Rep. Norm Dicks was patting himself on the back today after the Pentagon decided to delay the new Air Force tanker bid process until after a new administration takes office. But the irony is that the delay is more likely the result of Republican rather than Democrat politics - and that John McCain, the man who helped sink Boeing's original tanker bid, is now the man who may have saved Boeing's chance to re-bid.
The Pentagon clearly didn't want to make a decision while he's running for president, and Boeing, along with Dicks et al, has been beseeching the Defense Department to delay the process. As the Washington Post reports today:
Some analysts said that they had expected the Pentagon to put out its final request for proposals last week but that they believe the administration postponed it because of the Republican convention and worries about bad press. Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain had been a harsh critic of an earlier agreement to lease refueling tankers from Boeing after a procurement scandal unfolded and ended the deal.
Boeing leaders said they supported the Pentagon's move to postpone the decision, saying in a statement that it would give military leaders "the appropriate time for this important and complex procurement to be conducted in a thorough and open competition."