I'll set aside for a moment the "wrong" guy won yesterday. :-)
Whenever cabinet positions open up and elected officials are suggested for the role, I look at what would happen to their seat. For instance I doubt Obama would pick someone who would be replaced by a Republican. In this case I'm certain Blumenauer would be replaced with another Democrat. So he is a viable pick from Obama's standpoint.
Would he make a good Secretary of Transportation? Other than being the guy who rides his bike to the White House I know nothing about him. I tend to believe issues such as bicycle friendly roads are best handled at the local level and not the federal level. In fact living in a bicycle friendly city, Austin, I'm almost afraid the feds will screw something up. Perhaps add to the regulatory abyss making it harder and more expensive for Austin to be bicycle friendly.
Having said that, if we're going to have any Democrat in that position I would want it to be him. I'll try to be optimistic what Washington will make things better for cyclists instead of worse.
I'm sorry for the typos in my last comment. I do not know what is wrong with me today. I have made little sense online.
I meant to type "I'll try to be optimistic that Washington will make things better for cyclists instead of worse."
@jamie fellrath - Blumenauer being a rail advocate further boosts him in my book. But in the back of my mind I still worry even folks with the best intentions in Washington get caught in the bureaucratic morass that defines that town.
"just a cyclist". I doubt he's sort of a real life version of the 40 year old virgin who just never learned how to drive. If he rides his bike to congress, it's reasonable to believe that he thinks that doing so is the "right thing to do" much like many of the readers here do. And many of us spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about transportation issues despite having real jobs. For Blumenauer, transportation issues are part of his real job.
It's reasonable to assume that he has some chops in this arena. I also think it's reasonable to assume that if he does not, Obama won't hire him. Obama's record for hiring the right person for the job speaks for itself given the results yesterday - it's very hard to deny he hired better campaign managers and a better vice-presidential nominee, given that those people's primary job is to win him the election.
I will be very pissed at Obama if his hires smack of patronage instead of merit - but his words have convinced me he won't.
I tend to agree that bicycle advocacy should be a grassroots endeavor. There is, however, an advantage to having someone who is sympathetic to the cause as the Secretary of Transportation--more dollars could be available for the grassroots organizations.
What an interesting choice Blumenauer would make as Transportation Secretary. I suspect he would really, really shake up things up at DOT.
As a resident of the Portland area, I can testify that Blumenauer is not into building roads. He believes our money can be much more effectively spent on alternative modes of transportation (rail, bike, walking, etc). For Earl, sprawl is bad and smart growth is good.
If we want to reduce our dependency on oil, then Blumenauer is definitely the right guy for Transportation