Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The "Air Pelosi" Plane Flap

As someone who like to think of themselves as an independent, I'm not sure I buy the right-wing's "outrage" at this Nancy Pelosi wants a big plane thing.

Here are the facts, as I understand them: After 9/11 the White House agreed to the idea that the Speaker of the House (who sits behind the Vice President in the chain of Presidential succession) is deserving of the extra security afforded by having a military jet at their disposal. This jet would facilitate travel back their home district; and was afforded to former Speaker Dennis Hastert with very little controversy.

Seems fairly standard, Pelosi is the new Speaker, she gets the plane now, right?

Hold on. Not so fast. The conservative Washington Times says Pelosi is demanding more. Effectively requesting a military plane with all the trimmings be placed at her convenience with few strings attached. Are we to believe this more damning report?

As always, the truth is probably a bit different and the story gets magnified and distorts to varying degrees by the lens through which it is viewed. The avowed "we-hate-Fox News" News Hounds sites goes to lengths to defend Pelosi/shed the light of truth on the story (add your own hint of sarcasm). The Funny part is, they expose a rather lengthy list of media "offenders" including John Gibson's Big Story on Fox, the Washington Times, CNN, and ABC News, and they end up calling it a right-wing smear campaign. Hee hee....I've always found the mainstream media to have a fairly liberal bias, never really cared about it one way or the other, but have seen the polarization get really bad in recent times.

Ok so you're bored is the problem as I see it. The White House made a mistake, and they assigned a plane to the person and NOT THE OFFICE. There would be NO FLAP, none whatsoever, if the government assigned a small cross-country and secure-communications capable corporate jet to the office of the Speaker. That would eliminate the I need a bigger plane thing not that puddle jumper, et al. Moreover it would standardize the security requirements afforded to the Speaker's office. And not specialize them to an individual.

I think a bigger plane is a bit of an extravagance, especially when the cross-country cost is nearly $300,000 per flight. What the hell? Whenever the government flew me anywhere is was the absolute CHEAPEST fair possible, and if that meant stopping 3 times, so be it. Can't we expect the Feds to be able to shuttle Pelosi's ass back and forth between Washington DC and San Francisco for somewhat less than the yearly salary of the President?

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