George Will has a pattern for Will-ful disdain for facts if they get in the way with his ideological agenda.
Will’s latest column is filled with disdain directed at Secretary of Transportation Roy Lahood.
Very briefly, two examples of factual errors.
- Will-ful disdain for truth: “Does [LaHood] think 0.01 percent of Americans will ever regularly bike to work?” Fact: Okay George, in fact, .4 percent of Americans currently bike to work. It isn’t a stunning amount but it 40 times greater than the percentage you suggest is lunacy. Facts, George, facts …
- Will-ful disdain for truth: “Intercity high-speed rail probably always will be the wave of the future, for cities more than 300 miles apart.” Fact: Marseille is 783 kilometers (okay, George, you might be metrically challenged: that is a little less than 500 miles) from Paris. There are 12 TGVs (that is France’s high-speed rail, George) with other connections as well to further distances. And, by the way, George, they don’t travel empty. Facts, George, Facts …
Sadly, George’s editors don’t see fit to actually require George to be connected to reality in his published works. And, sadly, readers rely on editorials and publications’ fact checkers to make sure that basic information is correct. And, as per these two examples, that is too frequently not the case with George “Will-fully Deceitful” Will.
Far more interesting and valuable is actually going and reading LaHood’s words and plans. The embracing of “blog posts” by Administration officials is becoming a welcome addition to the public face of governance. Roy’s blog: Fastlane. Particularly outraging to Will, of course, would be Lahood’s Earth Day Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting
And his address to the National Bike Summit “Cyclists are important users of transportation systems”.
On Earth Day, it seems appropriate to talk about bicycling, not only as recreation, but as an environmentally sound commuting option. …. Bicycling was one of the earliest beneficiaries of stimulus funding, with portions of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act explicitly devoted to bicycling, and this department has been very active in getting that funding out the door. States must spend 3 percent of their allocation on the Transportation Enhancements program, which is a primary source of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure funding.
I have been a supporter of bicycling for many years and was a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus when I was in Congress.
Still, I don’t think the League of American Bicyclists knew what to expect when they invited me to their summit.
I hope they were pleasantly surprised because I am committed to investing in programs that encourage bikes to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges. And there’s strong support in Congress for these goals as well.
In the Department of Transportation, bicyclists have a full partner in working toward livable communities.
For other discussions, see:
- Amanda Marcotte, Pandagon, George Will will grump your ass right into your car
- Matt Yglesias, George Will’s Irritable Mental Gestures