Leahy has never met with Vermonters most in harm's way from the F-35 and came out in support of the $400 billion-and-growing WMD before the Air Force impact statement was made public. (Vermont Public Radio said its cost would be more than $1 trillion.)
Despite their left-leaning images, both Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch have kept very low profiles on the F-35, though both have expressed public support. Vermont congressional delegation comprises all Democrats.
The same day Leahy's office was turning away his constituents, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was making fun of his. That was while he was flying to Florida, surrounded by military and other F-35 supporters to make a show of personally listening to the plane take off and land in the rain.
"I'm shocked at how quiet the F-35 is,'' Gov. Shumlin said, according to an Associated Press report that omitted the fact that the governor was listening with headphones on. AP also reported, erroneously, that "the trip was funded for [sic] by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp., which supports basing the F-35s in Vermont."
In fact the Industrial Corp. picked up only the cost of the private jet ferrying cheerleaders for the plane to Eglin Air Force base. The cost of respective state, local, and federal employees, as well as the cost of using the F-35 and other equipment for the show-and-tellt was borne by the appropriate taxpayers.
While most media coverage of these official performances was insubstantial, Paul Heintz in Seven Days had a more probing view in his weekly listing of the week's winners and losers. Among the losers, he listed:
F-35 proponents --
It's hard to see what politicians backing the basing of F-35 fighter jets in South Burlington gained from their trip this week to Eglin Air Force Base, other than a lot more flack from skeptical opponents. Gov. Peter Shumlin's remark to VPR's Kirk Carapezza that the jets' critics have "fertile imaginations" seemed particularly insensitive to those whose livelihoods are wrapped up in houses on the planes' flight path.
And why exactly won't Sen. Patrick Leahy personally meet with F-35 opponents, as they demanded this week ?