Cronyism continued: Obama to name CLT Mayor Foxx to top transportation post

Via ABC News:

President Obama will nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new Transportation secretary on Monday, a White House official said.

Foxx, who has served as mayor of Charlotte since 2009, has overseen several major infrastructure initiatives in the city and rose to prominence after bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte last year.

“[Has] overseen several major infrastructure initiatives in the city”? LOL. Nice to see ABC, along with other national mainstream media outlets, embellish the out-going Mayor’s “transportation creds” – no doubt with a lot of help from the White House’s talking points. In reality, the story is much murkier:

Federal officials cited his efforts to bring a streetcar line through the center of the city, expand Charlotte Douglas International Airport and extend the city’s light-rail system north to UNC Charlotte.

On two of those fronts, however, Foxx faces serious challenges to his leadership.

The mayor is fighting an effort to shift control of Charlotte Douglas from the city to an independent authority – a move Foxx has vocally opposed. Local business leaders and some legislators have said the city is meddling in airport affairs, a charge Foxx denies.

The streetcar project, which Foxx is launching with a $25 million federal grant, is in limbo. The mayor has been unable to convince City Council members to approve expanding the 1.5-mile line under construction. Also the streetcar has been the cause of a nearly yearlong fight that has delayed passage of the almost $1 billion capital budget.

“Leadership”? Hmm. Using that word in relationship to the mayor is – shall we say “charitable”? What this is about, in a nutshell, are two things: Cronyism – pay back for Foxx’s work on the Democrat National Convention that was here in Charlotte last year, and “diversity”, as Obama has come under criticism from the likes of the CBC for an alleged “lack of diversity” in his 2nd term cabinet. As the Charlotte Observer notes here in an article about how prominent politicos across the state already have their hands out asking for money from the soon to be Transportation Sec, experience for a post such as this one hasn’t historically been a requirement:

Cabinet posts are political appointments, so experience often takes a back seat to connections and loyalty to the president and his agenda.

The last DOT secretary with N.C, ties – Elizabeth Dole, who served under President Ronald Reagan – had little transportation experience. But she helped make air bags and mandatory seat belt use the norm in American life.

If his appointment is approved, Foxx would be relatively inexperienced compared with recent secretaries who have served under presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton.

James Burnley served as transportation secretary under President Reagan from 1987 to 1989. Before being nominated to the top job, he had worked as Deputy Transportation Secretary for four years.

“It helped enormously,” Burnley said of his four years working at the department before being nominated as secretary. “It would be true in any cabinet department. If you have lasted that long, you have figured a lot out.”

But Burnley said “there is no template for the job.”

“Having people from diverse backgrounds is very healthy,” Burnley said. “People who have been mayors have experience by definition.”

Foxx’s resume would be similar to two prior secretaries, both of them also Democrats. Federico Peña. who was the first transportation secretary under President Bill Clinton, had been mayor of Denver. Neil Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland, Ore., when Jimmy Carter tapped him for transportation secretary in 1979.

In other words, move along here, nothing to see. / sarc

I have no issues with anyone in any line of work moving up career-wise. In fact, that’s the reason most of us work our fannies off every day. We want to move up in the world, make a difference, and provide a better life for our families. But, when a person has done little to nothing to earn the “promotion” other than to scratch the back of the big man in charge I don’t see any reason to celebrate it. Especially when it comes to elected officials and how craftily they move up the government ladder of “success.”

In any event, the official announcement from the President himself will be at around 2:10 pm ET today, according to WH officials. Charlotte-area peeps who are jumping for joy over the fact that “one of us” will be headed to DC as the head of an important federal cabinet should refresh their memories on how nice they thought it was when they voted (twice) for Obama that America was going to get an “agent of change” in the White House who supposedly didn’t play the usual DC political games – including engaging in cronyism. And for those who say they no longer care, that “all Presidents do this”, I’ve got one word for ya: Hypocrites.

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