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In New Jersey, Tesla Crashes Into The Hypocrisy of Chris Christie

Mar 11 2014, 6:51pm CDT | by , in News | Technology News

In New Jersey, Tesla Crashes Into The Hypocrisy of Chris Christie
 
 

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In New Jersey, Tesla Crashes Into The Hypocrisy of Chris Christie

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s often blunt governor, likes to talk big. He’s a new kind of Republican, he’d like you to believe, but the kind who gets things done. You know, like closing lanes on the way to the George Washington Bridge to punish a political rival… Oh, and, yes, the guy certainly has gotten something else done today. In backing, his state’s Motor Vehicle Commission, Christie has put an end to Tesla’s direct sales of vehicles in the Garden State. In and of itself, though, that’s small potatoes for the man with the big appetite. Christie’s far bigger achievement for the day is that he’s created the perfect object lesson in how to define the word hypocrite.

On March 6, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Christie had this to say: “We need to talk about the fact that we are for a free-market society that allows your effort and ingenuity to determine your success, not the cold, hard hand of the government,” as reported by Bloomberg.

Enter Tesla, yes? The ingenuity to develop the world’s first long-range, all-electric vehicle. The effort to see it through a terrible financial crisis, doubts about the company’s finances and technology — GM didn’t believe such a car was even possible until it saw the company’s Roadster appear for the first time, as longtime auto-exec and erstwhile Forbes contributor Bob Lutz recalled, and the sheer force of will of company CEO Elon Musk have all made for the first successful startup auto maker in the U.S. in a century.

That’s what America is all about. Just not New Jersey.

The state’s new rules protect its auto dealers from having to compete with Tesla’s direct sales model. They require all cars to be sold with the “help” of a middleman. Similar laws in Texas and Virginia have made Tesla’s life difficult in those states. But they are just the beginning. Bills are moving in Ohio and New York to do the same.

Christie, for his part, had given Tesla some indications that he was at least going to get the rules a fair hearing in the state legislature. But the “free enterprise” governor couldn’t wait for that process. Instead, he brought the very cold hand of government — the one he days ago shouldn’t determine success — down on top of Tesla.

It’s one thing for politicians to change their minds over the period of years or as facts change. Moving from believing the market should pick winners to the idea the state should interfere with it in the span of one week is another level of malleability altogether. Somehow, Tesla will find a way to survive this. The idea that Chris Christie is either a new kind of politician or actually believes in free enterprise should be dead and buried.

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Find the rest of my Forbes posts here.

Source: Forbes

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

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