It's official: President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary. "I trust Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision," Biden said Tuesday, per USA Today. But does Buttigieg really want to lead the Transportation Department? "Isn't that a little, well, small, for someone of Buttigieg's political abilities and ambitions?" asks CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza. He answers his own question with a resounding no. In fact, "the transportation secretary job makes perfect sense for Buttigieg as he seeks to build out and burnish a resume for a future national bid." Yes, Buttigieg was "a top-tier candidate in the 2020 presidential race," but he's also a Washington newcomer whose highest position has been that of mayor of South Bend, Indiana, home to just 101,000 people, Cillizza writes.
As transportation secretary, Buttigieg—who turns 39 on Jan. 19—will head a department of 55,000 employees, and he'll likely be busy. Biden has vowed to provide "modern roads, bridges, highways, broadband, ports and airports as a new foundation for economic growth." If Biden follows through on that, Buttigieg will be "on the front lines of an effort to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of America—something that lots of presidents have talked about but never gotten around to actually doing," Cillizza writes. That should give him ample opportunity to shine, something Buttigieg has managed to do on TV, notes Cillizza. "And any successful administration has to have people who can go on cable and Sunday talk shows to sell its priorities," Cillizza writes. Indeed, he argues Buttigieg now looks to be "in prime position to be one of the best-known public faces of the administration." (His full piece is here.)