U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby hails from Alabama, one of the states that lost big potential payrolls when the Air Force decided to award the Boeing Co. the $35 billion contract to build a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised,” he told The New York Times. “Only Chicago politics could tip the scales in favor of Boeing’s inferior plane. EADS clearly offers the more capable aircraft. If this decision stands, our warfighters will not get the superior equipment they deserve.”
There’s always a political subtext when a federal contract this immense is up for grabs. EADS, which isn’t run by fools, promised to sprinkle manufacturing and supply jobs across Alabama and other parts of America if it got the work.
It wasn’t about to match Boeing’s footprint, though: The home team has spread its industrial empire across the United States.
If there’s any truth in Shelby’s terribly cynical remark, Boeing’s move from Seattle to Chicago in 2001 may not have been an altogether bad thing for Washington.