It seems that our fearless Texas Republican leadership is so busy palling around with the fat cats that they had no clue a federal contract would be soon ripped right out from under us.
Unfortunately for Texas, the Pentagon decided to shift an Army truck building contract from here to Wisconsin. Since 1991, BAE Systems in Sealy has been manufacturing trucks for the U.S. Army.
According to the Houston Chronicle Republican lawmakers and BAE officials were completely unaware of the threat posed by our competitors in Wisconsin. They had absolutely no clue that 10,000 jobs are about to disappear from Texas.
The Pentagon's decision to shift the production of Army trucks from Texas to Wisconsin after 17 years caught Texas' elected officials by surprise, raising questions about overconfidence, a loss of political clout and the impact of economic incentives provided to the winning company by Wisconsin's Democratic governor.
Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry and the 34-member Senate-House delegation are rallying to salvage a deal for BAE Systems that could be worth $2.6 billion and sustain 10,000 direct and indirect jobs around the sprawling truck manufacturing plant in Sealy.
Good luck boys. It's kind of too late to salvage anything, including your humongous egos. If our esteemed Republican lawmakers hadn't been too busy lying to and scaring their constituents at teabagging hate fests this summer and fall, perhaps they would have time to think about the plant in Sealy. And what were those top executives at BAE Systems thinking given the tough times in which we now find ourselves? Companies and academic institutions are engaged in a near dual to the death competition for federal funding.
Sucker Punched and Blind Sided?
According to the Houston Chronicle, BAE officials and Republican lawmakers including top aides for John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison feel as if they had been sucker punched and blind sided.
I have news for Senator's Cornyn and Hutchison top aides. If both Senators' teams had not been so obsessed with killing off health care reform all of them would have had time to, at the very least, keep the critical needs of Texas in mind.
One congressional aide said Texas lawmakers should have been more alert to the possibility of losing a contract that Oshkosh had tried to win in 2001. "It just wasn't on anybody's radar," the aide said.
Democrats have every right to be critical of the Republican's complacency and arrogance with regard to this devastating loss.
Job protection is really job No. 1 for a member of Congress," says former Democratic Rep. Chris Bell, a former Houston City Council member who served one term in the House before losing in 2004.
McCaul failed to enlist Democrats in Texas' congressional delegation such as Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, to help protect the contract in a Democratic administration, says Matt Angle, a longtime Democratic operative who heads the political action committee known as the Lone Star Project.
Some members of Texas' congressional delegation suspect political interference. There was "a political push that was inappropriate," said one Senate aide. "Claiming this decision was based on the merits is laughable."
McCaul, a former Justice Department prosecutor and former Texas deputy attorney general, said Pentagon contracts should be awarded "based on quality, realistic cost and how quickly the product can get to our troops on the battlefield."
But Jay Kimmitt, head of the winning company's Washington office, says Oshkosh won the contract on the merits without "inappropriate and unnecessary" intervention by the governor; Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold; or Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Ellis Brachman, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the powerful chairman played no role.
Rick Perry, like the U.S. Republicans was far too distracted this summer to think about BAE Systems. He was too busy covering up the execution of an innocent man and denying the present recession. And while Perry likes to make a lot of noise about secession he is, at the same time, among the top beggars for federal bucks.
What I find particularly hypocritical and deceitful is that the Republicans who rail 24/7/365 against the evils of big government and who loath taxation to the very core of their being, sure like to hold their hands out when Uncle Sam has some contracts and grants to hand out. And when Uncle Sam says no, the federal government hating but federal money loving charlatans howl like crazed banshees. It's so unfair! they cry. Foul play! they shriek.
Check out what our clueless, distracted and complacent Republican lawmakers lost for Texas.
The $35 million in tax breaks and the economic assistance provided Oshkosh over 12 years signal that "Wisconsin is open for business," Doyle said. But the truck manufacturer says the assistance "did not make the difference" in the outcome of the bidding.
Don Jarosz, spokesman for the Army command in Warren, Mich., which handles vehicle purchases, said headquarters would not comment on the contract or BAE Systems' appeal.
But Light, the political scientist, noted: "It doesn't sound like Texas has much maneuvering room in the bid protest — a 10 percent difference in price is huge on a multibillion-dollar contract."
The fact that Texas Republicans do not work for the people of the state should be starkly clear to all by now. Sadly, a lot of folks in Sealy are going to find themselves in a new world of hurt. No one was up to the task of protecting their jobs.
Fortunately the Democrats are hard at work on a multi-billion dollar jobs package.
It is safe to predict that every Republican in Washington will be dead set against the bill.