In Quin Hillyer’s recent American Spectator article, Pentagon in the Tanker, Mr. Hillyer notes that two years ago Northrop Grumman won the $40B contract for new Air Force refueling tankers “fair and square” and then had it “stolen away from them.”
Where to start? Northrop Grumman was the minority American partner of Airbus/EADS, the French company that was initially given the contract.
Last month, the World Trade Organization ruled against Airbus in an illegal subsidies case brought by the United States Trade Representative, determining that Airbus had won the original bid because of massive subsidies provided by France and other EU nations – designed intentionally to underbid America’s Boeing. “Fair and square” is an interesting reworking of “guilty as charged” by the WTO in a U.S. Government case. [# More #]
The tanker bid was “stolen” from Airbus when the Government Accountability Office determined that there were too many irregularities and too much political interference for the contract to reasonably proceed.
Northrop’s plane was indeed bigger. At the request of John McCain - champion of Airbus – the Air Force changed the original specs to accommodate the large Airbus plane. In modern warfare, aerial tankers need to be agile in the air with the ability to land in deserts or on crappy airfields under less than ideal conditions. Had the Airbus contract gone forward, the Air Force would have had to spend even more money updating airfields and hangars to fit the Airbus’ wingspan – and forget deserts, short airstrips and crisp evasive maneuvers.
As Airbus is still holding the subsidies from the EU in its pocket, it would seem fair and square to include the value of these subsidies in the new decision as American companies – without huge EU subsidies – are at a significant economic disadvantage.
Mr. Hillyer does not mention national security concerns that France’s Airbus/EADS also provides planes to China and Russia, and has relationships with Iran and Venezuela - raising issues of downline technology transfer. It is also currently the center of several bribery, corruption and insider trading cases.
America has lost five million manufacturing jobs since 2000, many of them in defense and military facilities. Our Defense Department is already having significant problems sourcing domestic content for military equipment. Jobs connected to the new refueling tankers, paid for by American taxpayers, should be American jobs.
And if the WTO case was brought on behalf of the United States government, shouldn’t its decision bind all the parts of the U.S. Government?
It’s understandable and even reasonable for some interested parties, including Senators, to have a regional bias. But Mr. Hillyer’s cheap shot at Secretary Gates - inferring that he has a Boeing bias because he wants to retire to Seattle - is way out of line. Mr. Gates did not create this mess, he inherited it, as Mr. Hillyer, the “Oracle of Mobile” (coincidentally the production center for tankers under an Airbus/Northrop contract) well knows.
Mr. Hillyer is absolutely correct that our warfighters desperately need these tankers and we owe it to them to fastrack the bidding process. But if Airbus won the bid “fair and square” the first time and still has the best plane as Mr. Hillyer claims, then what’s all the fuss about anyway?
STEVE FORBES ENDORSES HOFFMAN
Forbes: Doug Hoffman stands for real Republican values
Former Republican Presidential candidate, lifelong Republican, and conservative activist Steve Forbes today endorsed Doug Hoffman in his bid to become the next Congressman from New York’s 23rd Congressional District.
Steve Forbes said: “Only one candidate in this race adheres to and promotes the true Republican values of smaller government, pro-growth tax policies and respect for traditional values. That candidate is Doug Hoffman. [# More #]
“Under the Democrat Congress and White House, we’ve seen runaway spending, more bail-outs and attempts to pass government run healthcare and union power grabs like Card Check. We’ve seen federal tax dollars used to promote abortion on demand and we’ve seen more of our freedoms put in jeopardy.
“I’m afraid that the other candidates in this race are far too similar in their records and stated support for much of the Democrats’ agenda in Washington.
“Like Doug Hoffman, I’m a lifelong Republican. But principles matter. The Republican nominee does not stand for the principles of our party, and I urge Republicans to give their support and their vote to the one candidate who does – Doug Hoffman.
“Doug Hoffman is the only candidate in this race with real, common sense Republican beliefs. And he can win this race if Republicans unite behind the man who advocates their principles.”
“Doug Hoffman said: “Steve Forbes is yet another life-long Republican activist who is backing my campaign. Steve and I share the same set of conservative values: a belief in cutting taxes, cutting spending, shrinking the deficit and strong support for traditional values. I am proud to have his support.”
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The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches! He needs our help now.
The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it's important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York's 23rd Congressional district. It's my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.
Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing."
The federal government borrows, spends, and prints too much money, while our national debt hits a record high. Government is growing while the private sector is shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. Doug Hoffman is committed to ending the reckless spending in Washington, D.C. and the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government. He is also fully committed to supporting our men and women in uniform as they seek to honorably complete their missions overseas.
And best of all, Doug Hoffman has not been anointed by any political machine.
Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty.
Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate that more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.
Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual.
You can help Doug by visiting his official website below and joining me in supporting his campaign:
Doug Hoffman didn’t have a chance to make his case to Republican voters in a primary in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. That’s because the local GOP establishment chose its candidate behind closed doors, in a formerly smoke-filled room. The Republican grass roots never had a chance to choose among qualified candidates.
And the National Republican Congressional Committee compounded this error by jumping into the contest with both left feet.