Toyota's Top Dog to Testify

So now he's coming: Toyota's top dog in Japan will testify to Congress next week.

Akio Toyoda balked at first, but someone in PR there must have talked to him since. Or maybe it was any one of a myriad of other CEOs here, who’ve been dragged through these congressional kangaroo courts and probably told the Toyota boss, "Look, Akio, you’re a big piñata if you go – but you’re an even bigger piñata if you don’t go. Either way, you’re going to get whacked."

And don’t bank CEOs know it and oil CEOs know it and health care insurance CEOs know it — and for good measure – past or present athletes suspected of taking steroids know it.

They've all taken turns in what has become the familiar Washington ritual of lining 'em up and tearing 'em down. And in Akio’s case, he’s made it so darn easy.

All those cars, all those problems; what chest-thumping politician wouldn’t want to pounce on all those secrets? There have got to be secrets, right? Lots of them.

That's what happens when you're called to testify before Congress. Only thing is, you don't testify. The folks questioning you do. They spout, you stew. They rant, you just roll.

But wouldn't it be nice to see someone go after not just the witnesses at the table, but the folks asking the questions — all those finger-pointing congressmen?

Forget about auto executives in Japan, where were our safety folks here? How is it that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration missed all the evidence on all these cars hemorrhaging all these problems? How is it that such concerns, when they were raised, were ignored by the Transportation Department and almost entirely by the congressional committees overseeing that department?

This reminds me of the time a furious Barney Frank was berating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for incompetence on the floor of the House, conveniently leaving out the little detail that he'd blithely sung their financial praises little more than a year before in the very same House.

These guys are as disingenuous as I am calorically challenged.

So while they're pointing fingers, forgive me, if while watching, I’m pointing a particular finger back.

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