Think respected conservative intellectual George “Dungaree” Will’s biweekly phlegm-hocks for the Washington Post are bad, but maybe not quite Richard-Cohen-bad? Well they are, and so are his Newsweek columns! Maybe. His most recent one tackles Transportation Reform. Will chastises Republican Ray LaHood, the Transportation secretary, for “wanting” to “fix” America’s “infrastructure” problems, which is his “job.” Will truly despises anyone who walks or bikes or takes a train anywhere, and he wants them to die, DIE DIE DIE, in a ditch, in Portland.
The first paragraph offers some epic, saddening bitchcraft:
You might think the Department of Transportation would be a refuge from Washington’s inundation of painfully earnest and pitilessly incessant talk about “remaking” this (health care, Detroit) and “transforming” that (the energy sector, the planet’s temperature). Transportation, after all, is about concrete practicalities—planes, trains and automobiles, steel, asphalt and concrete.
“After all,” yes, what? He doesn’t appear to realize that “old things get replaced with new things,” the second most fundamental concept behind “time.”
One would expect Ray LaHood to deny the existence of “time” also, since he is from a small town where they eat macaroni and cheese and manufacture equipment.
Furthermore, the new transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, was until January a Republican congressman practicing militant middle-of-the-roadism. He knows what plays in Peoria, and not just figuratively: He is from there. Peoria is a meatloaf, macaroni-and-cheese, down-to-earth place, home of Caterpillar, the maker of earthmoving machines for building roads, runways, dams and things.
But Barack Obama has perverted Ray LaHood into believing that more people drove on Interstates after the government created Interstates and destroyed other transportation options.
LaHood, however, has been transformed. Indeed, about three bites into lunch, the T word lands with a thump: He says he has joined a “transformational” administration: “I think we can change people’s behavior.” Government “promoted driving” by building the Interstate Highway System—”you talk about changing behavior.” He says, “People are getting out of their cars, they are biking to work.” High-speed intercity rail, such as the proposed bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, is “the wave of the future.” And then, predictably, comes the P word: Look, he says, at Portland, Ore.
Riding the aforementioned wave to Portland, which liberals hope is a harbinger of America’s future, has long been their aerobic activity of choice. But LaHood is a Republican, for Pete’s sake, the party (before it lost its bearings) of “No, we can’t” and “Actually, we shouldn’t” and “Not so fast” and “Let’s think this through.” Now he is in full “Yes we can!” mode. Et tu, Ray?
Ray, they WALK in Portland! The role of the government is to STOP PEOPLE FROM WALKING! Every mile someone *walks* in the United States gives three freedom crystals to the terrorists!
Where to start? Does LaHood really think Americans were not avid drivers before a government highway program “promoted” driving? Does he think 0.01 percent of Americans will ever regularly bike to work? Intercity high-speed rail probably always will be the wave of the future, for cities more than 300 miles apart. And as for Portland …
Ha ha, he means for those first two questions to be rhetorical, but the answer to both is “yes.” Jesus. Read Yglesias for more. Jesus. Jesus.
Why Ray LaHood Is Wrong [Newsweek]