Whenever the budget becomes a potent political issue, liberals target two areas in the defense budget–military demonstration teams, and weapons that assure America's future dominance.
Lately, conservatives have started to join that bandwagon, to show they are not reflexively against defense cuts. This is a mistake.
The pride and patriotism stirred by the Blue Angels pays an irreplaceable dividend– and that is why liberals want to cut it. To Barack Obama is the military is a necessary evil, not something to be glorified and cheered by thrilled audiences.
This 4th of July, both were on awesome display at the Traverse City Air Show, kicking off the northern Michigan city's Cherry Festival, as one of the opening acts for the famed Blue Angels flight team was an F-22 Raptor doing a solo show off of its capabilities.
As the F-22 stood on its tail at low altitude and rocked into a straight up climb and disappeared from view in a few seconds, I understood why the Russians and Chinese would want the project scuttled. It was less clear why the United States Congress would halt a program whose costs are about 90% already incurred.
As for the Blue Angels, I talked to people who were thrilled as much by the fact that the pilots mixed with the people the day before the show, taking pictures with kids, signing autographs and being personal ambassadors for the United States Navy. However, here is just a sampling of the real event, the display of power and skill that made everyone wish they were crack Navy pilots for a thrilling hour yesterday.
All photos by David Forsmark