"You might think the Department of Transportation would be a refuge from Washington's inundation of painfully earnest and pitilessly incessant talk about "remaking" this (health care, Detroit) and "transforming" that (the energy sector, the planet's temperature). Transportation, after all, is about concrete practicalities-planes, trains and automobiles, steel, asphalt and concrete.
Furthermore, the new transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, was until January a Republican congressman practicing militant middle-of-the-roadism. He knows what plays in Peoria, and not just figuratively: He is from there. Peoria is a meatloaf, macaroni-and-cheese, down-to-earth place, home of Caterpillar, the maker of earthmoving machines for building roads, runways, dams and things.
LaHood, however, has been transformed. Indeed, about three bites into lunch, the T word lands with a thump: He says he has joined a "transformational" administration: "I think we can change people's behavior.""