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Saturday, March 08, 2008

McCain's Boeing Problem

John McCain has a problem, now that Boeing has been beaten out by Northrop-Grumman and EADS for an Air Force contract to build tankers.

Why is McCain in trouble because of this? He was one of the guys who pulled the rug out of a previous deal, awarded to Boeing to build those tankers. Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to Rahm Emanuel to Norm Dicks from Washington (where Boeing has a lot of plants) are screaming that it's McCain's fault.

The truth is, it's Boeing's fault. These folks railing against McCain have short, selective memories about this particular incident. You see, the reason Boeing lost the contract originally wasn't because McCain had a problem with them. They had a hiring problem, and a scandal problem.

Boeing had hired Darleen Druyun, an Air Force procurement officer illegally, actually while she was still in the Air Force. She went to jail for that. The guy responsible for her hiring, Michael Sears admitted that the hiring was illegal, and that Druyun was funneling Air Force contract money to Boeing, including helping with the original tanker deal. He went to prison for his role in the scandal.

Nearly a dozen years worth of Druyun's contract work, totalling billions of dollars, came under scrutiny, and it was found that's she'd been working pretty closely with Boeing and getting them sweethart deals.

Somehow, in Congressional Democrats minds, rebidding a contract that was fraudulently awarded is now a bad thing. These are the same folks who've been asking for, or conducting, hearings about anything and everything under the sun since Bush took office to try and find some sort of fraud.

They are the same folks who, bipartisanly, included new military procurement guidelines in the 2006 Defense Authorization Bill, because of the Boeing scandal. Now, suddenly, they are appalled at the idea that their version of an 'open and honest' contracting process didn't give them the winner they wanted.

Hopefully Congress doesn't decide that the Air Force has to rebid the contract, or just come out and order them to award it to Boeing. International defense spending is tilted pretty far in the US favor when you look at closely. There is European money being spent on the F-35, Aegis equipped destroyers, F-16's and other US equipment. It would be a shame to see those contracts come under scrutiny from the other side of the pond because suddenly we don't like doing business with European companies.

Of course if they do, Congressional Democrat's won't take responsibility for it, as always it will be someone elses fault.

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