I returned home late last night and opened up yesterday's Washington Post before bed. On page A16, right across from Al Kamen's column, was another one of those full-page ads for the F-22. The top half of the ad shows a blue-collar worker -- an American, dammit -- in a foundry with this quote below him:
The F-22 Raptor program is a premier example of America's continuing strength in the manufacturing sector. Our company employs hundreds of people from the Chicagoland Area as a result of projects like the F-22 Raptor. -- Bruce Liimatainen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, A. Finkl & Sons Company
Below the fold, here is the entire text of the advertisement, unedited:
STEEL FORGERS IN CHICAGO.
95,000 JOBS ACROSS AMERICA.
ALL WORKING TO BUILD THE F-22 RAPTOR.
To the people of A. Finkl & Sons, the F-22 Raptor means the pride of a job well done. And the security of a well-paying job. To Chicago's Near North Side, the F-22 means millions of dollars circulating through the local economy annually. To America, the F-22 means 95,000 people working today in companies large and small all across the country. For their future, keep them working. For America's security, keep the F-22 program flying.
Are you freaking serious? Has it really come to this already? I am tempted to just declare victory and stay home for the day, because I have been trying for the past two years to convince people the F-22 was little more than a massive federal jobs program, and here come Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney saying, in effect, Mark Bowden, you are a silly man. This is not about national defense or about keeping our edge in aerial combat. This is about three things: jobs, jobs, jobs.
The irony is, now that both this blog and the military-industrial complex are in agreement that the F-22 program is, in fact, a federal jobs program, I am in favor of keeping it. But transfer the funds to keep it alive over to the economic stimulus plan and outside the defense budget.
(As Charlie noted yesterday, though, this is going to be knee-slappingly hilarious when Congressional Republicans who voted against the stimulus plan take to the floor to defend the F-22. If the F-22 isn't as much a beacon of socialism as anything in the stimulus plan, I'm Bobby Jindal.)
P.S. Is Fado really going to charge me $20 to watch France-Wales today? And am I really going to pay that $20? The answer to both of these questions is "likely" given the potential both teams have to play beautiful rugby at the moment. Shane Williams is healthy again, and France has recalled François Trinh-Duc, who can't weigh more than 120 pounds and hopefully signals a French intent to play a more open game than they did against Scotland.
Update: Right on cue! Charlie reports hearing Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) talking up the F-22 on NPR this morning as a "fantastic jobs program." Chambliss, you'll remember, was one of the three Senate Republicans who supported the stimulus plan. Or, wasn't.