Unsafe At Any Speed
Does the Obama administration bear any responsibility in the recently announced recall of GM cars, after a series of fatalities? Let's flashback a few years:
On Monday morning, President Obama announced that the Treasury Department would back the warranties of new General Motors and Chrysler vehicles.
“If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always,” President Obama said during a speech from the White House. “Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.”
That's from a March 30, 2009 New York Times article titled "Understanding Obama’s Auto Warranty Plan," back when the Obama administration still had that new hopenchange smell, was starting from zero, and all things seemed possible -- and the craziest leftwing rhetoric and corporatist fantasies seemed believable. You can see the full passage quoted in the National Archives and Records Administration's Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States at Google Books, and in the above news clip, excerpted from a Silicon Graffiti video I shot back then.
Flash-forward today; Jim Geraghty links to a CBS-Connecticut article titled, "Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal Urges People to Stop Driving GM," in which Obama's fellow Democrat urges his state's voters to eschew the products of his president's bailout:
General Motors Co. said it is recalling 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working, making them harder to steer. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is among those calling for GM to make a stronger statement and tell owners to stop driving their cars immediately. Blumenthal believes GM made a decision to hide the defect of ignition switches. Blumenthal along with Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey is introducing legislation aimed at better auto safety reporting.
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In response to the panel, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement Sunday saying it had “reviewed data from a number of sources in 2007, but the data we had available at the time did not warrant a formal investigation.”
The cars were recalled by GM due to a flaw which causes ignition switches to move from the “run” to the “accessory” or “off” position, which causes the car to stall and disables the air bags and power steering. The recall includes the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky from the 2003-2011 model years.
Considering the risk from the switches, Blumenthal’s advice isn’t the most outlandish conclusion in the world. If an owner of one of the recalled cars wants to drive it at all, he should remove everything from the key chain and drive the car to the dealer, very carefully, over the smoothest roads possible, and get the car checked out.
The problem is that we’ve been told for five years that General Motors was a national institution that had to be saved at all costs, including billions of taxpayer dollars. Now Democratic lawmakers are really, really eager to drop the hammer on GM for hiding the danger these cars presented to the public. That may be (and increasingly appears to be) completely justified, except the same crowd told us five years ago that all of us had to chip in to save this company, so they could keep making these cars that Blumenthal wants everyone to stop driving.
Note that according to CBS-Connecticut, the recall covers cars built during the 2003 through 2011 model years. That would cover the 2009 period during which Mr. Obama promised the American people that "If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors...starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty." In much the same way that, as Mr. Obama was also saying back then, if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance. But then, Duffman says a lot of things.
I hope someone in the Obama administration will get out the handcuffs, the SWAT teams, or the U.S. army if need be, march into GM headquarters in downtown Detroit and haul away anyone who is there who had anything to do with this. And if they already left town, hunt them down and bring them in to face justice.
Given what Mr. Obama promised the American people in 2009 and his role as de facto CEO of Government Motors, did Michael Moore inadvertently threaten the president today?
Update: As I added in the comments, of course Obama wasn't aware of problems with GM cars during his watch as wannabe-CEO. But if you're going to pretend to be in charge when it's all upside (via the taxpayers' money), then he must accept the consequences when disaster strikes.
Mr. Obama is Commander in Chief of the left's War Against the American People, after all.
More: From Ace on "the media's complete lack of mention of Steve Rattner, Obama's 'car czar,'" and the MSM's "unexpected" reluctance to ask "any questions about President’s Auto Industry Task Force, just how thorough their review of GM was, and how they managed to miss so many consequential lurking safety issues."