Free Market v. Politics: Tinker Tanker Tailor Spy

Ran across a couple of interesting stories in the Wall Street Journal this week concerning the battle over over the selection of a European consortium to to build the next generation of mid-air refueling tanker for the US military. Boeing lost out in the bidding and the US Government Accountability Office has found some irregularities in the bidding process.

Here's what some of the concerned parties have to say in the battle:

"The decision by the [U.S. Air Force] to purchase Airbus tankers reinforces the openness of U.S. markets and is the most recent example of the growing willingness of the U.S. to look to global sources for vital equipment.”

Bob Stevens
CEO Lockheed Martin

(These would be the "free market" perspective of the deal.)

"The Air Force's decision in February ignored serious implications for the national security and readiness of our country ... I'm pleased that the GAO recognized the importance of protecting our nation's war fighter and industrial base."

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell
Democrat – Washington state

(Obviously Cantwell is a liberal democrat who is no doubt a proponent of the teachings of Karl Marx and obviously anti-capitalism. No doubt she is being a political puppet to her home state. But wait...)

"It has been clear all along that the process was flawed, as evidenced by the clear recommendations made by the GAO. This is a great victory for Boeing, Washington state and every American who values our nation's economic and homeland security."

Congressman Dave Reichert
Republican - Washington

(This must be a misprint! A Republican Congressman bringing up the "homeland security" issue. Trying to scare the children. Well, he is from Washington -- the home state of Boeing.)

"The American worker who...pays for the defense of the free world ought to be able to make [equipment for] the defense of the free world.”

Duncan Hunter
California Representative
Ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee

(What? A Republican standing up for the workers of the world...at least the United States. He sounds so Marxist.)

"Senator McCain helped steer a tanker contract to a European company for which seven of his campaign advisers and fundraisers then lobbied -- a bidding process the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, is now saying was full of errors."

The Democratic National Committee

(No, I though McCain was through with this campaign contribution slime.)

Looks to me like the ideology is getting stripped away in favor of the local constituents. Likewise, the "free market" sounds good in theory, but it looks like it will get trumped by politics.

Here's two related articles from the WSJ of the tanker issue:

Air Force Contract Review Fuels
Critics of Bid to Buy From Abroad

Democrats Press McCain on Defense Deal

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