Cultural Revolutions

Jobs Recall

Secretary of Transportation (and former GOP congressman) Ray LaHood unleashed a storm of controversy when he told a House committee looking into sudden-acceleration accidents involving Toyotas that “if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it, take it to a Toyota dealer . . . ”  The reaction of the neocon establishment was predictable: John Miller at National Review Online, who had urged readers in 2006 to “Buy American, Buy Toyota,” suggested that the federal government, with its ownership stake in GM, wanted Toyota to “drop dead,” and Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner, also cited the stake of the government and the UAW in GM and Chrysler and argued that LaHood’s comments were a prime example of “crony capitalism.”  Many other neocons rallied around Toyota, depicting the Japanese titan as a helpless victim of a malevolent government and a hostile media, a sentiment that was quite welcome in Tokyo, according to a February 18 Wall Street Journal article, “Politicians Rally to Toyota’s Side.”

As with other notions peddled by neocons, the reality was somewhat different.  Toyota’s safety problems are quite real, as shown by the recall of 7.7 million vehicles to fix the accelerator pedals and floor mats Toyota blames for accidents involving sudden acceleration, the recall of 440,000 Priuses for brake issues, and the contemplated...

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