Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood appeared yesterday morning on Fox News Sunday, and I felt bad for him.
This past week, an air traffic controller at King County International in Seattle fell asleep for the third time. He had fallen asleep on the job twice in January, and now once again. Chris Wallace grilled Ray LaHood about this, asking why he wasn’t fired. I heard the interview – I didn’t see it – so I couldn’t see if Secretary LaHood was sweating, but he was clearly uncomfortable. He said there were certain protocols that had to be followed to fire someone, including an investigation, etc., but he kept repeating that he’s not going to sit by and allow air traffic controllers to sleep on the job. And he kept repeating that the controllers would have to take “personal responsibility” for the safety conditions they create. Which implies, of course, that they’re being irresponsible.
My, oh my. Secretary LaHood, we just heard from your boss, Pres. Obama, that we must not berate these public servants. They sacrifice for our benefit; they’re what makes our society work; they could be our neighbors. And their unions need to be able to get their way, of course, and we shouldn’t try to stop that.
Or does that principle only apply to Republican governors trying to protect their states from default, and not to cabinet secretaries in Democrat administrations trying to find scapegoats for government incompetence?