No More Mineta

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Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the lone Bush cabinet member who's hated more by the right than the left, is giving up his post. The DOT site has his letter of resignation, written three days ago but just now released. (PDF file.)

There is much talk these days about a lack of civility in our political discourse and of deep ideological and partisan divisions at every level of government, most especially here in Washington, D.C. There is enough evidence to suggest that such talk and the concerns that it reflects are not without merit. But . . . I would like to think that you and I have demonstrated, even in a small way, that different political affiliations do not have to translate into opposing views on the value of public policy issues or the nobility of public service.

That's one way of putting it. For another take, you can read Michael Lynch's 2001 epistle on Mineta's idea of reform, or James Bovard's 2004 takedown of the TSA.

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  1. I was going to say that Malkin will be doing cartwheels over this, but then I hovered over the “right” link and saw that you had already thought of the same thing.

  2. Now can the name of San Jose’s airport be restored to something sane?

  3. Malkin’s an idiot. It’s not like Mineta was any worse or better than a Republican would be (or has been) in the same position.

    BTW, just what does the Transportation Department do, anyway? Is that anything like the Ministry of Silly Walks?

  4. madpad:

    He oversees things like the FAA, ports, highways — transportation infrastructure and security. Which means that since 9/11 he’s been the Decider on such things as whether airline pilots can carry guns. I hope he’s improved your life some, because he’s sure made mine more miserable.

  5. Shelby,

    Before and after 9/11 – but well before now – I had a job where I travelled a fair amount. It was, indeed a pain in the ass.

    I travel by air very little these days and never for business so – despite the fact that I live in a port/convergence hub city, he directly affects my live very little.

    Sorry his impact on you is so negative. With all due respect, though, my impression of a Cabinet Secretary is basically a weathervane or simple implimentor of Adminstration Policy.

    In other words, whatever his decisions on such things, wouldn’t they simply be Bush’s policies – not his?

    Also, how does whether pilots can carry guns make your life more miserable?

    I’m not trying to be a smartass, I’m sincere in my questions. I’m looking for your experience to shine a light on my own ignorance of such things.

    Thanks

  6. I blame the whole faux-security thing on Mineta. No, he doesn’t have complete freedom to set the agenda, but he has a lot of leeway in how it’s met. The pilot-gun thing only directly affects me insofar as my brother’s an airline pilot and isn’t allowed to defend himself against hypothetical hijackers.

    Indirectly, it’s symptomatic of an overall approach that calls for giving the all-but-unaccountable security flacks (and the government) greater control of the process. It leads, predictably, to handing more authority to the feds and treating us all like sheep, except with less dignity.

  7. Mineta is emblematic of a lot of things, but he pretty much perfectly encapsulates much of what has gone wrong post-9/11.

    He was a major proponent of security theater, and a major obstacle to real security measures (such as arming pilots).

    He’s also a good example of on of the Chimpler’s major failings – the inability to fire anyone, or veto anything. Christ, if you won’t fire Mineta, you won’t fire anyone.

    Good riddance.

  8. Is anyone else hoping for the day when ex-Secy. Mineta, flying commercial, is waved into the line of folks to be given the extra-thorough going-over at the airport?

    Kevin

  9. Now can the name of San Jose’s airport be restored to something sane?

    Yeah, WTF is up with that? Does he think he’s Robert Byrd or something?

  10. Nobody with even a modicum of expertise at airline security thinks it’s a good idea to arm pilots. I’ve yet to see anybody who wasn’t already a firearms version of a Star Trek conventioneer who even took the idea seriously.

  11. That was a powerful proof by assertion there, joe. Can you say, “poisoning the well?”

    Really, though, I had no idea we had so many congressional “gun trekkies.”

    http://www.house.gov/transportation/press/press2002/release316.html

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