Toyota and Balloon Boy

March/01/2010 16:12PM
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I have watched the replay of Ms. Rhonda Smith’s testimony before the congressional committee investigating Toyota several times. I want to give Ms. Smith the benefit of the doubt, but I just can’t. Her testimony reminds me of the day I watched in horror as Shepherd Smith told us there was a boy in that balloon. Then, we found no boy, but everyone was sure the boy had fallen out of the balloon. Then, we learned the family had been on reality TV shows. Then, we saw the kid vomit on TV. Then, they finally forced them to admit it was all a ruse.

If you haven’t watched Ms. Smith’s testimony, you can see it here:

This is where my issues begin. You can put your car in neutral at any speed. It seems unlikely that the transmission would be related to an acceleration problem. If you travel 6 miles at speeds at or over 100 mph, you do that in about 4 minutes. In that 4 minutes Ms. Smith put her car in several gears, or tried to do so, put on her emergency brake, stomped on her brakes, and still had time to make a blue-tooth phone call to her husband while traveling at that rate of speed. To hear his voice one last time.  So, if all of this is true, Ms. Smith’s car experienced accelerator problems, brake problems, and transmission problems all at the same time. 

She is still so distraught she cries when recalling the events. Yet, she had no compunctions about selling the car to someone else. Someone, who, without any changes, has put 30,000 miles on the car with no issues. 

Remember when Joe the Plumber embarrassed Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio? Within hours the media had used every means, including illegal ones, to discredit poor Joe.  Maybe, just maybe, someone should look into Ms. Smith.  She was testifying under oath, Joe the Plumber, wasn’t .  Creating a fictional story, or embellishing one, to do damage to a company bothers me a lot more than discrediting Barack Obama. Too bad we didn’t have more Joe’s during the campaign. We would know for sure what we got. 

Maybe you want to buy into Ms. Smith’s story hook, line and sinker. Maybe you believe Balloon Boy was really in the balloon.

Here’s my theory. Ms. Smith is like the balloon boy family , she wants to be a celebrity. And, she’s thinking there is a pot of gold here for her from Toyota.  Maybe here car did accelerate. Maybe it was mechanical error, or maybe it was pilot error. But, the events did not unfold as Ms. Smith told them.She did not try to put the car in neutral. She did not apply all brakes. And, if she did call her husband it was not at 100 mph while trying to do all the things she said she did. Embellishing under oath is lying under oath, and if she did that she needs to pay the price. 

When our government is in the car business competing with another car company and the government drags a witness like Ms. Smith in to testify on Nationwide TV, that government has the obligation to vet that witness. 

The  final chapter of Ms. Smith, like that of the balloon boy case is not yet written. Someone, not the mainstream media, but maybe the National Inquirer, the paper that had to disclose John Edwards sleaze, will dig it out. 

Stay tuned.

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