A reader had a question about a claim in a recent campaign commercial for Sen. Maria Cantwell, in which the incumbent Democrat touts her record on expanding aerospace jobs: "I also helped Boeing win the Air Force tanker contract worth billions."
What gives? wrote a reader, who wondered if the contract even had been awarded.
It was, in 2011, after a torturous back and forth between Boeing and Airbus. It’s for more than $30 billion, so they pulled out all the stops, including heavy lobbying by officials of the places that stood to gain from the contract. Everyone from the Spokane business community to Gregoire to the state’s congressional delegation, Democrat and Republican, linked arms and said that the plane Boeing would use for the new tanker, a modified 767, was a wonderful aeronautical marvel and that Airbus A330 was a flying hunk of foreign junk.
Under the axiom that success has many fathers, Cantwell was a part of that lobbying effort.
But as taxpayers and people who may someday have the KC-46A flying over Spokane, we should fervently hope that the Air Force paid no attention to the lobbying, and picked the best plane for the mission. Or is that too naïve?