Ok - I think I have this figured out - but only because I saw this played out before in CT with a sub naval base, and a plan by the Bush administration to cut naval bases, prior to Jodi Rell's re-election in 2006.
So here's the deal as I see it:
The Obama administration creates panic and worry in CT by threatening to cut the defense budget and stop the production of F-22 fighter planes. That big 'ole bad 'ole Bush holdover Defense Secretary Robert Gates is threatening to scuttle production of F-22 jets thereby potentially hurting jobs at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown, CT., which produces the jet's engines. Gates has called for production of F-22s to stop at the magic number of 187 jets. In a move to save some money, Gates has called for defense funding to be directed toward more practical military efforts and with jets costing $140 million a pop, he's come up with this plan to halt production.
Enter the poll beaten and scandal worn Senator Chris Dodd.
This gives Chris Dodd a perfect opportunity by the Obama administration to "come to the rescue" and "fight hard" for all those people who will be put out of work as a result of these "budget cuts". What timing.
Dodd's out there with his side-kick John Larson already lobbying, rallying forces and generally commiserating and coming to the aid of CT union workers at Pratt. How convenient for Senator Dodd to have this opportunity fall into his lap. Like this wasn't orchestrated. Does anyone honestly think that these F-22's will actually be cut? I will bet they won't, and it won't be because of anything Dodd does or says, although they will make it look that way.
But let's just follow this little play along:
Step 1: Dodd will go forth and make the fighting words and statements and act like he is advocating for the workers - it'll be very convincing.
"I'm here today to tell you that I'll do everything I can ... to make our case to our colleagues. That is where the final defense will be for this program," Dodd told members of the Hartford chapter of the International Association of Machinists.Step 2: Dodd will say that he is going to fight that nasty Robert Gates and offer some real tough talk - ruffling his feathers like some rutting peacock.
But Dodd, along with Connecticut Rep. John Larson, met with union members Thursday to assure them they'd battle Gates over the issue. Dodd has fought before to save the F-22 program, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and he said Thursday that party distinction doesn't matter to him at a time when his constituents are worried about keeping food on the table.Step 3: Dodd will of course get the union guys on his side against President Obama's threatened cuts. He'll make it look like he is going against the big guy for the sake of the little guy. What a Senator!
"I'd much rather have the secretary on my side, but we've beaten him in the past and we'll beat them this time as well," Dodd said.
The tough talk came after Dodd heard the concerns of the union.
This puts Dodd, a powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill, in a tight spot. Though he is a President Obama ally in a position to be a key cheerleader for his budget proposals, Dodd's poll numbers are at historic lows with an election coming up next year.You know the rest - the F-22's will eventfully be re-instated and Dodd will be the hero. All hail and re-elect Dodd.
Dodd sided with the workers and opposed the F-22 proposal early this week. He co-signed a letter to Obama with other members of the state delegation Tuesday objecting to Gates' proposal and calling for Congress to "fully fund" the F-22s.
I have always found it somewhat amusing that these anti-war Democrats who represent states that have defense industries, become such utter hypocrites and continually walk such a delicate line in Washington. They have to please their anti-war constituents and at the same time have to make sure they don't create massive unemployment in their own backyards. They vote to cut military spending and make lots of noise about bringing troops home, but they also have to make sure that the defense machine isn't shut down thereby creating thousands of lost jobs and angering unions across the state. It must be hard serving two opposing masters like that. And now - he has to walk lock step to support Obama's budget and defense plans to boot. In the end though, Dodd has to answer to the people that can vote him in or out of office:
"We're very concerned the job base for aerospace would take a blow on this," said Frank Larkin, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists.Just like we couldn't close the only naval base in the Northeast - it is unlikely that they would halt production of F-22's, especially since Dodd wrote a memo stating:
He said ending F-22 production would threaten up to 3,000 jobs in Connecticut, and 25,000 nationwide, with many of those job losses affecting his union members. Though the jets are mainly produced in Texas and Georgia, the engines are produced at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown, Conn.
"Additional F-22 Raptors are critical to maintaining America's security in the face of new threats," the letter said. "Further, terminating the F-22 will seriously erode our industrial base, leaving our nation with significantly reduced capability to produce advanced fighter aircraft.I guess he really stated the case. What else are saviors for?
"One of our greatest national assets is our highly-skilled and innovative workforce, personified by the thousands of working men and women in Connecticut that maintain America's continued superiority in aerospace," the letter added.
Oh please... it really annoys me that they play such political games with our national defense in order to help politicians stay in office.
You can bet anything that Dodd "will save the F-22" - win the hearts of union workers whose job relies on defense manufacturing and who no doubt will come out in droves to support this miserable Senator in the fight for his Senate seat, and all will be well.
Political theater at its best.