Did the Obama administration purposefully hide problems with GM cars? Were they panicked that a massive recall of GM products would undermine one of President Obama’s most self-congratulatory campaign themes – that he “saved” Detroit’s auto industry?
This is a tale of two car companies: GM, shining star in President Obama’s reelection galaxy, and Toyota, which became political fodder.
In March 2010, Congress held showy hearings on the Toyota safety issues. In his opening statement, Senator Rockefeller from West Virginia boasted, “We have dedicated an entire day – we’ve never done that before that I can remember – to one subject…” – reviewing the Toyota affair. Senator Mark Pryor used his opening statement to reassure listeners that “this is not a witch hunt.” All this – even though it was still not clear that Toyota’s vehicles were defective.
Meanwhile, back in Detroit, evidence of problems in various GM cars – and especially the Chevy Cobalts — continued to mount. To date, the auto maker has reported 13 deaths related to sudden deceleration in various GM models. While the government is now questioning why the Detroit firm delayed initiating a recall of the troubled vehicles, one can also challenge NHTSA’s hands-off attitude. …
Why would the Obama administration sanction such a tough crackdown on Toyota, while leaving GM in peace?