To the editor: I'm old enough to vividly remember relishing General Motors President James M. Roche's sanctimonious mea culpa in 1966 after the revelation of his company's harassment of the then-unknown Ralph Nader. But no one then could have imagined the long-term results of that wooden-headed action. ("GM ignition switch scandal unlikely to spur safety reforms," Op-Ed, July 28)
Nader's book, "Unsafe at Any Speed," in which he condemned the Corvair, became a bestseller. Nader became a celebrity icon, which in turn led him to run for president in 2000, siphoning off enough Florida votes to put George W. Bush in the White House.
If President Bush ever had a friend in high places, it was Roche, little though he knew it in 1966. Roche and his Corvair turned Nader into a liability for the very liberals who admired him. The result has been two lost wars, a gutted economy and a wellspring of Middle East hatred for the U.S.
Unsafe at any speed indeed.
Spencer Grant, Laguna NiguelCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times