Courtney’s silly kerfuffle over the color of Air Force One

I am completely perplexed by this one.

The president wants to paint Air Force One using the more patriotic colors red, white and blue — and some members of the House are pushing back? Our very own congressman, Joe Courtney, who has ruled the Second Congressional District for more than a decade, has helped convince the Democrat-controlled House Armed Services Committee to adopt his amendment requiring congressional approval for spending on the interior, paint and fixtures.

Courtney said, “Additional paint can add weight to the plane; additional fixtures inside the plane can also add cost and delays to the delivery of the plane.”

I respect Courtney’s diligence concerning the plane’s safety as well as his new found frugality. However, while I'm certainly no expert in paint, or exactly how much paint weighs, or even its role in aerodynamics, I have every confidence that the boys and girls over at the Pentagon will ultimately figure that one out.

Any aircraft of the United States Air Force carrying the president of the United States is considered "Air Force One." Reportedly, the first president to fly while in office was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since then each president has had access to his own airplane. These aircraft have come in all shapes sizes and colors including the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, Douglas C-118 Liftmaster, a customized C-121, a Boeing 707, and today's 747.

Air Force One has many secrets, but we do know it's capable of traveling 8,000 miles and can refuel in flight. The "flying Oval Office" has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space with a conference room, quarters for the president and the first lady, an office area for senior staff members, and an office that converts into a medical facility when necessary. It has 26 crew and can accommodate just over 100 passengers.

Principal differences between Air Force One and the standard Boeing 747 include superior navigation, electronic and communications equipment. It has 20 TVs ( I assume all on Fox News) and is equipped with classified security and defense systems, including measures to protect on-board electronics against the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion.

Are the Democrats mad that Trump wants to change colors or are they upset that he wants to change them to red, white and blue? The current iconic look of Air Force One has been the same since the ‘60s during the Kennedy administration, so maybe it's long overdue for a makeover. One of the perks of becoming president should be the freedom to paint your plane any colors you want. Trump wants the aircraft to represent the flag.

I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.

Maybe future presidents can paint Air Force One depending on mood or circumstance. Pink for Breast Cancer awareness month or rainbow colors for Gay Pride month. How about painting a thin blue line down the side to represent the work that police do? What if a president’s favorite sports team wins the championship? Someday, you may see the president’s chariot all decked out in Celtic Green with a big Shamrock on the tail.

How long does it take for paint to dry, anyway? Maybe alter the plane to help ease tensions or make political statements. Imagine, for example, the president is flying to Africa for a conference on global warming: Maybe paint a big lion on the wing, sweating profusely because he's too hot.

Perhaps if a president is jet-setting over to the Netherlands for an economic summit, the interior lighting crew could replace the airplane’s mundane lighting with a crimson shade to mimic Amsterdam’s red-light district. Everyone would be so much more comfortable.

OK, I’m getting silly and sarcastic. But you know what isn’t funny; elected leaders in Congress wasting time on such a trivial matter. Painting the plane with patriotic colors has somehow instigated another furious divisive controversy? What garbage!

If Trump wanted to paint the Air Force One gold with a big dollar sign on the side, then I’d agree about it being inappropriate. But he wants to paint it the patriotic colors of this country. Why is this controversial?

Newsflash, Washington politicos: We’re in the midst of rumblings of war in the Middle East. Illegal immigration is running wild and out of control. Homelessness and drug addiction steal citizens’ souls each and every day, and no one in the capital says anything about the exploding national debt and an inability to pay for our own massive entitlement programs.

Yet we’re debating the color of the president’s plane?

Air Force One should be red, white and blue. Have you looked at the flag lately?

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.

 

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