I write about defense and military news and issues quite often here at The Western Word, and I often talk about how politics play a role in defense affairs. I also enjoy poking fun at folks who write or speak about defense happenings who never served and have no idea about national defense or the military.
I’ve also written about the area around Great Falls being very important (a battleground) for the upcoming U.S. Senator Jon Tester Congressman Denny Rehberg U.S. Senate race.
All that ties in with what I read today on the “Viewpoints” page of the local newspaper, the Great Falls Tribune. Central Montana Defense Alliance (*CMDA) Chairman David Weissman writes, “Cargo plane mission for MANG signals bright future.” I found Weissman’s viewpoint interesting on a couple of fronts (and not just because his name is spelled two different ways in the article).
*In case you did not know, the CMDA is a committee within the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
Weissman and his committee seem to be content that F-15s are leaving because he writes, “…the Air Force has stood firm on that decision…”
I personally think it is wrong for the CMDA to wave the white flag in surrender. It’s not over. First, the F-15s are not gone yet and the C-130s are not on the ground in Montana yet. Defense needs change all the time and with the Federal Government in such sad financial shape, most business people would understand that this situation is very fluid. I would advise the CMDA members to not give up the fight until the last F-15 fades from sight over the Rocky Mountains.
Something that also stood out (in regards to politics) was how much credit Chairman Weissman gave Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester. He never mentioned the third member of the Congressional Delegation, Congressman Denny Rehberg, by name. The Rehberg camp must be a little agitated over the (calculated?) omission. The Tester camp is probably getting ready to send out an e-mail to supporters in the Great Falls area with the headline, “Jon stands for Great Falls and the military – the local Chamber tells us so.”
Maybe Weissman feels the need to throw some love Tester’s way since the U.S. Chamber aired several, what some describe as, negative ads about Tester.
He wrote, “Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester worked closely with…” then said, “The Central Montana Defense Alliance would like to thank Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester for their tireless efforts in securing this new mission.”
But the biggest whack to Rehberg from Chairman Weissman was the part where he said, “…we reached out to our delegation and Baucus and Tester responded.” Double ouch!
If you’re in Rehberg’s camp, that last line is the one that makes you want to put a dent in your office wall with that government-issued stapler. Staffers were probably on the phone this morning explaining why Weissman seemed unhappy with their boss. Every vote will count in the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Montana, so even the slightest omission in a Viewpoint is cause to sound the political alarm bells.
Rehberg may find solace in the fact that he (as a House member) has less staff and funding than Baucus or Tester, but he covers the same area. But this is campaign season, plus defense issues are big in the Great Falls area, so it’s all hands on deck. Although Rehberg is on record wanting to keep the F-15s and obtaining the C-130s, it appears there weren’t enough deck hands from Team Rehberg offering assistance to David Weissman and the CMDA.
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