Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hero With a Thousand Faces

The newspaper the Pequot Lakes Echo catches up with Rep. Jim Oberstar promoting a new federally funded bike trail in northern Minnesota:

As chair of the U.S. House of Representatives' Transportation Committee, Oberstar is called the voice of bicyclists in the nation.
It's true, that's what he's called. In fact, at the Potomac, Maryland Pizza King just last week, customers could clearly hear over the public address system: Voice of Bicyclists in the Nation, your pizza is ready. Pizza ready for the Voice of Bicyclists in the Nation.

That's not to say there still isn't some confusion about how to address Chairman Oberstar when he marches into the room. According to a St. Thomas University press release (as previously reported on Fraters Libertas):
[Oberstar] is a past chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee, where he became known as Mr. Aviation.
A good rule of thumb for constituents lucky enough to meet him in person, when Oberstar is wearing form fitting spandex shorts, he's the Voice of Bicyclists in the Nation, when he's wearing the beanie with the propeller on top, he's Mr. Aviation.

I can only hope it ends there with the nicknames, but it may not. It seems any transportation related issue or bloated bureaucracy this guy touches, he owns. He comes to personify their very essence and subsumes their identity. Therefore, we cannot rule out that Jim Oberstar is also commonly known by these transportation nicknames around Capitol Hill:

-- The Sultan of Light Rail

-- The Best Friend High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes Ever Had

-- Ethanolics Anonymous

-- The Man Who Loved Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials

-- Señor Pogo Stick

I see one nickname, that Oberstar no doubt covets, is already taken. Again from the Pequot Lakes Echo:
Oberstar praised Terry McGaughey, often called the godfather of the Paul Bunyan Trail, for his vision years ago to turn the abandoned rail bed into a paved recreational trail.
According to reports, in order to accomplish this, Mr. McGaughey wacked the heads of the other 5 paved recreational trail families, then made the railroad "an offer they couldn't refuse."

UPDATE: Another potential nickname for Oberstar: Teamster Snuggle Buddy

UPDATE II: Another alias uncovered:

It was during the Delta-Northwest merger discussions and related testimony before Congress that I first began to pay close attention to Oberstar's remarks and motivations. When asked if there would be any airline mergers, it was Oberstar who responded "Hell, no." Thus my nickname for the Congressman, Jim
"Hell NO"berstar.


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