Thursday, March 12, 2009

Air Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi's use of government funded air travel has infuriated the people who write the talking points memos, and therefore everyone at Fox. Guess whose use didn't infurate as much? At all, actually.

In fact, it appears that Pelosi uses military aircraft less often than her predecessor, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

The documents cover the period from January 2007 to November 2008 and show that Pelosi made the equivalent of 20 round-trips between Washington (Andrews Air Force Base) and San Francisco. That's an average of less than one round-trip per month. In contrast, former Speaker Hastert traveled home to his Illinois district virtually every weekend and, his former aides tell ABC News, he would almost always travel on military aircraft. Like Hastert, Pelosi also occasionally leads Congressional delegations on foreign trips (the documents show six foreign trips: one to Asia, three to the Middle East and two to Europe).

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also disprove another frequently repeated rumor about Pelosi's travel: that she regularly flies home to San Francisco in an Air Force C-40, the military equivalent of a Boeing 737. According to the documents, Pelosi did not make any domestic trips on a C-40 during the 23-month period from January 2007 to November 2008. Her trips to San Francisco have all been on smaller executive aircraft, usually an Air Force C-20 (the equivalent of a Gulfstream G-3) or a more plush C-37 (a Gulfstream G-5).
This is what's so entertaining about Republican talking points - they'll go rushing out with some insane accusation like "Dimocrats spend MONEY for HAIRCUTS!" and no one stops to think, "might there be a sensible counter-argument for this?" And here it is, 2009; every time they do it their approval ratings drop a little, and THEY STILL KEEP DOING IT! That's real conservativsm - Old Ways are the Best Ways.


wamk said...

Did the report say anything else, like maybe trying to reroute flights, or changing/making flights at the last minute?

Just curious.

Danielk said...

Oh, that's the issue? That Pelosi's private flights were rerouted or booked in an untimely manner?

A. Show me the evidence that Hastert did it less.

B. Explain to me why it's bad.

wamk said...

I'll answer both with a long cut-n-paste:

As I reported (yeah, we can do that, too, MSM), one of the most notable e-mail exchanges I found in the docs (which was not spotlighted in JW’s release, but could be found by anyone who actually clicked through on JW’s site to the actual records) dealt with Pelosi’s absurd demand in December 2008 (that’s just three months ago, not “early in her tenure”) that the military move her jet from San Francisco airport to Travis Air Force base (where she had “business” and where she just so happens to have a country home nearby in Napa 30 minutes away!) Queen Pelosi didn’t want to drive 1.5 hours. She demanded that the military come to her. DoD officials pointed out that this had never been done before — not even for the Defense Secretary.

Yet ABC News asserts that JW’s document release “doesn’t seem to prove the organization’s allegation that Pelosi has made ‘unprecedented demands’ for the flights.”

Let me repeat what I reported, since Time and ABC News missed it the first time around:

Three months ago, turmoil erupted over Queen Nancy’s demand for the military to reposition her plane to fly out of Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif., closer to where she had “business,” instead of San Francisco Airport/SFO (1.5 hours away). A special air missions official wrote: “We have never done this in the past. The deal is…that the Speaker shuttle is from DC to SFO and back. We will not reposition. We do not reposition for convenience even for the SECDEF. It is not [too] far of a drive from Travis to SFO. Did the escort suggest to the Speaker that this is ok? If so, I hope you guys correct them immediately. If you agree with me that I am correct, then you need to stay strong and present the facts to the Speaker’s office.”

Another official stated bluntly: “We can’t reposition the airplane such a short distance. It is not a judicial use of the asset. It is too expensive to operate the jet when there is truly no need to do so.”

A beleaguered colleague responded: “[Y]ou know I understand and feel with you…but, this is a battle we are bound to lose if we tell the speaker office. In the end, this is what will happen…I wish that I could say this is a one-time request, but we know it will probably happen again in the future.”

In the end, the military won that battle. But a few days later, Pelosi was back with a new demand: that her military plane taking her from DC to San Francisco make a stop in New Jersey to bring her and three Democrats to an “innovation Forum” at Princeton University involving 21 participants and no audience. A Gulfstream jet was secured for the important “official business.”

Rerouting flights has NEVER been done before, not even for the Secretary of Defense. Never.

As to a further explanation of "why it's bad", I direct you to view (not that you ever watch what I suggest) a program that recently aired on the History Channel on Air Force One.

Not sure if the History Channel is on hulu, but I'll leave that up to you to find out.

Now I realize that AF1 and Air Pelosi are not the same plane, but the issue is the same. In the AF1 show, they detail the logistics of what goes into scheduluing, preplanning, etc a top level flight.

While it may appear that it should be super easy to just pick up a phone, and get a plane chartered, it ain't that easy. Seeing as how Ms. Pelosi is #3, there are much higher security concerns for her travel. The security on the landing airport has to be beefed up, background checks on the airport employees, etc. It's not as easy as you or I saying at the last minute "hey, let's detour our charter plane to Vegas!".

When one loks at al of the logisitcs, planning, security, and personnel involved, you'll understand better.

Watch the first 15 minutes of so of the AF1 show, and you'll begin to realize what is involved.

Danielk said...

Maybe that's why Hastert racked up so many more miles - he kept flying to places he no longer needed to go instead of changing the flight plan.

By the way, the long cut-n-paste: where is it from? I'd like to read more.

wamk said...

Not that you follow links, but here it is anyway:

You drive me crazy, Piker.

You ask why it's a big deal for flights such as these to be rerouted or cancelled, I spend time and effort explaining, and you don't acknowledge.

Do you understand why it's a "big deal"? Can you se why doing that is a waste of resources?

Or is it just easier to answer with a snarky comment, instead of coming to grips that Pelosi might have overstepped the privilege that is extended to her Office by the taxpayers of this Country?

Danielk said...

Pelosi AND Hastert? Possibly. I might admit they did.

wamk said...


"She demanded that the military come to her. DoD officials pointed out that this had never been done before — not even for the Defense Secretary."

Do you understand what the word "never" means?

Danielk said...

In what sense, Charlie? You might enjoy this snippet of a request from Hastert:

Danielk said...

I just realized I failed you answer your question, and I know that infuriates you.

Yes, I know what "never" means.

wamk said...

I know you have challenges with comprehension, but instead of giving you the answer, I'll just ask you the question.

What do you think the link you provided says about why the change of airports was requested?

Danielk said...

Nothing at all. Therefore, it must be some joyride that had no official purpose. Fair enough?

BTW, are you tired yet? Maybe you could just have Malkin write all your responses directly. You can give her my blog address.

wamk said...

Let me help you out then, since you clearly didn't understand the talking point handed to you, and probably didn't read it. First, the link you provided:

"We have a Speaker going from Easton, MD returning to Illinois on Thursday.

The Speakers office would like to return to Dekalb, IL instead of Aurora (The normal Speaker mission airport)

Dekalb (KDKB) has a Daylight operations only restriction (due to unknown obstacles) for the C-20. The land time would be 1555 with a 1500 T/O from MD, 45 min standard ground would be a 1640 T/O for the crew to return home. Official sunset is 1624.

The C-20 and crew would have to RON due to the daylight only restriction.

Aurora (KARR) does not have the restriction, and is 14 air miles from Dekalb."

So let's break it down, since Swampland chose not to, and you sometimes have challenges.

Hastert was flying back to IL, landing at approx 3:55 p.m. (1555). It takes 45 minutes to get a plane "turned around" (T/O) before it can take off again. 45 minutes after landing is approx 4:40 p.m. (1640 T/O). The airport Hastert flew into as his "home airport" has a "Daylight-only" restriction for the plane (C-20) that Hastert was flying.

"Daylight-only" means the plane can only fly into/out of those restricted airports during daylight hours. Official sunset that day was 4:24 p.m. (1624). If he flew into Dekalb, the entire crew would have to remain overnight (RON), due to the daylight only restriction they they would have missed by about 15 minutes.

The Aurora airport is 14 miles away as the crow (or a C-20) flies, and didn't have the same restrictions on that aircraft.

So let's recap.

The plane he came in on was rated as "daylight only" for his "normal" airport. The crew would have been forced to stay on the ground overnight due to the restriction, and there was an unrestricted airport lass than 15 miles away.

Sounds like a reasonable reason for Hastert's office to request the change.

Why did Nancy try to change her airport, Piker?

And no, I'm not tired when you try to portray an event as the same thing Pelosi tried to do.

I'd suggest you have Swampland write your responses, but it appears you already do. Malkin is right on this one, and you know it.

wamk said...

No response?

Danielk said...

So, what did Pelosi try to do? Musta been pretty bad to be this important to you guys.

wamk said...

Why is it so hard for you to admit you were wrong?

When Bush couldn't admit mistakes, your side said it showed his lack of maturity.

Danielk said...

Even YOU haven't said I'm wrong. You won't even say what you're implying about Pelosi. As far as I'm reading here, we're both right.

wamk said...

You claimed in comment #6 that Hastert overstepped the privilege of taxpayer-funded flight.

Please explain how.

Danielk said...

In number 6? No I didn't.

Danielk said...

And by the way, again, what do you think Pelosi's motives were for wanting the flight plan changed? It seems like that's a pretty easy thing to answer, unless you don't know what you think.

wamk said...

I believe Pelosi's motives were to eliminate the long drive she would have from her "base" airport.

What do you think Hastert's motive was?

Danielk said...

Closer... why did she want to eliminate the drive? And here's the thing - if you're only guessing, you're doing exactly what I did in repsonse #11. In which case, it's kinda dopey to make a big deal out of it.

wamk said...

Hasterts reason is clearly spelled out in the Swampland link you posted. Twice. Or do you still not understand why the request was made?

What is Pelosi's reason?

All I can go off is the response from the Department of Defense:

"She demanded that the military come to her. DoD officials pointed out that this had never been done before — not even for the Defense Secretary."

Danielk said...

Again, meaning what? How would you explain it to someone who doesn't automatically hate Pelosi with the heat of a thousand suns?

Because to me, it's likely that Pelosi needed to be somewhere an hour earlier for official government business.

wamk said...


Then why wouldn't she have noted the need for the alternate airport, like Hastert did?

Danielk said...

Jesus Christ man, come out and say it!