Bush Sees F-35 as Example of Pentagon Waste
Gov. Bush arrived right on time at McKenna’s Restaurant in New London.
Of all the campaigns I’ve seen so far, his is the most smoothly and agreeably operated, with none of the bustle and confusion I’ve seen to one degree or another in the rest. Gov. Bush’s low-key, reassuring personality is refreshingly free of bombast. He is very good at offering what he has done as evidence of his fitness for the presidency. When asked a question, he comes across as listening to the question, rather than to what goes on in his head, and responds accordingly. That is a huge difference in his favor.
After asking Gov. Bush if he had eaten yet and inviting him to breakfast on me--an invitation he gently declined--I asked him about our country being in endless war, with ongoing cost overruns in military contracts, where people on active duty, veterans, and their families suffer, while taxpayers carry the cost and defense contractors run laughing all the way to the bank. Then I inquired what he would do about this problem as president.
Bush replied that the Obama administration had left the country more vulnerable to its enemies, but agreed that there is a lot of waste in defense procurement. He cited the F-35 as a particular example, although he does not reject the F-35 as a weapons system. He stated that procurement reform is a must, and added that he’d look into requiring performance bonds from defense contractors.
More particulars followed as he continued. His feeling is that the Veterans Administration is top-heavy and overstaffed, and needs to be streamlined for better service, and that the construction of veterans’ hospitals should be turned over to the Army Corps of Engineers, again for better service. All that said, Gov. Bush adhered to the line of “peace through strength,” stating later on in his visit that ISIS intends to destroy western civilization and plant its flag on the White House. And though he did not say it in so many words, it was clear from his remarks that he opposes the recent Iran nuclear agreement. While he opposes the idea of the US as world policeman, he insists that the US must back its allies.
Afterwards, one of Bush’s campaign aides sat at my table and asked me about my impressions. During our conversation, I recommended that Bush talk to Robert Civiak, a nuclear weapons expert who worked for President George H. W. Bush in the Office of Management and Budget, and who now lives in New Hampshire. The young man asked how I knew Civiak, at which point I mentioned the interview Judy Elliott and I had with him in July.