The executive branch of our government makes several appointments when a president is elected or re-elected.
I would like to think that the selection of the heads of two departments that are important to the automobile industry don't have any political overtones.
There were times during the past 30-plus years when the selections were politically motivated, and it was never a good thing. It wasn't good for the consumer or the industry.
But today, as we rocket toward another presidential election, I can only hope that if someone new is selected to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it will continue to be someone with a simple agenda: to make our highways safer.
Unfortunately, I don't think that we can feel the same nonpartisan spirit over at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-although I get the feeling that the EPA's automotive sector is almost devoid of politics. The EPA seems to leave the politics for the larger arenas. Or perhaps the field of automotive emissions requires too much knowledge for the appointment to be political.
When you talk about trade, it gets to be all politics. Every administration for the past century has had a different idea about the way we trade with other nations.
And we are still without any sort of energy policy even though the first Arab oil embargo took place more than 30 years ago. We're still going along as if there hadn't been any change in the world or in where we get our oil or in how much we use. That's an outrage. All political candidates stay away from what would be some tough decisions.
We grieve for the soldiers who die in our wars. We should start grieving for the 40,000 people who die on American highways every year. That's not political.
Government regulation of the automobile industry brings enough problems. Let's fight like crazy to keep politics out of the mix.
Mr. Crain is chairman of Crain Communications Inc., parent company of Tire Business, and publisher and editor-in-chief of Automotive News, where this column first appeared.