Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 12, 2009

PELOSI, PLANES, AND POINTLESS PALAVER.... Way back in February 2007, Kevin Drum wrote on this very blog, "The continuing flap over Nancy Pelosi's military jet accommodations is so knuckle-draggingly stupid that I can hardly stand to open the newspaper these days for fear of reading about it."

That was more than two years ago. Believe it or not, the far-right is still on the case.

Judicial Watch (remember them?) continues to accuse the House Speaker of misusing government resources, a claim that has generated some misleading news items and plenty of love from Drudge. The claim is the same as it was two years ago: Pelosi "treats the Air Force like her personal airline." (Malkin referenced "Queen Nancy's military air travel" this week. Murdoch's New York Post did its part, too.)

To its credit, ABC News looked into this. Take a wild guess what it found about the merit of the accusations.

[I]t 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).

The Judicial Watch release cites e-mails from the military complaining that Pelosi was frequently reserving military aircraft and then canceling, causing the Air Force to incur costs as crews prepped planes than never went anywhere. These e-mails, however, are from early in her tenure as speaker.

The only other time the issue of cancelled flights comes up is when Pelosi was forced to cancel flights to California in October 2008, when the House was in the midst of intense debate over the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The Defense Department official seems to fully understand the situation, writing, "I do not see malice or a lack of urgency on their parts given the weekend Hill proceedings. Obviously we all need to keep leaning forward. It's the right thing to do."

The Judicial Watch release also cites an e-mail from a Pelosi staffer complaining about the lack of available C-5 aircraft for Congress's 2007 Memorial Day recess, but this has nothing to do with Pelosi's travel. Instead, the staffer was trying to arrange travel for eight Congressional delegations (all such travel is arranged through Pelosi's office).

When you see far-right blogs and Murdoch-owned outlets get worked up about something, it's pretty safe to assume they're completely wrong.

Steve Benen 3:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Comments

This still doesn't explain why Obama is hiding the fact Karl Marx is his great-great-grandfather.

Posted by: steve.duncan on March 12, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

On MSNBC there is a poll to grade the pres. Right wing websites are getting everyone to vote F. Please go and vote A, we need to beat them.

Posted by: JS on March 12, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"When you see far-right blogs and Murdoch-owned outlets get worked up about something, it's pretty safe to assume they're completely wrong."

No, it is safe to assume that they are lying through their teeth. They are not good-faith actors. They always know full well that their crap is nothing but a load of lies and misrepresentations, particularly in a case like this when they push a story that was debunked years ago (even the Bush White House flatly declared at the time that this story was crap).

Posted by: Shade Tail on March 12, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

On MSNBC there is a poll to grade the pres.

I really don't think we've given Pres. Norris enough time yet.

Posted by: ckelly on March 12, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

it's pretty safe to assume they're completely wrong.

And they are very proud of either their ignorance, stupidity, or deceitfulness.

Posted by: qwerty on March 12, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Someone actually complained about lack of C-5 airlift support? I would think they'd be relieved at it.

Posted by: Califlander on March 12, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I respectfully suggest that this blog be renamed "Right Wing BS Watch" since that seems to be its exclusive focus.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 12, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

well, SA, you gotta admit that since Obama won they right-wing BS machine has been working overtime. . .

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 12, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

On MSNBC there is a poll to grade the pres. Right wing websites are getting everyone to vote F.

I first read this as "press," not "pres." and I couldn't understand why we would want to vote any differently.

Posted by: laym on March 12, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Like the man said:
Aug 6, 2008 ... "IT'S LIKE THESE GUYS TAKE PRIDE IN BEING IGNORANT." Presidential candidate Barack Obama

Posted by: John R on March 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

So, when you asked, "how about a contextual update from Fox News' Sammon?" you were just torturing us with a non-existent made-up possibility?

You cad, you!

Posted by: Weeping Bitter Tears of Disillusionment on March 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

There is nothing new about this.

Remember all the stories during G.W. Bush's transition period about how outgoing Clinton people had trashed the White House and the EEOB? The fact that all of these stories were either completely false or grossly exaggerated hasn't stopped the right wing from continuing to believe them.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

a claim that has generated some misleading news items and plenty of love from Drudge

There's a difference?

Posted by: Gregory on March 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I heard Hannity all up at arms about this last night on the radio (I know...I know...why listen...)

And all I could think was that once Pelosi ascended to Speaker, she was REQUIRED to fly military because she's second in line for the Presidency—right behind the VP.

Posted by: Mr Furious on March 12, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Remember all the stories during G.W. Bush's transition period about how outgoing Clinton people had trashed the White House and the EEOB? The fact that all of these stories were either completely false or grossly exaggerated hasn't stopped the right wing from continuing to believe them.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK
================================================

The final, official report from the Government Accounting Office was released on June 11, 2002. The 220 page document says there was damage, although not as much as some of the early reports had suggested. The GAO says the damage included 62 missing computer keyboards, 26 cell phones, two cameras, ten antique doorknobs and several presidential medallions and office signs. The damage estimate was about $20,000.

Posted by: Campesino on March 12, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

Lou Dobbs was hammering "Air Pelosi" last night on his show, right after doing a piece on earmarks. It was an abomination of course, and reeked of a smear job, using leaked DOD e-mails. CNN even had a nice little "AIR PELOSI" graphic.

Posted by: Pinko Punko on March 12, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Campesino: most of was completely consistent with the confusion of over 500 people moving out of premises they had worked in for up to 8 years. The total expense was under $15,000 total expense, which less than the amount spent on the year-long investigation.

The GAO also said said similar pranks were reported in prior transitions, including the one from Mr. Bush’s father to Mr. Clinton in 1993. ”We were unable to conclude,” it said, ”whether the 2001 transition was worse than previous ones.”

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 12, 2009 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

When you see far-right blogs and Murdoch-owned outlets get worked up about something, it's pretty safe to assume they're completely wrong.

Hell, if one of these lie factories says the sky is blue, I look out the window to check. They produce nothing of value, which is why I ignore them.

It's a pity Steve, Kevin, Atrios, Media Matters, etc. have to waste time debunking them. They are literally a cancer on the face of the American media.

Posted by: David Bailey on March 12, 2009 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, DocMikey, where ever art thou? Air Pelosi ring a bell or did Blue Girl quiet you?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 12, 2009 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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