In light of GS reader Grady's comments, I ought to point out that one of the chief spokesmen for the Sikorsky VH-92 (what would become the next Marine One) is the furthest thing from a Bush fan and yes, he is a hulking figure who was shot at as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. So no, strong men (or the American flag for that matter) are not solely symbols for the GOP. As another reader pointed out, you do have Jack Germond (and he should count for at least two).
But while we're on the subject of what's known as the VXX competition, a member of the Lockheed team called me today, saying he knew everything discussed on our trip to Stratford. (He even knew of the Sikorsky rep who, after explaining that part of the Lockheed aircraft would be assembled in Italy, proceeded to call Berlusconi a socialist. This reminded me of John Belushi's speech in Animal House when his character asks, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" In other words, he was on a roll.) And based on the meetings with Sikorsky, the Lockheed rep gave a strong rebuttal to each of the opposing arguments. He also said he hadn't dealt with such a "disingenuous" competitor until now. The other side's feeling is no doubt mutual.
With a month to go before the Pentagon makes its final decision (actually the Navy Office of Procurement), the mudslinging has only just begun.
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