Monday, February 16, 2009

Air Force One is also a taxpayer-sponsored jet, Mr. President

There's a CNN article quoting Obama making a boastful joke about his plane:

"Hey guys, what do you think of my -- this spiffy ride here?" the president asked the group of reporters traveling with him on the presidential plane.



"Thanks for giving me a reason to fly Air Force One," he told the House Democrats after his flight, which took him away from a week of fighting for the economic stimulus bill.

After the flak Obama gave the auto Big-3 CEOs for taking their private jets to Washington, I am disappointed that he turns around and brags about his own jet.

Mr. Obama, you've said a lot of things lately about how executives shouldn't show off their extravagant lifestyles when they're not delivering financial results. Last time I checked, the economy of the US is in dire straits. You're the chief. So why are you parading your spiffy jet? If any American CEO made the same joke standing aboard their own jet, would you not chastise them?

UPDATE: I'm not saying that he should stop using Air Force One, and should fly JetBlue and sit next to me in 23B. I'm saying that he should stop bragging about it, jokingly or not.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, the security surrounding the president (remember that in these matters, the Secret Service can and does override the president's wishes) makes flying commercial pretty difficult....

Niniane said...

I'm not saying that he should stop using the jet. I just think he should stop bragging about it. It's not very classy to pressure other people to stop flying their jets, and then ask them how they like your jet.

John K. Lin said...

Actually, Air Force One is not a private jet - it belongs to the Federal government and thus, it's the country's and taxpayers' jet.

And I think President Obama was trying to crack a joke when he was saying, "Hey guys, what do you think of my -- this spiffy ride here?" if you've actually seen the video of him making that statement...

Are Larry & Sergey getting flack about their fleet of jets...?

Niniane said...

A taxpayer's jet speaks even more to my point than a corporate jet! Part of the fuss about the auto-3 private jets is that some of it will be paid out of taxpayer dollars via the bailout. Air Force One is 100% taxpayer dollars.

Papa Marteau said...

It would be a better world if every person elected in a democratic country remenber that (s)he represents only the People who vote . To me, this is the only mandatory condition to be a good representant.

Blair W said...

Come on, he's not bragging, he's just joking.

At this rate, you're going to turn into the cat lady in The Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

Oh bad move Niniane. Bad move.
I mean, give him a chance. Wait till he make a air force one disaster-zone-showing-off-flyover before you criticize him.
You should delete this post.

Wanda said...

It's not like Obama choose how spiffy his jet was or whether to fly in a personal jet at all. It's a requirement of the job. It sounds like being president is still so new to him that he's still pretty awed at the perks.

sanjuro said...

He's definitely joking around. It's obvious he has quite a sense of humour, we've seen proofs of that before. Niniane, why so serious?

Niniane said...

I know he's joking. If any CEO in America made the same joke about their own jet, wouldn't you think the joke is in poor taste given the times?

Jeremy said...

I think it's clear that, for security reasons, the Executive Branch needs its own ride. It's also clear that it's in bad taste for Obama to point out the luxury when people are out of work and in dire straits. However, most people have the ability to compartmentalize their reactions. It's like when I see someone driving a Hummer. Part of me wants to slash their tires and yell at them for being environmentally irresponsible, but another part of me thinks it's a pretty bad-ass way to tool around town and would probably come in pretty handy.

We should give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He's not nearly as privileged as many of our previous presidents and is not even a month into his term. He can waste all the gas he wants in Air Force One if he can sign effective legislation to fix the economy.

Michael Koswara said...

well my opinion is it is obama's fault that he was showin off the national jet he was travelling in, B-U-T ya can't blame him really, he's just been president for barely a month, still getting used to it and trying to make a simple joke to ease the tension and pressure of the whole situation and the press.
so its 50% to niniane and 50% to obama LOL, not like its niniane vs obama or anything heehe.

John K. Lin said...

The criticism of U.S. auto executive CEOs flying their private jets was a bit of theatrics by Congress, that is for sure.

But the U.S. auto industry has literally been losing BILLIONS the past few years and the CEOs themselves have been paid TENS of MILLIONS for FAILURE. GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, has been the worse. Since he has been CEO from mid-2000 to present, GM has reported cumulative losses of roughly $50 billion for 2005, 2006 and 2007 and more than $18 billion in 2008.

I'm sure if the American public expressed concerned about Obama's joke regarding Air Force One, he would admit he made a mistake (just like he admitted that nominating Tom Daschle was his mistake).

Air Force One also carries the White House press corp (how else would the media get a video of Obama making that joke), as well as Congressman and staffers on various trips. I think Hillary Clinton is using one of the "Air Force One" jets to Asia (Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, China) right now and not flying commercial.

Stephen said...

Obama won a hard fought campaign to become the President of the United States of America.

Detroit's auto executives are leading their companies to bandkruptcy...

We reward winners and punish the losers, that's the American way.

Better get use to it, sister!

Jack Bauer said...

Niniane:

I see your point, but there is a fallacy. Air Force One is not a "taxpayer-sponsored jet", just as the White House is not a "taxpayer-sponsored" house. They are both symbols of state. Just as Mr. Obama was wrong to use a pseudo presidential symbol when he was not President, it would be wrong for him to not fully inhabit the Presidency now. Yes, it is a spiffy plane, and the United States is a spiffy country.

hmf said...

Very interesting! I had a similar reaction watching this National Geographic special on Air Force One (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/on-board/all/Overview) - when the pilot (who seems quite honorable) for GWB talks about how his crew is there to cater to the President's every whim...I'm like - whoa! Wait a minute…you work for us! Your job is to take him safely from point A to B, right? I couldn't agree w/ you more Niniane, especially your comments. It's zero-sum game - $ toward Air Force One either mean less $ for (worthwhile) govt programs or add'l $ to the nat'l debt. (& Btw - if the public knew how much it cost to fly Cheney & Pelosi (among others), it would just blow you away.

Niniane said...

Stephen,

Winning the campaign is not the same as actually making positive change in the country. By your logic, those CEOs also "won" the campaign to become CEO of their respective companies, yet you called them losers.

Obama himself said in his Election Night acceptance speech that just winning the election does not mean any positive change yet. So I don't see why he should be treated with a different standard than all the CEOs in America.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for some time now because you are a very witty writer. But now I see that you are simply opinionated and not open-minded at all which I thought all good writers were. I'm disappointed. Your opinion has to be right. I'm not defending Obama (I supported Ron Paul). I'm just miffed at your attitude. I am a Chinese-American female who is in school (despite my parents who want me to marry some guy from Shanghai). I want to be a programmer and I've used you as a role model. Because there is only you. And now there is no you. Good-bye Niniane

Niniane said...

Hi Anonymous,

Good luck with your schooling! Another of my staunch closed-minded beliefs is that I support women who want to study programming, so I am glad you chose computer science over the Shanghai guy (assuming you didn't love him). Best wishes with your computer science studies.

Stephen said...

Niniane:

By winning the election, Obama did bring about positive change. Imagine if he had lost, President McCain would be probably saying that this recession is just the normal business cycle or trying to implement a stimulus plan with nothing but tax cuts.

Detroit's auto executives are losers because they are begging the US government for money. No one would begrudge them their private jets if they were not begging for taxpayer money.

Stephen

Niniane said...

Stephen,

I do not yet see any positive change in the economy. Is the economy better now than pre-Obama? No. Therefore it is not clear yet whether Obama is a "winner" or a "loser". It's possible that he will save the economy, at which time I would be happy to applaud his jokes about his jet. It's also possible that his stimulus plan will backfire and drive the economy even further downhill.

The Detriot CEOs have also come up with "stimulus plans" for their companies. Does that make them winners? You say they are losers because they are asking for taxpayer money. Is Obama not doing the same thing?

I think it's dangerous to have a false sense of accomplishment just from getting Obama elected. I voted for him, and I'm glad he got elected. But no real impact has yet been made, and it would be extremely premature to declare him a "winner" and start rewarding him at this point. The appropriate time to do that is after he actually fixes the economy.

Stephen said...

Niniane:

Air Force One is a part of the Presidential privilege. Obama won the election, therefore he is entitled to the privilege of flying Air Force One, just as he entitled to lived in the lap of luxury that is the White House.

But that's not why you object to Obama's joke, is it?

You object to Obama's joke because he is joking in the middle of the biggest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. Levity for you during this crisis is unacceptable. I disagree with you about this but certainly understand why you feel that way.

Stephen

Niniane said...

Your latest reply is so far off from my actual points that I'm giving up. Good day.

Stephen said...

What is your point then?

Most people find your severe reaction to a little joking around troubling.

michael koswara said...

niniane, its not worth talking to this poorly politically educated people (anonymus,stephen), lets just ignore them LOL,
they are trying to argue on a completely different point and trying to prove that your blogpost on this topic is wrong eventhough you actually have put an extra note at the bottom of it "i am not saying obama should not travel on AF1, but simply brag less about it."

sanjuro said...

Like it's been said before, the jet comes with the job, Obama probably doesn't see it as his jet, in a way that's what his joke underlined. What did he say exactly to the car makers? If there's really some hypocrisy in his stance (which I doubt, all of his detractors would have picked it up otherwise) you should post the old quotes to compare. At any rate, you can't deny he was right to blame the executives in the first place, can you?

Niniane said...

sanjuro, you asked for a reference on obama's criticism of jets:

"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently ordered Citigroup to cancel plans to purchase a $50 million French-made corporate jet -- a purchase the Obama administration attacked as wasteful in light of Citigroup's receipt of $45 billion in bailout funds. "

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/02/10/obama-economic-adviser-took-citigroup-jet-democratic-convention/

Anonymous said...

I really think that Niniane is overreacting. Of course we should not overreact on Niniane's overreacting...

RC

John K. Lin said...

Obama's comments today after McCain asked Obama's thoughts on the new presidential "Marine One" helicopter that was planned during the Bush administration, costing potentially $400 million, more than Air Force One.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0oex9Rt1to

Sorin said...

Executives are being chastised for flying jets while wasting their shareholders' money and bankrupting their companies. The President is flying AirForce One while wasting our money and bankrupting our country.

I don't have anything against the President for flying the plane, turning up the heat inside White House, and cracking jokes for the people that elected him, even though it seems the market loses about 100 points every time he takes the jet out to sell his economic plan.

He should stop lecturing private citizens about flying their planes or keeping their homes too cold or too hot. It makes him sound like Jimmy Carter and it exposes him to public ridicule when words can't match the act.

Great job Niniane, for pointing it out. You'll lose some readers but gain some others.

D said...

Did you know that 2 identical jets go everywhere he goes.

So it is twice as bad as you thnk enviornmentally.

The lead jet is exactly the same.

It flys in front to map weather and danger.

It also is then a backup ride should there be trouble with the main one.