Posted by on July 01, 2010 in Blog

There is a pause to ponder in almost every interview, a hiccup in the stream of words, a groping for just the right phrase, and then it emerges: “With Ray, what you see is what you get.”

He has worked for three decades in Washington, capital of spin, of parsing, of nuance, of cunning, of backstabbing intrigue, where half-truths are too common to refute and many a flat-out lie goes without rebuke.

Amid all of that, Ray LaHood, the most out-there secretary of transportation in history, is that rare mammal in modern Washington: a regular guy. He says what he thinks, does what he says and clearly loves what he’s doing.

Were he 34 instead of 64, he’d be pegged as an overachiever bubbling with ambition to catapult himself onto the national ticket. But these days he has more grandchildren than political ambition, and his politics — conservative but pragmatic, savvy but civil — aren’t fashionable in the polarized savagery of the national debate.

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