Crisisblogger readers know that I have commented frequently on the inherent conflict of interest resulting from the Obama administration’s investment in GM and Chrysler. While clearly an unintended consequence, the result has been the perception of conflict in their role as regulator of the auto industry and participant in it. How can one competitor regulate another. I have been shocked and amazed that the US media, even the ant0-Obama conspiracy theorists in the media, have not picked up on this very serious problem.
But the conflict of interest is not escaping the Japanese and while Toyota has been apparently cautious in bringing this problem to light, Japanese papers are not. This article from Daily Dog reports that a conservative paper in Japan is raising the question whether or not the Obama administration is attacking Toyota to raise his approval ratings.
I don’t think I am being a conspiracy theorist to suggest there is a problem here. The truth is you can’t have a dog in the hunt and be seen as an objective arbiter of what is in the public interest. No one is that pure, objective and rationale. There is a very big dog in the hunt here for the administration in part because of the dependence on US union votes. Toyota’s problems are a god send to GM, if not an Obama send. When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood got way in front of the data by suggesting that Americans stop driving their Toyotas that over the top pronouncement really began looking like a politically motivated piling on.
From a crisis management standpoint, when you have the black hat on as Toyota clearly does, one of the most important strategies is to place it on someone else. In this case, the Obama administration by their investment in Detroit has given the beleaguered automaker an excellent target. And the best way possible is not for them to do it, but for those who stand behind them to do the finger pointing. It appears to be happening.