Free Market Republicans?

Published June 7, 2013

By Brad Crone

by Brad Crone

Where are the free-market Republicans when you need them?

You would think with Republicans firmly in control of the General Assembly, that the free-market advocates would be falling all over themselves to embrace Tesla Motors and their effort to sell some really cool cars in our state.

But the Senate leadership doesn’t like the idea of free-markets and economic competition if it means the automobile dealers may be threatened.

The Senate has basically passed legislation that will prohibit any North Carolinian from purchasing zero-emission electric cars from Tesla Motor Company by limiting how such vehicles could be sold through the Internet.

Senate Bill 327 takes away the rights any North Carolinian to purchase a car by shopping on the Internet. What’s so interesting to me is the fact that you haven’t heard a peep about choice, competition and free-markets from those who would usually be poster-boys for such things at the John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute.

The legislation is pure economic protection for the state’s new car dealers.  They don’t want the competition. They don’t want consumers to have the choice and they don’t like the idea of a changing new car sales environment that threatens how they have done business for decades.

So the new car dealers are using their political clout to shut down Tesla Motors from being able to market their highly popular and highly rated cars in our state.  Just last week Consumer Reports gave Tesla’s new luxury electric sedan a 99 score on their test drive.

It’s rather elementary -- politics should not dictate how you purchase a car.

For the past five years, Tesla has been selling their innovative, all-electric technology cars to consumers via the Internet.  Tesla turned to internet sales because traditional dealers, selling gas cars, don’t want deal with a product that has such a small percentage of today’s market.

So Tesla is going about an education process as well as trying to market their cars.  Tesla Motors is demonstrating that electric cars can meet performance expectations, can provide appealing designs and meet consumer’s long-term reliance needs.

You would think the Republicans in the General Assembly would be all over this.  You would think the Republicans would want to stop economic restrictions and would embrace choice, competition and a free-market in today’s innovative market-place.

But all indications point to a dead-battery for Tesla’s future in our state.

It’s sad the Republican leadership in the General Assembly prefers to tell North Carolina consumers they can’t buy a really cool car via the Internet.  It’s sad the Republicans in the Legislature are telling North Carolina consumers, “we know what’s best for you and you will do what we tell you to do.”

This is another case of the Republicans wanting to rule – rather than govern.

Senate Bill 327 is a big mistake.

Brad Crone is president of Campaign Connections, a Raleigh-based, Democrat political consulting and public relations firm.  He is a former daily and weekly newspaper publisher. He is a regular panelist on NC SPIN.

June 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm
Richard Bunce says:

Brad, these are Country Club Republicans... there are very few free market limited government Republicans... just opportunistic posers.

June 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm
dj anderson says:

How wise is it for Democrats to be siding against local merchants? There is no other way to judge the Democratic position from this blog. Imagine Tesla going the way of Fisker electric cars? Then Democrats would be screaming why there was no consumer protection on the internet purchased Teslas!

You see, I think either way the Republicans go, the Democrats are going to criticize the Republicans. That's the blueprint -- be negative.

I'm a Democrat but I'm not caring for the approach being used in NC. Barber is the most vocal, most visible Democratic Party leader with his Moral Mondays. At some point Democrats are going to have to have alternatives and more, some shaping of Republican initiatives.

Beating the Republicans over the head with their own bat is OK, but be sure not to encourage them to do something we don't support. Democrats are also yelling about Republican increasing the regressive sales tax, when it was the Democrats who gave NC the sales tax in 1935 at 3%, and raised it in 1971 by a percent, and Democrats who allowed municipalities to about double that today. Oh, Republicans were all too ready to go along, but it was the Democrats who could have, should have blocked the regressive sales tax and didn't. The hypocrisy of the supposedly moral high ground Democrats is a large part of why we ran ourselves out of total power in NC after a century of less than stellar rule.

Now, here we have the pot calling the kettle...

June 1, 2016 at 3:48 pm
Dave Burton says:

FYI, this bad bipartisan bill died in the NC House. (Thank you, Thom Tillis!)