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Politico: Blumenauer, Oberstar on short-list for Transportation Secretary

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 31st, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Cycle Oregon Day 4-Ride-15.JPG
Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN)
(Photo J. Maus)

Politico published a story today about who might get cabinet-level appointments in a Barack Obama presidency (if he's elected on Tuesday night of course).

Politico reporter Ben Smith and ABC's Jonathan Karl (who used "well-positioned Democrats" as sources) have put two familiar names in the running for Obama's Transportation Secretary -- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN).

Back in May we wondered out loud whether Blumenauer (who campaigned for Obama) might get the nod, but this is the first time I've heard Oberstar's name come up.

Stein and Karl say the names are "being widely discussed in Democratic circles."

Read more at Politico.com.

UPDATE: For more on Oberstar, read my story from Pro Walk/Pro Bike in September: Oberstar looks to history, future, during conference keynote

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  • John Reinhold October 31, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Blumenauer would be a shame in some ways. He would give up a lot of hard earned seniority and committee seats, and would be replaced with a Junior representative.

    But I have met Blumenauer a couple times, and he has presented a few times at some transportation events I have attended - I think he would make a fine Transportation secretary.

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  • Brad October 31, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Either way, we get a "bike guy" at the helm of the USDOT and that is a game changer for bikes.

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  • Paul Cone October 31, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Following the Politico article... I would also say Kitzhaber could possibly get Secretary of Health and Human Services, since Daschle will likely be White House Chief of Staff and they probably won't pull Howard Dean off the DNC chair, since his 50 state strategy appears to be working. Go Team Oregon.

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  • eileen November 1, 2008 at 8:19 am

    I don't want to be superstitious, but this feels a little like picking a prom dress before you have a date. Everyone needs to knock on wood just for reading this article. Quick.

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  • Jeff TB November 1, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Right that, eileen. And turn in your freaking ballots!

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  • A-Dub November 1, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I knocked on wood (good call, Eileen). I agree that Blumenauer would make a GREAT transportation secretary. That said, if we can still have a "bike guy" or "transit guy" in the post other than Blumenauer, I'd rater Oregon not lose him for the long run. At best he's transportation secretary for 8 years. At best. He could be in the House of Reps for 20 more years.

    P.S. My ballot is in!

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  • will November 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Blumenauer in then Novick as his replacement.
    Win-Win

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  • ambrown November 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Will, that was exactly my thought. Especially when you consider how much of Novick's primary vote came from Multnomah county anyway.

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  • ordinary average joe November 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I dont think we have seen the last of mr novick. thankfully. a new administration will provide the opportunity for a lot of marginalized and out of power guys.

    Its not just bikes. Getting our country off the oil tit, and rebuilding the infastructure to insure that transit is a right, not a dream.

    building the 20 minute communities. its not gonna be cheap,but it will provide a huge economic incentive, and will do more for the long term economic survival of our country.

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  • Patrick November 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Blumenauer would be great on rail issues, complete streets, bicycling infrastructure. We're going to need someone like him to ensure that the infrastructure improvements that Brooks, the Chamber of Commerce, T4A, and others have been pushing are done correctly (fixing highway infrastructure rather than expanding it, building new transit & bike infrastructure).

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  • Joe Rowe November 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Barf. The law states that when a president lies and breaks the law he should be impeached. It does not state Earl should not impeach because it is not yet strategic. Earl cut a deal with the blood of civilians in the middle East. This is not a good strategy we should ever wish to repeat. Open your minds folks, this is sick politics!

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  • david4130 November 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Obama McCain there both the same, CFR globalists, corporate puppets, they offer no change.

    The difference between Bush and Obama: Obama is half black, more Communist, can speak in complete sentences.

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  • mmann November 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I would be happy with Blumenauer or Oberstar in that position. Along with the Kitzhaber at Health & Human Services, I also noticed the nod towards Schwarzenegger as Energy secretary. the more I think about it, the more I like it. Meaningful national fuel efficiency standards modeled on what California tried to do before Bush sicked the big dogs on them - take that, GM!

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  • Barbara Ellis November 2, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is currently chair of the House committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Blumenauer quit that committee in 2007. I'd say that Oberstar, having put in years on that committee is perhaps the most knowledgeable chap in Congress on transportation. As for infrastructure, that major bridge collapse was in Minneapolis. Oberstar is a heavyweight in both T&I and should get the nod.
    He also takes his oath of office to support and defend the Constitution seriously. Blumenauer is woefully deficient in all 3 areas, and in cycling, Oberstar even outranks him.

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  • Streetsblog » Today’s Headlines November 3, 2008 at 8:23 am

    [...] Oberstar, Blumenauer Frontrunners for Transportation Secretary in Obama Admin (Bike Portland) [...]

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  • The Day Before « the transport politic November 3, 2008 at 9:00 am

    [...] and Earl Blumenauer, two of Congress’ best and most progressive transportation experts, are on the short list to be Obama’s Transportation Secretary. I hate to repeat the obvious, but a President McCain [...]

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  • Sharon E. Streeter November 3, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Better to send Earl to Iraq where he can rebuild the roads and bridges he has helped to destroy. Sitting in one of the best districts to support impeachment efforts, Earl has bought the Pelosi koolaid, probably to improve his chances at a cabinet position. He didn't get my vote for District #3, and he won't get my vote for a D.C. post.

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  • [...] Quarterly, which also names Garvey as a potential Obama pick. A Politico piece picked up by Bike Portland says Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Jim Oberstar have been short-listed by Obama. And though we'd hate [...]

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  • [...] the level of local attention on this Politico story positing Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) as a potential Secretary of [...]

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  • Joe Anybody November 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I wouldn't trust Earl with any serous decisions or responsibilities. The reason is the spin-around that he delivers in dealing with serious issues.

    He said he was against the war in Iraq (yet he continued to fund it) (?)
    Earl says "He did all he could to stop Bush." (yet he didn't even want them to be investigated, nor even have a hearing into the crimes he allowed on his watch)(?)

    So Earl's words are hallow to me!
    My cousin who committed suicide in Baghdad was crying out for help. The congress was our hope for that help. We also wanted accountability about why this war was continuing ... what do we get...? from Earl ..."we got a circus"

    Well howdy do ! Yippee a bow tie riding bike enthusiast circus. What about my cousin? What about the liars and crooks Bush and company? WMD's... That all must mean nothing when its not discussed here, or in Earls office... (?)

    Ride on ...who cares right!?

    Just my opinion, but I don't trust him!
    Boy I sure hope he makes some cool bike paths!!

    I forgot why my cousin even shot himself for by now....

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  • [...] Quarterly, which also names Garvey as a potential Obama pick. A Politico piece picked up by Bike Portland says Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Jim Oberstar have been short-listed by Obama. And though we'd hate [...]

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  • sara graham November 4, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Blumenauer's hypocrisy about the war in Iraq and his refusal to listen to his constituency about impeachment disqualifies him for any appointment that requires integrity and political courage, although an appointment to Secretary of Transportation would at least get him out of Congress where his lack of those virtues may well cause him to do even more harm.

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  • Court Jester November 4, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Blumenauer's deceit is part of a more general DP attempt to support Republican hegemoney while maintaining "anti-war" credibility.

    Earl and most of Pelosico are security risks for America because of their their open-ended support for U.S.-Israel crimes, which inflames the Arab/Muslim world, and which therefore makes future attacks on us far more likely. Their enthusiasm for neoliberal economics, including trade deals that are opposed by most liberal activists, further endanger our country as well as the rest of the world.

    Blumenauer has failed to support Kucinich in his attempt to convince Pelosi to prevent "emergency" spending bills from coming out of committee. He has further failed to call for his buddy Wyden and the rest of the DP senators to filibuster those spending bills. And, possibly most egregious of all, he has actively blocked the third way to effectively end the occupations: impeachment of the war criminals who rule our country. Insread, he is an apologist for those who commit crimes against humanity.

    There's more.

    Earl supported the Israeli destruction in Lebanon not only in his votes of support for Israeli crimes, but in his failure to support a cease-fire after a vicious attack that Seymour Hersh and others reported had been in the planning for more than a year prior (I've got references for this). PIPA has found that "No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side."

    Earl has never apologized for his vote in favor of H.J. Res. 64, "Authorization for Use of Military Force", which gave Bush authority to single-handedly conduct war against unspecified nations, organizations, or persons for an unspecified duration in '01. He claims that he voted only for an attack on Afghanistan - bad enough, since the Afghan people were not responsible for any attack on us - but Barbara Lee spoke for me when she clearly announced that H.J. Res. 64 was a prescription for cencentrated dictatorial power. So Earl's "opposition" to the authorization in '03 was too late to prevent Bush from doing what he already was authorized to do by Earl.

    Earl refused to support the McGovern Amendment, part of the Declaration of Peace, which would have cut off Iraq funding. (He issued the equivalent of a Bush "signing statement", claiming to be for peace, but only if no effective way of enforcing it were enacted.)

    He weaseled out of supporting progressive legislation on the occupation last year (H.R. 508, which required the withdrawal from Iraq of "all U.S. Armed Forces and contractor security forces within six months"), instead presenting his own H.R. 663 ("New Direction for Iraq Act"), a masterfully constructed bit of fluff.

    In a debate I had online with a Blumenauer operative, "Bobby" claimed, "'The only times [Blumenauer] supported any funding was for fully funded withdrawls, that is, when there were hard and fast end dates attached.'" I answered, "There were no "hard and fast end dates attached." Go back and read the wording of the non-binding resolutions and weasel-worded supplementals that Earl supported, e.g.:

    Earl voted YES on 3/23/07 on Vote 186: H R 1591:Prohibited the use of funds to deploy any troops to Iraq unless the military had "certified" to congressional appropriators in advance that the military unit is fully mission-capable. The measure authorized the president to waive the prohibition and deployment limits on a unit-by-unit basis for reasons of national security.

    Earl voted YES on 4/25/07 on Vote 265: H R 1591: $124.2 billion. Bush had to "certify" that the Iraqi government was meeting certain diplomatic and security benchmarks. If that certification were made, deployment would begin no later than Oct. 1, 2007, with a goal of completing the redeployment by within 180 days. Some U.S. forces could remain in Iraq for special counterterrorism efforts along with protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops. In other words, all "benchmarks" approved by Earl gave Bush the choice to say whether or not they've been met, and then to say that "special" troops could remain.

    Earl voted YES on 11/14/07 on Vote 1108: H R 4156: Set a goal for Bush to begin "redeploying" (another weasel word) U.S. troops." When did Earl ever vote for significant cuts in our obscenely bloated Pentagon budget? (Or any cuts at all?) Earl is not a member of the Progressive Caucus, so even he doesn't believe that he is a progressive.

    Vote for Meo.

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  • Eileen November 4, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    You are now free to discuss...

    Woo hoo!!!!

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  • Eileen November 4, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    You guys are way too harsh on blumenauer. I don't think it is affair to assume his motivations in voting for the funding while opposing the war. Soldiers were being sent over there, but not being provided adequate supplies. It's a tough spot. In my view, Earl is one of the few politicians who seems to make his own decisions and I honestly think he tries to do what's right. In fact, if anything, his idealism might make him less effective. I don't know him personally so it could be my own wishful thinking and that I have an affinity for bowties.

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  • Eileen November 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    I don't know if that was a freudian slip but I meant "fair" instead of "affair". Blinded by bowties.

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  • Joe Rowe November 7, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Eileen, you stated he makes his own decisions. Not true. Earl is a lap dog of Nancy and lobbyists and will only reflect on decisions that are easy or popular. When it comes to tough issues he is vague or silent and will not justify his inaction nor dialog with protesters. Examples: Failure to support a cease fire and peace in Lebanon 2006, Impeachment protesters, Free trade in Peru. He is hired to be a security guard of checks and balances. He refused to use the one tool that would work to stop the illegal war and war profiteering. Impeachment may have saved 1/2 million lives in the Middle East, and even if impeachment failed, it is his duty to try and use the tool. It is sick that he's promoted for being so inactive. He talks so tough about Bush but took no worthwhile action.

    I quote:
    "has refused to comment publicly on how he will vote"
    http://pcasc.net/Blumenauer-SitIn/

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  • [...] by: Newsweek, others (good coverage of this rumor on Bike Portland as [...]

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  • Bent Bloke December 17, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Looks like neither Earl nor Oberstar is getting the appointment. Word is that Obama has offered the position to Illinois Republican Ray LaHood:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aFgLnWGOe1nc&refer=home

    Not sure what his stand on biking is.

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