Secretary of Immobility Ray LaHood, who has announced that he plans to leave office at the end of this year even if Obama is re-elected, is spending his last few months in office taking a tour of the United States. He has recently been to Hawaii (and Guam), and he plans to soon visit Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, which will allow him to say he has been to 50 states.
Back in the 1970s, a man named Ronald Walker helped coordinate President Nixon’s famous visit to China. As a reward, Nixon offered him any job in the administration he wanted, and he asked to be director of the National Park Service. As director, all he did was tour national parks and float rivers, forcing Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nathanial Reed to do Walker’s job for him. As soon as possible after Nixon resigned the presidency, Reed replaced Walker with Gary Everhardt, a career Park Service employee.
It looks like LaHood is pulling a Walker, at least for the last year of his lame-duck administration. There’s a reason why he hasn’t visited states like Wyoming and South Dakota during his term in office: they just aren’t places where federal transportation funding is a big issue. If he wants to visit those states, he should do it on his own time and his own dime.