On a Sunday talk show Newt Gingrich announced he was reviving one of Abraham Lincoln’s campaign strategies – (this is not an endorsement of either Newt or Lincoln – merely a report). He noted that Lincoln wanted to debate Stephen Douglas back in 1858 but Douglas would have nothing to do with it. Lincoln promised that wherever Douglas spoke, he would show up a week later. Naturally the news media of the day carried Lincoln’s rebuttal and Douglas saw he wasn’t getting the last word. Thus the famous Lincoln – Douglas debates ensued.
Newt wants to debate Obama, assuming he becomes the nominee, and he brought a modern twist to the discussion. Wherever the President speaks, Newt said he would be there four hours later to deliver his response. There’s only one way to do that – General Aviation! All the candidates and the President use GA. (Air Force One is the world’s largest GA aircraft – owned by the taxpayers and operated by the military – in my opinion only). Late breaking news – Rick Santorum chartered a jet to make 5 cities in one day in SC – you sure won’t do that by bus! It’s the only way the candidates can do business or take time off for a needed quick vacation. Isn’t it just a mite hypocritical to blast the use of personal aircraft when they are so essential to running a business or enjoying your personal life? Rhetorical question, of course.
GA continues to be under attack from various directions. We’ll stay out of the politics since it isn’t appropriate for the Foundation to engage but you might be enlightened by Craig Fuller’s blog this week regarding user fees.
While AOPA fights the political battle, your AOPA Foundation will push into 2012 on the education front: safety education for all pilots, preservation of GA airports, growing the pilot population and finally promoting the perception of GA. We’re wrapping up the numbers for 2011 and you’ll see them here first. We’ll leave the politics to AOPA but you can help in the aforementioned areas by making a donation or by volunteering to get someone interested in flying or helping to protect your airport.
Just remind your non-aviation friends how all GA makes everyone more efficient – not just politicians. Our aircraft are truly time machines.