Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came out of two months of hiding on maternity leave — if that’s the correct term for two dads taking time off to raise adopted children — to defend his inept and dismissive dealings with the supply chain problem and to help prod along President Biden’s boondoggle of an infrastructure plan called “Build Back Better.”
After just a few days it’s become glaringly apparent: America had it better when he wasn’t out and about — speaking.
For the good of the country, maybe it’d just be better if he made like Vice President Kamala Harris and disappeared.
“I’m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for purpose of dividing a White and Black neighborhood, or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach, or that would’ve been, in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices,” America’s Transportation secretary said in a recent White House briefing.
That explains a lot.
Calling out roads as racist may be a great soundbite on ye olde Democratic campaign trail. But holding office as the highest transportation official in the land carries a different set of expectations — one that requires action rather than simple rhetoric. This is where Buttigieg fails. He can talk a good talk. He can string together some good sentences that sound pleasing to Democrats’ ears. He can speak the same smoothy type of Barack Obama lingo that earned that previous president the Biden stamp of approval for articulation.
But when it comes to actually doing something transportation-ey that brings solid benefits to America, it’s thud city. Or dud city. Either way — Buttigieg really sucks at public service.
“Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg understands the assignment of addressing the U.S.’s history of racial inequity through infrastructure,” Fortune wrote in a headline. The piece went on to opine how Buttigieg “connected the dots between the recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a higher calling for his work at the agency.”
So America’s got a transportation chief who is quick on the race card draw but slow to, oh, let’s see now, campaign against COVID-tied mandates that are slowing suppliers at all stages of the chain from moving products to store shelves for consumers to buy.
Trucks are misogynist, you see.
Ships are all kinds of socially unjust.
And don’t even get started on those freaking discriminatory ports. Port is a type of wine made in Portugal. Obviously, the sly labeling of lowly waterfront loading areas as “ports” was an intentional dig against the Portuguese. Word is Buttigieg is working on a new Department of Transportation manual that removes the use of the “p-word” altogether and replaces it with the phrase, “place of transference of materialistic goods and humanistic forms of all genders.”
That ought to keep him busy for a while. That and closing pipelines and helping Biden communication folks craft lines to feed to the press denying that they’re even considering closing pipelines — that ought to keep him real busy for a while.
As for Americans awaiting their Thanksgiving turkey deals or their affordable fuel costs for their cars or their previously placed furniture orders or their Black Friday discounts for holiday shopping?
Don’t worry. Biden’s got this.
“If we were all going out and having lunch together,” Biden said, a few days ago, while explaining the supply chain problems facing America, “and I said, ‘Let’s ask whoever’s in the next table, no matter what restaurant we’re in, have them explain the supply chain to us.’ Do you think they’d understand what we’re talking about?”
Translation: Americans are too stupid to understand all this important government stuff. So just sit down, sit back and let the administration do its business.
Hmm. Maybe Buttigieg is not the only one who should go back home.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.