Friday, November 9, 2007

Call PETA: Cheves Beats Dead Horse

Lexington Herald-Leader reporter John Cheves is shocked, shocked that a Democratically "led" Congress ignored his unending series of hit pieces against Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

Late last night, both houses agreed to keep an earmark for BAE, a defense contractor that builds naval weapons in Louisville. Cheves did not indicate whether he will urge President Bush to veto the bill.

Despite the vast amount of ink that Cheves has spilled rerunning the same allegations, there is much that he has not written. Cheves has still not disclosed that his paper returned money when Cheves was caught in a pay for play scandal, in which left-wing groups funded him to "investigate" McConnell. Nor has he disclosed to readers that until recently, he worked for one of the most liberal members of the Senate.

Cheves also gets it wrong on a few other points. BAE, a British company, is accused of bribing the Saudi prince 19 years before it acquired its Louisville facility. BAE's alleged bribe involved an Army contract. But its Louisville plant is the Old Naval Ordnance. Apparently to Cheves, the branches of the military are fungible; he should test that theory by interviewing some real servicemen.

His accusation that McConnell somehow exempted BAE from the procurement process is wrong. BAE has won competitively bid contracts for the naval guns, and the work funded by the earmark is in the Navy's internal, long-term budget.

This is not just about Louisville jobs; this is about national security. The earmark funds the gun system that keeps our Navy safe on the Persian Gulf if (or when) the terrorists try to repeat the attack that they launched on the U.S.S. Cole.

We can't stop building these guns just because of an unrelated -- and still unproven -- allegation. That defies common sense and Congressional precedent: Congress continued to approve earmarks to Boeing, even after some of its officials plead guilty to malfeasance. We need to supply our troops with the best available technology, and that includes the naval guns made in Louisville.

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