Skip to comments.Could McCain lose state over tankers? (Kansas)
Posted on 03/15/2008 3:52:13 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
John McCain might be taking this maverick thing a bit far. I mean, sending good aviation jobs to France?
At least that's the charge from Boeing backers, who accuse the Arizona senator of helping Airbus get a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract at the expense of American jobs, including hundreds of them right here in the Air Capital.
Boeing supporters, looking for a villain in this economic defeat, have put McCain in their crosshairs.
"I hope the voters of this state remember what John McCain has done to them and their jobs," said Rep. Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat.
Many Republicans, too, are unhappy with McCain's role.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, told The Eagle editorial board last week that he thought McCain was dead wrong on this issue.
"I'm going to learn to love him," Tiahrt said of his party's nominee, with as much conviction as he could muster.
But Tiahrt clearly wasn't feeling the love on this issue.
Take McCain's comment that creating jobs shouldn't be a factor in military procurement contracts.
Tiahrt begged to differ. "McCain needs to make a decision," he said. "I want him to come down on the side of American jobs."
For many Americans, it's that simple.
McCain, for his part, says he's simply worked hard to ensure a fair competition and the best weapons systems for our troops.
The attacks on McCain may backfire. After all, McCain was right back in 2004 to scuttle the previous tanker deal after he helped expose a bribery scandal involving an Air Force buyer and Boeing executives.
McCain's crusading arguably saved taxpayers billions of dollars and rooted out corruption in the procurement process.
Back then, Boeing's wounds were self-inflicted.
And it's possible the company simply lost on the merits this time around.
If so, that's not McCain's fault.
All sides perhaps should take a deep breath and wait for the General Accounting Office to review Boeing's formal protest -- a ruling is expected within 100 days.
Boeing's main objection seems to be that the Air Force allegedly switched criteria, telling Boeing that a smaller tanker would fit the mission and then rewarding Airbus for its larger plane.
If the Air Force has reasonable explanations for its criteria and evaluation process, then this will blow over.
Of more concern for McCain, though, are reports that he intervened to help Airbus in this latest tanker competition by persuading the Air Force not to disqualify or penalize Airbus for receiving subsidies from European governments.
Again, McCain says he wanted to ensure competition, but Boeing supporters rightly ask: How does ignoring Airbus' subsidies ensure a level playing field?
What could most hurt McCain, I think, are reports that several of his top campaign advisers worked as lobbyists for Airbus last year, during the height of the tanker competition.
Details of their lobbying haven't come out yet. There may be nothing improper in what they did.
But it again shows how McCain, who prides himself on independence and taking on lobbyists, has surrounded himself with staff members who seem to be embedded with the enemy.
That might be the biggest target on McCain's back.
Some have even asked whether McCain's bad publicity on the tanker deal could put Kansas in play this fall for a Democrat such as Barack Obama, who polls well here and has questioned the Airbus contract.
Obama might have a chance in Kansas, but I doubt that McCain's tanker role will be a major factor.
Chances are, the deal will have faded as a hot-button issue by the time the general election gets under way.
But it could return to haunt McCain here, if the perception persists that he helped tipped the scales in Airbus' favor.
Kansans like mavericks, but they also like jobs.
For now, though, the Democratic candidates are too busy mauling each other on issues of gender and race to turn their sights on McCain.
As Geraldine Ferraro might say, McCain's just lucky.
ERIC ROSENBERG; Hearst Newspapers
Published: March 15th, 2008 01:00 AM
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Warner, R-Va., on Friday defended Sen. John McCain’s longstanding involvement in the Air Force tanker project, a multi-billion dollar contract won last month by an Airbus consortium.
McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has become a favorite target among The Boeing Co. supporters since the company’s loss to the France-based Airbus team in the tanker competition.
McCain, R-Ariz., pressed the Pentagon in 2006 to ignore the issue of alleged foreign government subsidies to Airbus when the tanker contract was put up for competitive bidding. McCain said he did so to ensure competition in a program that was dogged by corruption, scandal and overpricing.
But Boeing proponents argue that those subsidies – which lowered the cost of the Airbus tanker – were one of the reasons Boeing ended up losing the $35 billion competition.
Warner, a respected voice on national security and defense issues who at the time was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he supported McCain’s efforts.
Boeing is protesting the contract award to the Government Accountability Office.
McCain, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was an outspoken critic of a previous tanker deal that Chicago-based Boeing had with the Air Force.
McCain’s efforts scuttled that project in 2004 and helped uncover criminal wrongdoing on the part of a former Air Force official and a senior Boeing executive.
Both went to federal prison for conspiracy to violate conflict-of-interest rules after the former Air Force official admitted steering huge contracts to Boeing, including a $20 billion project for aerial tankers.
Boeing paid a record $615 million fine for its role in the tanker scandal and other procurement infractions.
Lol, I see the point here, but there’s no way Hillary Rodham Clinton will ever win Kansas. Reporter’s dreaming again.
That plane looks more Braniff than DoD.
The defense industry is about defense. It’s not a jobs program. This is pretty cynical even for some Democrats.
“I don’t want my pilots having to depend on a French tanker for fuel!”
A French tanker will be fine, as long as its headed away from combat.
“The defense industry is about defense. Its not a jobs program”
And jobs are crucial to our economy which in turn helps us stay strong. Theres also the factor of depending on foreign nations for our national defense. France didn’t seem too concerned with our national security just a few years ago. Imagine depending on them for some crucial part during a war.
If that was a real concern, then why did the Air Force allow them to submit a proposal in the first place? This is about domestic pork barrel politics, and the real agenda of a lot of so-called “conservatives” out there is showing.
She also won’t have to if Obama is the final POTUS choice for the Democrats.
And once brought up to mil spec, will never be allowed to enter French airapace.
McCain will lose his cool when questioned on these
things....Carville already is giving Clinton the word
on using the evil eye....buckle up ..folks. JK
“If that was a real concern, then why did the Air Force allow them to submit a proposal in the first place? This is about domestic pork barrel politics, and the real agenda of a lot of so-called conservatives out there is showing.”
Not so many years ago it was required that all military equipment and material be produced in the US, including uniforms. But that requirement was gradually and quietly abandoned by our free traders in Congress and the White House. I recall a brief spat a few years back when it was learned that a new Army beret would be produced in China.
I expect we’d be shocked to learn what critical equipment and material is now either made overseas, or is dependent on parts from foreign nations.
But it is accepted that the previous Boeing lease deal would have been a huge ripoff of the taxpayer, several involved lost their jobs and I think some were prosecuted.
I think we should return to having all military material and equipment produced in the US. But unless that happens, and since I live in Alabama, screw these whiners. Leave the deal as is. I understand the tanker is superior to that proposed by Boeing.
Kansas has voted for the Democrat for President once since 1936 (in LBJ’s landslide of 1964). If McCain has to worry about Kansas, the ‘Rats are heading for a 50-state sweep.
“The defense industry is about defense. Its not a jobs program. This is pretty cynical even for some Democrats.”
You give the democrats fare too much credit when you accuse them of treating this as a jobs program. Jobs aren’t the democrat issue. The democrats would care less except for the fact that the jobs in Alabama are not union while the jobs at Boeing are union.
Sorry, I have a real problem with that. And I don't care how many assembly plants they set up here in the US.
So as I pointed out all the Japanese and European cars in their driveways, they became quite outraged and spent a long time explaining why that was different.
I guess they still live there.
“If that was a real concern, then why did the Air Force allow them to submit a proposal in the first place?”
It was a concern and Northrup didn’t meet the requirements until a last minute change by the Air Force.
“This is about domestic pork barrel politics, and the real agenda of a lot of so-called conservatives out there is showing.”
Your slip is showing. Dems are much better at pork barrel than conservatives. Look to Boxer out in CA who was funneling contracts to her husbands company.
“So as I pointed out all the Japanese and European cars in their driveways, they became quite outraged and spent a long time explaining why that was different.”
Does Toyota make critical national defense related items?
Has anyone else here ever tried to buy parts for a French built Fiat-Allis caterpillar? or a French built Mack diesel engine? Horror Highway... and twice to three times the money too.
“They’re both quite good at it. That’s part of the reason why the Republicans lost congress.”
Yep, Pelosi promised to fix it too. That was right before she submitted a massive pork filled bill.
EADS also sells two-way radios (P25) to cops in the USA - no sale of that product?
What of Beretta? (M-9/92F)
Fabrique Nationale? (SAW M249 AKA Mini-mitrailleuse?)
And PLEASE spare me the 'French = white flag crap, the Légion étrangère more than pulled thier weight in the GWI and later in Chad. France has thier own foreign policy, and it may not agree with ours. That's life.
Very true, but the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrat leadership runs on delivering the bacon back home. Republicans pretend that they don’t.
EADS tried to circumvent US law in bid to help Chavez. Last year, the Center for Security Policy cited EADS for its sales to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and in January, 2006, the U.S. invoked international arms trade regulations to stop EADS from selling its Spanish-built EADS CASA C-295 and CN-235 transport and patrol planes to Chavez. Under the regulations, known as ITAR, other countries cannot sell military products containing American-made components to third countries without U.S. approval. Since the EADS CASA planes contain dozens of U.S. parts, including engines and unique turboprops, the White House notified EADS and Spain of its objections.
Rather than stop its dealings with Chavez as a reliable U.S. defense partner would be expected to do, EADS immediately tried to circumvent ITAR by stripping out the American-made equipment and trying to find non-U.S. replacements. Only when it was clear that EADS could not come up with the substitute components did the deal officially fall through, in an October, 2006 announcement nine months after President Bush invoked ITAR.
Working to arm China. Since the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, the European Union nations have largely stopped their military cooperation and arms sales to Beijing. Over the past few years though, EADS owners in France and its workers in Germany and Spain have agitated to end the embargo. This desire to fully open the technological floodgates was most recently evinced in March by French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who while in Japan, continued to declare that the ban was illogical and paradoxical. In fact, she later stated that Chinas burgeoning military might was not a threat but that, what is important is for Chinas military power to be put to the service of peace. It should be noted that the French government is no mere shareholder in EADS; President Jacques Chirac has used his influence to hire and fire the companys top executives and to intervene in management decisions.
Weapons and nuke parts to Iran. As if selling advanced military equipment to China was not bad enough, EADS is also marketing its wares to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, for example, Eurocopter representatives attended an air show in that country and were seen attempting to sell what they said were civilian helicopters. However, astute observers noticed that EADS promotional videotape for the show was labeled Navy and that that it prominently featured a military helicopter. EADS official Michel Tripier when questioned why they were ignoring U.S. policy to isolate Iran said, As a European company, were not supposed to take into account embargoes from the U.S.
Perhaps even more worryingly, there are concerns that EADS may be inadvertently aiding the Iranian nuclear program. As late as 2005, the company was selling Nickel 63 and so-called Tritium Targets both crucial to triggering a nuclear explosion to the South Korean firm Kyung-Do Enterprises. Reportedly, unbeknownst to EADS, the South Koreans were then reselling the nuclear parts a company called Parto Namaje Tolua, a front for the state-owned Iranian firm Partoris. Even if the sale was an accident, it is extremely worrying that EADS did not take the time to verify the end-user of the nuclear materials.
Is that enough for you?
BTW: Did you know Russia owns at least a 5% stake in EADS, and would like more?
Actually, it is not the politics of winning or losing Kansas, it’s the principle of the situation, if Boeing was trying to rip off the US Govt and by extension the US Taxpayer, then they should have lost the contract.
If the pentagon told Boeing they needed a plane that could do “x” then changed that to a plane that could do “y”, then the deal should be scrubbed.
Like Hillary or Obama are going to procure military aircraft at all? At least under McCain they might get a chance to bid on the next contract.
“And PLEASE spare me the ‘French = white flag crap, the Légion étrangère more than pulled thier weight in the GWI and later in Chad. France has thier own foreign policy, and it may not agree with ours. That’s life.”
Exactly. Thats why critical systems like the refueling system should not be foreign made.
“Yeah. Yeah. If China should deprive our fighting men and women of their berets, what will we do? Answer: produce them in the US! ...or Pakistan.”
It involves far more than berets. That was just a fairly amusing example. But production can’t be instantly moved to another location, particularly for more complex items used by the military.
I know I read of two examples of foreign suppliers refusing to resupply the Brits because of their opposition to the war in Iraq. Once was a Swiss company that supplied grenades, and there was another perhaps French company that refused to supply them with some other items.
Allowing any basic production for our military to go overseas is one of the dumber moves that has been made.
Nor do EADS woes end there. Northrop Grumman, EADS bidding partner for a U.S. Air Force contract potentially worth as much as $100 million, has thrown its toys out of the pram too. Northrop is threatening to pull out of the bid altogether unless the Air Force alters the terms of the bid, which it argues is biased toward Boeing, because the contract looks at cost simply in terms of initial outlay, not ongoing operation. Ironically, Boeing was originally awarded the contract, way back in 2001, but it was retracted after a procurement scandal.
Multi-national Boeing barely qualifies as an “American” company any more, so this whole story is the reddest of red herrings.
Can the foreign subs produce a Boeing AC without Boeing? Can EADS/Airbus still produce an AC without US assembly plants?
NO and Yes.
Boeing is American and EADS is European.
Strategic US Military Assets should be produced by American companies.
Please it's a tanker. For the latter half of the 60s the French Nuclear deterrent relied on Boeing built KC-135Fs to get its bombers to Moscow. That didn't seemd to bother them.
Americans, they make the French look manly.
Was that before they pulled out of the military part of NATO in '66?
Were the French producing long range strategic tankers back then?
” Please it’s a tanker. For the latter half of the 60s the French Nuclear deterrent relied on Boeing built KC-135Fs to get its bombers to Moscow. That didn’t seemd to bother them.”
What do fighters and bombers need to reach their targets, why they need fuel. Tankers are critical.
“Americans, they make the French look manly. “
Thats only cause we Americans shower on a regular basis.
Anything that keeps strategic assets in the air and circumnavigating countries (and so called allies - Like France) that won't allow flyovers for political/military reasons IS a "Strategic Asset".
We up to speed on that now, OB?
“I would also add... and C-17 & C-5A ‘s ....”
Didn’t mean to exclude those. Pretty hard to drops bombs if some cargo plane hasn’t hauled them across the ocean. Not to mention all the other stuff.
To be sure: My Browning FN Hi-Power and Shotgun are prized possessions.
Small arms, and Radios are commodities. Too many home grown companies could replace them in a heart beat. Hell, IBM even produced arms for the War Department in WWII!
Large Multi Million (a piece) strategic military assets cannot be so quickly replaced with domestic suppliers if the need arises.
>>BTW: Did you know Russia owns at least a 5% stake in EADS, and would like more?<<
I agree with you.
The point is that awarding the contract to EADS increases the risk that unfriendly nations could be involved with our defense suppliers. Russia has long standing relations with Iran. In 1943 Stalin insisted that Roosevelt and Churchill meet him in Tehran.
If you could add to your tagline: ... and they’ll sell out our military capabilities to any foreign government.
while, I disagree w/ Sinister Juan "Keating Five" McCranky, on many things.....Boeing did try to bribe (or did bribe) gov. officials and the "deal" would've cost taxpayer 6 billion on a leasing agreement....
this "article" smells...badly. *is it from $hrillarys' DNC*
A good acquaintance of mine is an ex Boeing executive (he was a VP in charge of the 767 for a decade). He was shocked that Boeing even got the chance to bid again, considering the criminal acts when the bid first came up in 2002-2003 (for which Boeing staff actually served time in prison).
Boeing in this case lost fair and square, and its incumbent upon our DOD to get the best they can for the dollars equipped. IF we went to war and France did not want to supply us, Boeing would be called upon to get new tankers rolling. We’d use the existing fleet for the year or so until replacements were needed/ready. It’s why you maintain a standing force and supplies - to hold you until you can get more production ramped up.