In an interesting post about the F-35 strike fighter $500 billion to $1 trillion boondoggle (yes, those figures are not typos), Gary Becher notes that one of the staunchest defenders of this program, Republican Congressman Mike McCaul, is a real piece of work (boldface mine):
Boom, a few quick pickup lines, then one quick wedding and McCaul was worth $300 million.
With that kind of connection — not just money, but friendly media coverage guaranteed — McCaul had an easy ride to Congress, where his main claim to fame (before he started pushing the F-35) was forcing the Army to hold Christian ceremonies for every dead soldier, even the atheists, or Muslims, or Jews, or goddamn Zoroastrians. That’s the kind of thing that goes over big with Texas voters, and like all this “moral” crap, it also happens to work perfectly when you want to siphon off a huge chunk of tax money, because the suckers just can’t follow all the math in that stuff. All they know is “He’s for prayer.”
When the VA complained that McCaul was forcing Christian ceremonies on non-believers, he squawked back that the VA had “banned” Christian prayer. That was a flat-out lie, and the VA said so and proved it, but you can bet it played huge with his idiot constituents in the Dallas suburbs….
McCaul moved from prayer to stock shares in one hot Texas second, as soon as the Secretary of Defense and a few other more or less sincere defense specialists decided it’d be crazy to buy a brand new engine from Pratt & Whitney to put in the F-35. You see, McCaul’s portfolio includes $750,000 in Pratt & Whitney shares. You might think, “God, a guy worth $300 million could afford to let those shares sink a little,” but that’s exactly why you’re not in Congress and he is. No male golddigger ever born is gonna let a chance to make more money off the taxpayer go by, no matter how much he’s already got.
So McCaul started this thing called the “F-35 Caucus,” to force the DoD to buy the plane with all the trimmings, even though nobody with a conscience wants anything to do with it. He got his fellow Texas rep. Kenny Marchant, to join the club, and hey, that’s got nuthin’ to do with the fact that Marchant also owns Pratt & Whitney stock. Marchant’s another bright star of the Texas GOP, a graduate of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK, and a major oil stockholder along with his P&W stock. I’m telling you: morality on top, sleazy money under it. That’s the pattern you need to keep in mind to understand all this anti-drone chatter.
And the conservative con rolls on….