For many, many a moon, it’s been hard to say anything positive about our miscreants in congress. Especially those in the Grand Old Party of “NO.” About the time you think they’ve reached the bottom, one of ‘em digs a little deeper and any thoughts of saying something positive about recalcitrant elephants are immediately dashed.
But one fella - Idaho’s Second Congressional District part-time dentist - has acquitted himself with more positive job performance than a majority of others in the herd. Mike Simpson can be honestly castigated for making a number of wrong-headed votes in the name of Republican “unity” - a phrase rapidly becoming inappropriate for anything GOP. He’s gone along with his leadership on some things unnecessarily partisan. Still, on the whole - as far as his folks at home are concerned - he’s been quite helpful.
But now, he finds himself doing something for the sake of some of those same home folk that may be politically smart but it’s also politically abhorrent to a lot of us - and maybe even him - because it’s wasteful of our tax dollars and is little more than pork wrapped in the old American flag.
The brass hats in the Pentagon maze have been trying for years to thin out our inventory of obsolete, costly and no-longer-effective weapons systems. Things change. We move on. Technology keeps getting better. We can kill more people with less. And, sometimes, we can even kill them one-at-a-time from 5,000 miles away - if everything operates properly. So, some of the deadly toys we bought many moons ago should be retired or recycled.
But - when the folks on Capitol Hill - the ones who think holding elective office is a tenured “career” regardless of performance - hear such talk, there’s an immediate reaction of sphincter puckering and a rush to head off any loss of defense spending in the home district. One of the leaders in this embarrassment of pork preservation has been the Speaker himself. The Army has been telling Congress for years it doesn’t want any more copies of certain models of current tanks - wants to stop building ‘em - and it wants a particular company to stop refurbishing the ones damaged on current battlefields. Stop, already!
Ah, but the company that does all that tank rebuilding is where? Where? All together now - OHIO! And that district is represented in Congress by whom? All together now - SPEAKER BOEHNER! And in his mind, we’ll never have enough tanks - especially not enough rebuilt tanks - until Hell freezes over. It’s called “pork,” boys and girls. P-O-R-K!
So, what about Mike Simpson? Well, he’s now caught up in something very similar. He’s “going to the mat” to save a flying weapons system the U.S. Air Force doesn’t want anymore - the A-10 Thunderbolt. Or, as it’s more informally known, the “Warthog.” The “Hog” first flew in about 1976. It’s been called an “airborne tank” because it can take a lot of punishment and keep on flying. It’s a twinjet craft used in close support of combat troops for strafing, rocket launching and putting a lot of hurt on those threatening our people. It’s been a great airplane and the most effective aerial weapons carrier for such work. (more…)