Since February, General Motors has recalled 2.6 million vehicles, and the carmaker is under investigation for its failure to issue a recall over faulty ignition switches that have been linked to at least 13 traffic deaths. Members of Congress are also asking why the company continued to use the switch in its cars even though it knew the faulty part didn’t meet the company’s own guidelines.
The Chevy Cobalt accounts for 1.6 million of the 2.6 million recalls. The faulty ignition switch in model years 2005 through 2010 is blamed for turning off the car’s engine when bumped by the driver’s knee. This issue may have led to the death of 12 people. On radio this morning, Glenn dug up audio of President Obama heralding the Cobalt back in 2009.
“You know, have we not turned into the former Soviet Union? Here's Government Motors for you. Look, before the Chevy Cobalt became known for having deadly ignition defect, it was already seen as a lemon. Owners complained about the power steering failures, locks inexplicably opening and closing, doors jamming shut in the rain, and even windows falling out,” Glenn explained. “And they're calling General Motors in front of Congress to demand answers. Could you just go in the time tunnel for me? Is there any recollection of this President touting General Motors?”
Speaking at a Lordstown, Ohio GM plant in September 2009, President Obama praised not just GM in general but the unbelievable popularity of the Cobalt specifically:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: One of the other efforts we undertook was the Cash for Clunkers program. Folks said that wouldn't work either. That program was good for automakers, it's good for consumers, and, by the way, it was good for our environment. And you know what? The Chevy Cobalt that you build here was one of GM's most sought-after cars under that program. Dealers across the country started running out. You need to build more!
“Literally nothing he said there was true,” Stu said. “Literally nothing. It was not a successful program.
“You don't remember the run on Cobalts,” Pat joked. “It was right after the Volt explosion.”
Michael Moore, meanwhile, is calling for GM executives to be put to death over the incident. In a post on his Facebook page, Moore explained he is against the death penalty – but not in this circumstance:
I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested and made to pay for their pre-meditated decision to take human lives for a lousy ten bucks… Only now, under the newly-configured GM -- owned, essentially, by you and me from 2009 through last year -- has the truth come out.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Moore also blames former President George W. Bush for the tragic deaths:
In 2007 a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official recommended a formal investigation but was overruled by others in Bush’s “business-friendly” Transportation Department.
With that logic, however, President Bush is actually as much to thank as he is to blame.
“By the way,” Stu concluded. “You might remember the person who gave [GM] to the people was actually George W. Bush when he did the first bailout.”