A federal Cabinet department with 55,000 employees, a budget of more than $72 billion and responsibility for the nation’s road, rail and air travel will be taken over by a political hack whose only credential is his skin color, The New York Times reported Monday.
Well, that wasn’t exactly the way the liberal newspaper put it.
Instead, The Times story described President Obama’s Department of Transportation secretary pick as a “rising young African-American from the South to balance out a cabinet criticized for its lack of diversity.”
That description is in the story’s first paragraph, which gives you some idea of how important the pigment of Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx’s skin is to one of the country’s biggest newspapers. His qualifications for the job – which include overseeing the same Federal Aviation Administration that bungled its response to budget cuts so badly last week – are considerably lower in the story.
And considerably less impressive.
“While Mr. Foxx does not have a transportation background, he did work as mayor to extend a light-rail line, open another runway at the airport, complete a major highway widening, improve a major bridge, and bring streetcars back to Charlotte,” the story said.
Considering Foxx has been mayor of Charlotte for four years and major airport and highway construction projects proceed at a glacial pace, it’s a pretty good bet the lion’s share of administrative work on those projects were completed before he took office.
And how a “major bridge” improvement project and Charlotte’s apparent streetcar renaissance translate into an ability to run the country’s transportation system is a little murky.
So what besides skin color does Foxx have going for him? His city hosted the Democratic National Convention last year.
Not only can he show up for grip-and-grin ribbon-cuttings, he can throw a mean party for the Democratic faithful.
The Times story said the president’s Cabinet choices have been so overwhelmingly white and male that they were the butt of a Conan O’Brien joke at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.
News stories about Cabinet appointments that stress the irrelevant (“young African-American from the South”) over expertise (no transportation background) make a joke of journalism.
After Bush’s deservedly ill-fated choice of Harriet Myers for Supreme Court in 2005, the liberal press – including The Times — went crazy over her lack of qualifications.
At least she had a “legal background.”
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