Mayor Pete Goes to Missouri
By Maria Fotopoulos
Mayor Pete, now called the Secretary of Transportation for all of the U.S., a cabinet level position in the Biden regime, visited Kansas City, Mo., recently, enjoying one of the perks of his job. That is, getting to pose in grip and grin photos and take some of the credit for a big transportation project, the new Kansas City airport. Having flown into KCI numerous times over the years, a new airport is a huge, much-needed upgrade for the area. The old airport’s Soviet Bloc look was past due for a revamp. So, great news for Kansas City and for travelers, and kudos to those who made the project happen. As to Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg (BOOT-ə-jəj) …
It’s good to celebrate successes, but Buttigieg’s most recent history shows a failure to respond meaningfully to the continuing crisis in East Palestine, Ohio. So that’s where his energy should be focused. Playtime comes after dealing with the tough stuff.
In his two years as transportation secretary, Pothole Pete – his moniker for his lukewarm performance as mayor of South Bend, Ind., because he couldn’t get the streets’ potholes fixed – has delivered the mediocre level of performance that’s the standard for members of Team Biden. In the first year of his transportation gig, Buttigieg was absent for two months on paternity leave during a transportation crisis. He was then criticized for his response to multiple airtravel problems. He called a nationwide flight shutdown a “data point” from which learning could come.
The East Palestine environmental disaster that began in February has been Buttigieg’s most defining event of who the transportation secretary is. While the crisis called for strong, coordinated actions from the government, Buttigieg was a no-show, revealing his lack of commonsense and empathy. He blew an opportunity to take the lead in addressing a horrible situation.
More than a day late and a dollar short, Buttigieg finally visited East Palestine on February 23, 20 days after the Norfolk Southern train derailment, and a day after former President Trump visited. The current president hasn’t traveled to East Palestine, but Biden did fly to one of the world’s most corrupt countries, Ukraine, to deliver more American dollars to the president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, displaying where the U.S. president’s priorities are – not with Americans enduring an environmental disaster in Ohio. Since the people in the Biden administration appear to walk in lock-step on the worst path, Buttigieg, a good soldier, is perhaps just following orders.
It would be good to see even one Democrat step up and do the right thing. Pete could have done that in Ohio. It should have been crisis communications 101 – if only he could have executed a plan. Presumably, emergency response and crisis communications plans are in place at the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FEMA, the EPA, NTSB, Norfolk Southern, National Guard, the Secretary’s office and with first responders and state & local officials. Whoever the players are, assemble all relevant parties in a virtual “war room” and go through everything that needs to get done, anticipate questions and needs that will arise, determine the lead organization and spokesperson, etc., etc. Get the people of the community taken care of and get the area cleaned. And overcommunicate to all stakeholders. Communications, communications, communications.
Residents of the community and the American public didn’t see that happen. But things that made no sense to the layperson happened, most strikingly setting fire to all the chemicals in the derailed cars, sending dangerous, toxic material into the air, ultimately to land on ground and water. With animals dying, there was no confidence in the community if residents were safe now or in the future. And as to Pete, he tried to blame former President Trump – the default response among Dems remains: it’s Trump’s fault. (Given Trump has been out of office for more than two years, how long will Democrats try to use him as the catchall answer to anything gone wrong?)
Buttigieg may be “book smart,” but he has a poor sense of the right thing to say and when to show up. In the face of people in Ohio suffering and uncertain as to the health, safety and economic impacts on their lives and those of their families as a result of the environmental disaster in East Palestine, Buttigieg said, “There are roughly 1,000 cases a year of a train derailing,” seemingly minimizing the impact of the February 3 derailment.
One thousand derailments sounds like a lot. Two years into his transportation gig, wouldn’t Buttigieg be “all over this?” Rail transportation is not exactly a new invention. It’s reasonable to think railroads and trains should be operating efficiently and safely. On a priority scale, safe railways and rail transportation that don’t kill or harm people, wildlife and the environment should rank much higher than one of Pete’s favorite topics: ending “racist” roads.
To give Pete some credit, on the mediocrity scale, for example, he is much less mediocre than Vice President Kamala Harris. Perhaps in an effort to bolster her dismal image, Politico recently wrote a puff piece on first gentleman Doug Emhoff. Maybe Pete can follow the example – an image-bolstering interview with Pete’s husband, Chasten James Glezman Buttigieg, telling us what a great husband and dad Pete is.
These types of pieces may reinforce support from the Kool-Aid drinkers, but the rest of us just want to see elected officials do their jobs well. Failing that, resignation would be in order.
On March 1, a train crash in Greece resulted in the deaths of 36 people. The Greek Transportation Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned, saying he felt it was his duty to step down “as a basic indication of respect for the memory of the people who died so unfairly.” Karamanlis said he had made “every effort” to improve a railway system that had been “in a state that doesn’t befit the 21st century.”
That’s a notable difference between officials in the Biden Administration who never resign and seldom are fired. The rare exception has been the luggage thief, party it-girl and now former DOE official, Sam Brinton, and two U.S. Air Force commanders and four of their subordinates who were fired from a nuclear base in North Dakota.
But after the debacle of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, did the “woke” General Mark A. Milley, or any of his Joint Chiefs of Staff brethren, resign out of protest or acceptance of personal responsibility? That would be a “no.” What of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who has overseen the opening of U.S. borders and the mass importation of more than 5 million illegal aliens? No. And certainly not the Secretary of Transportation, Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg.
Officials who don’t fulfill the duties of their jobs will not resign under a Biden regime. They have no sense of honor and duty to the citizens of the country. Their only duty is to protect the power of the collective – the Borg. Protect it, and it protects them.
More than 50 years after another major environmental disaster, Ohio takes a hit again when train cars derail spilling vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate chemicals. The 1969 event was one of multiple fires on the Cuyahoga River that had been contaminated for years with debris, chemicals and oil. A polluted Cuyahoga River, along with a major oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., served as focal points for a developing environmental movement and the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Richard Nixon in 1970.
Maria Fotopoulos writes about the connection between overpopulation and biodiversity loss, and from time to time other topics that confound her. On FB @BetheChangeforAnimals.