Tanker Fight

Business Week reports on the ever-more-complicated politics surrounding the Boeing/Airbus/Northrup tanker-contract bidding. Lobbyists from both sides worked the Democratic National Convention and Boeing could be seeing its future at stake:

Adds [Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren]¬†Thompson: “Boeing is at least as worried about their key commercial customers in the U.S. market as they are about the tanker franchise. Once EADS sets up a commercial operation in the U.S. market, Boeing loses a lot of its national advantage in terms of competing for congressional support, protests from the [U.S. Trade Representative], and so on.”

The electoral politics of the thing are straightforward. Washington state [Boeing] votes Democratic, Alabama [Northrup/Airbus] votes Republican, and you can expect the incoming administration to award the contract accordingly.

The defense acquisitions argument is a different matter. Until DoD throws Airbus a contract, Boeing will retain a monopoly on large-aircraft sales to the military because the only other big domestic producer, Lockheed/Martin, got out of the transport business for good after taking a bath on the L-1011. An award to Airbus would also help build the domestic manufacturing base (if perhaps in an industry facing long-term decline) and punish Boeing for its ethics problems.

Thailand Update

The Wall Street Journal reports that the current PM is refusing to resign and the Thai army is refusing to confront the protesters. It talks of a “silent coup” and notes that the military was none too fond of the PM’s predecessor, the same man the protesters say he’s emulating.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political-science professor at Chulalongkorn University, suggested that new elections could provide a “clean slate.”

However, “if Mr. Samak is forced out while the PAD is still illegally occupying the Government House compound, that would show that Thailand’s democracy is nothing, that it’s mob rule,” Mr. Thitinan said.

That giant sucking sound you hear is capital fleeing the country if this keeps up.

Speech Service

Around the ‘sphere, it’s all very predictable as people assess Palin’s speech and the rest of GOP Night #2. Personally, I find the liveblogs at 538 most interesting. I’ve been reading Nate Silver for years, albeit while he was still writing just about baseball. But I learned a lot about baseball from him and he’s showing a lot of promise as a politics guy. Best moments tonight: when he and co-blogger Sean Q. queried some false notes on the question of service.

Nate, talking about Palin’s community-organizer slam:

We’ll see how well she is able to deliver this line — it is sure to get big applause in St. Paul. But it seems awfully petty for a party campaigning on the theme of service (of which there are other types apart from enlisting in the military).

Sean, reacting to Giuliani’s keynote:

9:11 CDT: [Sean] Open contemptuous mocking of community organizing. Wow, terrible read of the national mood.