Jay Reding.com

Political Tone-Deafness Epitomized

The White House is defending Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request to use an intercontinental jet to fly cross-country so she can carry her entourage and family with her.

Let’s see, you have a perfect attempt to skewer the hypocrisy of global warming advocates who spew tons of carbon into the atmosphere on private jets, expose the hypocrisy of someone who supposedly champions the working poor living a life only .001% of the American populace will likely experience, and expose the hypocrisy of someone supposedly fighting for more effective government by wasting tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money on their own insufferable vanity.

And what does the Bush Administration do? Try to defend the indefensible!

There’s no reason why Speaker Pelosi can’t use the same jet her predecessors did. Or better yet, she can be ecologically conscious and fly the same commercial airliners the rest of the hoi polloi do.

But if the Administration doesn’t have the stones to call her on this, she’ll win. And given that the Anna Nicole Smith tragedy/farce has closed the window for this story to develop, it’s clear that the level of political tone-deafness from the White House has once again ensured that the President’s pitiful approval ratings will stay right where they are.

The White House is trying to play nice, which has it’s admirable side, but not when the opposition is playing hardball. In politics, you either fight or you lose, and the President keeps backing off when he should be pointing out the obvious — even if subtly.

8 responses to “Political Tone-Deafness Epitomized”

  1. Will says:

    You need to get your facts straight, Jay. I don’t feel like spending the time to educate you about this, so go do some homework and get back to us.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    You need to get your facts straight, Jay. I don’t feel like spending the time to educate you about this, so go do some homework and get back to us.

    Um, if you’re going to accuse me of not having my facts straight, you’d damn well better bring more to the table than that.

    The fact is that Pelosi’s rationale — that she didn’t want to refuel when flying back to California doesn’t (ahem) fly. For one, so what? It’s an Air Force plane. There are plenty of Air Force bases mid-continent that can refuel her. SAC in Omaha and Whiteman in Missouri spring to mind right away.

    The plane that Pelosi wanted was the C-32, the military version of the 757-200. However, the C-37A (the military version of the Gulfstream V)is much more efficient and can fly non-stop from D.C. to California. It’s possible she didn’t know that, which somewhat redeems her, but it’s still a request in poor taste for someone who’s making such a fuss about global warming.

    Quite frankly, I don’t think Members of Congress should have access to military aircraft at all. Pelosi can fly commercial, like everyone else. Other Members of Congress do it, and given the security situations at airports, the argument that it would be a security risk doesn’t hold much water.

    After all, don’t we want to limit our CO2 emissions to “save the planet?…”

  3. Will says:

    I really don’t have the time or inclination to disabuse you of your politically-motivated faulty notions, but I’ll briefly tell you that:

    1) federal law — or, at the very least, federal custom — compels her to fly on a govt plane (so your suggestion that “she can be ecologically conscious and fly the same commercial airliners the rest of the hoi polloi do” is untenable), and

    2) it was the House Sergeant at Arms, and not Pelosi, who requested a bigger jet (so your statement that Pelosi “request[ed] to use an intercontinental jet to fly cross-country so she can carry her entourage and family with her” is factually deficient, demonstrably so).

    See: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/08/pelosi-snow-livingood/

    Here’s a quote from the Sergeant at Arms himself:

    “In a post 9/11 threat environment, it is reasonable and prudent to provide military aircraft to the Speaker for official travel between Washington and her district. The practice began with Speaker Hastert and I have recommended that it continue with Speaker Pelosi. The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable. This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security. I made the recommendation to use military aircraft based upon the need to provide necessary levels of security for ranking national leaders, such as the Speaker. I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue.”

    So, Jay, as Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (of The Simpsons) would say, “Thank you, come again!”

    Now, can I have that 5 minutes of my life back?

  4. Will says:

    Now, with that said, I’ll admit that I agree with you about the hypocrisy of Hollywood hot-shots talking the talk about global warming, but not walking the walk. I just don’t think that’s what Pelosi is doing here.

  5. Jay Reding says:

    1) federal law — or, at the very least, federal custom — compels her to fly on a govt plane (so your suggestion that “she can be ecologically conscious and fly the same commercial airliners the rest of the hoi polloi do” is untenable), and

    There’s a big difference between the two. There is, as far as I know, no federal law that mandates the use of government aircraft. Other Members of Congress and Senators use commercial flights — Speaker Pelosi should be no exception. The security at an airport is no less than the security at a political engagement — in fact, it’s more stringent, so security concerns shouldn’t be an issue.

    2) it was the House Sergeant at Arms, and not Pelosi, who requested a bigger jet (so your statement that Pelosi “request[ed] to use an intercontinental jet to fly cross-country so she can carry her entourage and family with her” is factually deficient, demonstrably so).

    Furthermore, the security rationale is faulty. Again, there’s no reason why flying into any one of the many military installations in America constitutes a security risk to the Speaker — any more so that flying anywhere constitutes a security risk.

    To her credit, Pelosi is saying that she might end up flying commercial after all, which while belated, is probably the best choice for the environment and the American taxpayer.

  6. Janek says:

    “To her credit, Pelosi is saying that she might end up flying commercial after all, which while belated, is probably the best choice for the environment and the American taxpayer.”

    …or, as the cynical minded might say, better still let them all stay put where they are, to begin with, and let the people go on with their lives unmolested.

    J.

  7. Will says:

    Jay wrote:
    “There is, as far as I know, no federal law that mandates the use of government aircraft.”

    I watched NBC Nightly News last night, and that’s where I heard that federal law compels Pelosi to use a govt aircraft when she travels. That’s what they said at least. Would Brian Williams lie to us? :)

    “Other Members of Congress and Senators use commercial flights — Speaker Pelosi should be no exception.”

    The reason that Pelosi is an exception, like Hastert was, is that the Speaker of the House is not like other members of Congress — the Speaker is 3rd in line for the Presidency. As I’m sure you are aware.

    “Furthermore, the security rationale is faulty.”

    The point is that Pelosi did not request the larger aircraft. The House Sergeant at Arms did. Regardless of the persuasiveness of his rataionale, it’s quite clear that your characterization of the request (Pelosi “request[ed] to use an intercontinental jet to fly cross-country so she can carry her entourage and family with her”) is simply not accurate.

    But under your rationale, Jay, why shouldn’t the President fly commercial as well? If security is such a non-issue, shouldn’t every govt official cram themselves into coach, which is, as you say, “the best choice for the environment and the American taxpayer”?

  8. Jay Reding says:

    I watched NBC Nightly News last night, and that’s where I heard that federal law compels Pelosi to use a govt aircraft when she travels. That’s what they said at least. Would Brian Williams lie to us? :)

    I don’t know of any federal statutes that mandates that the Speaker only use military aircraft, and a quick Google search didn’t find one either. It’s possible, but doubtful.

    The reason that Pelosi is an exception, like Hastert was, is that the Speaker of the House is not like other members of Congress — the Speaker is 3rd in line for the Presidency. As I’m sure you are aware.

    Which may be true, but is that sufficient rationale? If it were traveling by bus, I could see the point, but aircraft are already secured environments — as secure as a campaign stop or a business meeting in Speaker Pelosi’s district.

    The point is that Pelosi did not request the larger aircraft. The House Sergeant at Arms did. Regardless of the persuasiveness of his rataionale, it’s quite clear that your characterization of the request (Pelosi “request[ed] to use an intercontinental jet to fly cross-country so she can carry her entourage and family with her”) is simply not accurate.

    I’m not entirely convinced that’s the case, but without evidence to the contrary, I’ll assume it was. However, that still doesn’t mean that Pelosi needed a C-32 when the smaller and more efficient C-37A would suffice. The C-37A can also fly cross-country without refueling, if that’s the concern.

    But under your rationale, Jay, why shouldn’t the President fly commercial as well? If security is such a non-issue, shouldn’t every govt official cram themselves into coach, which is, as you say, “the best choice for the environment and the American taxpayer”?

    There’s a couple reasons for that: for one, Air Force One is also a mobile military command center for the Commander in Chief of America’s armed forces. The President needs an intercontinental aircraft for diplomatic reasons, and he has to haul around his staff as well as the White House Press Corps. (And as much as I’d love to see Helen Thomas stuffed in the baggage hold, that just won’t do.)

    The Speaker doesn’t have the same requirements, and I still don’t see the pressing security need for her to have to fly non-stop when there are secured military facilities that can refuel her aircraft in security. However, it looks like Pelosi is rightly backing down, and will probably request the smaller C-37A or even fly commercial, which would be the correct thing to do, fiscally, environmentally, and politically.