Well, well, look who's haunting Toyota these days - if it isn't David Strickland, Administrator of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Strickland is well-known to the cognoscenti of the CPSIA as the lead staffer in the Senate for our favorite law and as one of its principal authors/shepherds. Having wreaked sufficient havoc with the CPSIA sufficiently to impress the big boss, he was rewarded by Obama with the top job at NHTSA where he can now work his magic to reduce Toyota and the auto industry to a steaming hulk of debris in short order. And that's not all - Mr. Waxman bared his claws on Toyota, too, asking who knew what when, holding hearings, providing more and more fodder for the media.
How did Toyota get in this mess? Well, they had a big recall, and the newspapers, TV commentators and panicked members of Congress worked in concert to create a frenzy. Wow, that sounds somehow . . . familiar. Isn't this an election year, too, just like 2008? In other words, a really good time to identify a bad guy, whip up a crisis and then solve it? You know, to protect the populace just before polls open, having worked the people up into a lather. The time-honored, sure-fire formula for reelection. . . . . The CPSIA formula being rolled out again also includes calls for massive corporate penalties, spiraling litigation, increased regulation and more government involvement in oversight of the industry (because everything is better with more government). Sounds GREAT!
And who better to operate this paranoia machinery than Mr. David Strickland in partnership with Henry Waxman? With Strickland's credentials, it's only a matter of time before Toyota is so pilloried and shamed that it will become a shadow of its former self.
I have been warned to stay away from the Toyota story. I have been told, "everybody hates Toyota in Washington", no sympathy is possible. Nonetheless, I resent the effort to destroy a great company because the opportunity to create a crisis presented itself for some Democrats in need of headlines. The parallel to the CPSIA saga is just too compelling. Let me ask you Toyota owners - is this feeding frenzy what you want? Have you grown tired of the good service at the Lexus dealership, the strong record of reliability of your Camry, the innovation of your prized Prius? Wasn't it just months ago that you drove your Prius as some sort of Green badge of honor? Have you lost confidence in Toyota based on your personal experience . . . or because of the relentless barrage of bad publicity on TV and in the papers?
It's a great tradition in Congress these days - bring the mighty down low, and be sure to erode all confidence in business enterprises. It's a hallmark of leading Democrat today. With Strickland in charge at NHTSA, you can be sure that the damage to Toyota will be severe.