Johnson (Accidentally) Calls Feingold's Work to Secure Defense Contract for Oshkosh a "Managerial Marvel," Says It Saved Oshkosh | WisCommunity

Johnson (Accidentally) Calls Feingold's Work to Secure Defense Contract for Oshkosh a "Managerial Marvel," Says It Saved Oshkosh

Here's what Ron Johnson said last July when asked "how is the economy in Oshkosh?":

We've had phenominal success with Oshkosh Corporation responding to a need of our U.S. Military in terms of secure trucks and they've responded to that with, what I would say, is an engineering marvel as well as a managerial marvel to get those contracts, so I would say in Oshkosh we're doing pretty well.

Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here is the rest of the story from Oshkosh's Representative, Tom Petri, and Senators Feingold and Kohl:

In August, the U.S. Army chose Oshkosh Corporation to produce its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) at a cost of $3 billion.  The result was a howl of protest from BAE Systems, Inc., which previously produced the vehicle, and Navistar, which bid on the contract. 

In early September, each company separately urged the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to consider blocking the Oshkosh contract.  GAO agreed to look into the issue, and subsequently announced in December that, while it upheld most of the Army's decision, it recommended that the Army reevaluate some portions.  The Army was then given 60 days to reconsider the contract in light of the GAO recommendations, giving the Army until Sunday, February 14, to respond to the recommendations.

“This is great news for Oshkosh Corporation and a testament to the quality of their products and the commitment of their workforce.  This will be an economic boost to the Fox Valley and the entire state,” Senator Herb Kohl said.

“Today’s decision is great news for the Oshkosh Corporation and its employees who work every day to produce high quality vehicles and products for our Armed Forces,” Senator Russ Feingold said.  “Wisconsinites are rightfully proud of Oshkosh Corporation.  The Army’s decision shows that this Wisconsin company is the best company to provide these essential vehicles for our service members.” 

In fact, before the the GAO recomended the Oshkosh Corporation, Feingold and other members of the delegation fought-off the powerful Texas congressional delegation to keep the contract:

In an Oct. 9 letter to Gates, Wisconsin's two senators and eight members of Congress raised concerns about the tactics of the protestors, which they say are based on "inaccurate and incomplete information" to publicly criticize the Army award.

Earlier, members of the Texas delegation wrote Gates challenging the Army decision to end FMTV work at the BAE plant and requesting a briefing on the decision. Members and staffers also visited the plant to show support (Defense Daily Oct. 6).

The Wisconsin delegation members write that they "firmly" believe the GAO protest will be rejected. However, the letter said: "we are concerned with the blatant efforts to affect the outcome of this independent, quasi-judicial review by attempting to raise protest issues through a public media campaign and through improper contact with Department of Defense officials.

The best thing is that keeping the contract in the hands of the Oshkosh Corporation was the fiscally responsible thing to do:  they had a much lower bid than their Texas competitors.  As Feingold explained:

And we have companies like Oshkosh Corporation that offer the U.S. military outstanding products at a low cost. Yet Oshkosh saw its contract questioned by members of Congress who want to bring that contract home to their districts, even though it would mean a higher bill for taxpayers.

So, there you have it:  The "managerial marvel" that secured government funding that Ron Johnson credits for saving Oshkosh's economy was none other than Russ Feinogold and the rest of the Wisconsin congressional delegation.  

And, yes, there is of course the obvious hypocrisy of Ron "government doesn't create jobs" Johnson crediting the goverment for creating jobs and helping Oshkosh weather the economic storm, but I'm beginning to think Johnson doesn't fundamentally understand how government works and just parrots rightwing radio talking points and that such criticism is unfair.

After all, someone can't really be a hippocrite if they don't understand or think about what they are saying.


October 8, 2010 - 8:43am