What do exploding toasters and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer's political future have to do with each other?
Both were discussed today by the Oregon Democrat in a City Club speech to a packed house.
The focus of Blumenauer's remarks fell on all the reasons why Oregon is progressive and the country should follow our lead. There were the usual accolades (bikes! streetcars! light rail!) and a call to action for Oregonians to help him spread the environmentally friendly lifestyle to others.
"We have a magic two years to solve problems and get things done," Blumenauer said, referring to conservation, job creation and making Portland into America's wind power capital.
But in one of his few direct mentions of the economic freefall, Blumenauer — who voted against the bailout packages — said the government has turned its back on average Americans who were tricked into mortgages they couldn't afford.
"One of the areas we are going to have to think about is how we've tilted the system away from the average person," he said. Adding that since Americans can't legally buy a toaster with a one-in-five chance of exploding, why can they get a mortgage that has a one-in-five chance of leading them to financial ruin
A good question. Here's another one, this one dealing with his political future
: Is Blumenauer really interested
in being President-elect Obama's Transportation Secretary.
Blumenauer was adamant today that he wanted nothing to do with the position.
"Nothing's changed," he said, "I'm not interested in something that won't allow me to come back and visit Oregon regularly. And it's not a job I've done anything to pursue."