Commenting last Friday on Facebook about Fisker’s expected bankruptcy, Sarah Palin lumped in other projects that have been smiled upon by the Obama administration, and called the Chevy Volt and Tesla “losers.”
On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk answered via Twitter that he was “deeply wounded.”
The exchange via social media outlets has been seen by thousands of eyeballs, and as of 12:30 a.m. ET, March 10, Palin’s long post had 33,383 “likes” and 2,984 comments.
Update: at 1 a.m., two comments had been removed and the tally was 33,386 likes, and 2,982 comments.
In saying what she did, Palin echoed Mitt Romney’s epithet of choice used last year while campaigning, as the following excerpt of Palin’s words reveals:
“This losing tax-subsidized venture joins other past losers like the Obama-subsidized Volt that gets 40 miles per battery charge, or like the Obama-subsidized Tesla that turns into a “brick” when the battery completely discharges and then costs $40,000 to repair,” wrote Palin. “This is really just the latest manifestation of the administration’s crony capitalism as their green energy buddies benefit from this atrocious waste of taxpayer money.”
Following is the post in its entirety:
In response, Musk linked an article in his tweet that said simply:
“Sarah Palin calls Tesla a loser. Am deeply wounded. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/sarah-palin-echoes-romney-tesla-motors-losers-who-build-bricks/ … Btw, Model S warranty does cover ‘bricking.’”
Musk’s brief reply that did not counter-attack or accuse, though he might have, has netted him 493 retweets so far.
It’s also true that while Tesla did accept $465 million as a low-interest federal loan, plans are to pay the government back within five years.
The Tesla Roadster and Model S have been awarded by several top publications and other organizations.
Despite costing upwards of $70,000 to well over that, the Model S was the top-selling plug-in vehicle last quarter with 4,750 units sold, and the second-place sales finisher in January, February, and March against cars costing half as much.
Its sales results let the company become profitable last quarter as it beat expectations.
Whether Tesla was the best choice to call a loser and proof against “crony capitalism” is in question.
Perhaps Musk thought the facts speak for themselves; or perhaps he thought the more graceful answer was the one he gave.
At other times, he has entered into an escalating war of words, such as with the New York Times’ John Broder when he gave a negative review Musk said was a “fake.”
We won’t speculate as to why the spirit of the response seemed different this time but will just note that it did.