LaHood at Transportation: Are we being played from Peoria?

President-elect Barack Obama seems to have picked Rep. Ray LaHood as his secretary of transportation.

I'm not sure what to make of this choice, beyond my initial reaction: "Really? Was there no one better?" (Did no one tell the president-elect about Mike Krusee?) And what happened to folks like Earl Blumenauer, of Oregon, and James Oberstar, of Minnesota?

Here in Illinois, LaHood has a reputation for being pleasantly bipartisan in looking out for the state's interests and was on the House Transportation Committee, but he's not known for big accomplishments. He's retiring after representing Peoria and a large chunk of central Illinois since the mid-1990s, and he's friends with Obama's incoming chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel. Is knowledge of the political process, combined with whatever direction he gets from the president, enough?

Jeff Wood has a nice roundup of LaHood's votes and positions over at The Overhead Wire. Josh Marshall, proprietor of Talking Points Memo, thinks "there's probably more significance to the pick that [sic] has recently been the case."

Maybe so, but I can't get rid of the disappointment that comes with a this pick, especially when a Nobel Prize-winning scientist got the call to be secretary of energy. Is this transportation change we can believe in? I sure hope so.


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