker.

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  • Anonymous October 4, 2008 at 10:05 am

    This just made me laugh. It seems like a parody. I hope the people it’s aimed ad see it that way and vote appropriately. I always wonder what the conscience of the voiceover artist who does these ads is. Do they believe the nonsense?

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  • Tasha October 4, 2008 at 10:06 am

    This just made me laugh. It seems like a parody. I hope the people it’s aimed ad see it that way and vote appropriately. I always wonder what the conscience of the voiceover artist who does these ads is. Do they believe the nonsense?

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  • Early Ma October 4, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I guess no one at the NRCC saw the poll that most people think the gas tax holiday idea is bad pandering. This is really yeserday’s issue anyway. English wants to privatize Social Security. I bet Portly Phil wishes he had done some more walking and biking so he was fleet enough to run away from that issue. He should have plenty of time for exercise after his forced retirement on November 4.

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  • Eileen October 4, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    GAR, who suggested mandating you give up your car? No one. The suggestion was to think about using it less by biking and walking more. Down the road, if more people did this and we created a more bike/pedestrian friendly world, the NEED for a car might be eliminated. There are plenty of options for the young, elderly and disabled, most of whom shouldn’t be driving anyway. Tri-met will come to your door and help you out of your house if you are disabled. Do you ever see those tri-met short buses? That’s what they are for.

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  • Opus the Poet October 4, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Privatizing SS? When we just gave Wall Street $700,000,000,000 to keep them from tanking because they used worthless mortgages as collateral to pump up the prices of worthless stocks? That will fly like a lead balloon. No wonder they’re running adds to make cycling look bad.

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  • Oh Word? October 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    “…and here I am using my own legs like a sucker.”

    -Homer Simpson

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  • jami October 5, 2008 at 1:50 am

    TonyH, I’ve concluded that they’re not conservatives — they’re Republicans. The “liberals” I know are wildly conservative relative to war-spending, four-divorcing, Humvee-driving Republicans.

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  • Opus the Poet October 5, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    G.A.R #31

    In case you hadn’t noticed we already have a depression going on, that’s what the bailout is supposed to alleviate. The bailout is going to the wrong people in my opinion, the money will go to buy bad mortgage loans, instead of paying off bad mortgage loans. In other words the people that made the bad loans will get everything. The people that were given the bad loans, who shouldn’t have been given the loans but were anyway, will still lose everything, and everyone else responsible will get their big salaries and bonuses. Even if they get fired, they still get their “golden parachutes”. And bicyclists get tossed $240 a year if their employers decide to participate in the tax benefit (to get back to the subject of cyclists and bicycles)

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  • Art of the Xtracycle | Austin Bike Blog October 6, 2008 at 6:18 am

    […] Biking for transportation isn’t wacky. It’s the future, and my kids are loving it. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Faustinbikeblog.org%2F%3Fp%3D1036’; addthis_title = ‘Art+of+the+Xtracycle’; addthis_pub = ”; Email or Print This Post: […]

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  • New biker October 6, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I am new to bike commuting as an adult (just over a month, now), but grew up in Germany and my bike was my best transportation. It’s not hard to get back in the habit here in Portland (even 15 years later!), but just 2 years ago, I lived in Ohio. Other than going into downtown, biking was not a very safe option back East. Our local Lions Club worked with children every year to emphasize bike safety, but you’d be lucky to have drivers paying enough attention not to run you down. You had to ride on sidewalks, which slowed down your trip, and that’s if you were staying in town. The distance I take to work now would have put me on the other side of our small town. I worked in the city, truly only accessible by highway. Things are MUCH more spread out there, and the drivers are not prepared for bikes on ‘their’ roads.
    I guess my point is (without watching the ad as I am at work), that they are referring to the fact that it is difficult to ride a bike to very many things out East. Distance is the major factor, and safety would be a close second.
    I absolutely encourage everyone to ride, even if it’s just to a neighbor’s house. And the more we ride, the more they have to take biking seriously. It IS a fantastic way to reduce polution, save money, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. And it didn’t take me long to get used to it.

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  • We’re just soooo WACKY! | Austin Bike Blog October 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

    […] found this political advertisement through a posting at Bike Portland and was just […]

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