Chef, What Is a Cheeseburger?
Last month, Senator John Kennedy stumped a Biden administration appointee to the federal district court in Eastern Washington with an astonishing series of trick questions like this: “Tell me what Article 5 of the Constitution does.” The follow-up: “How about Article 2?” The nominee couldn’t answer — in fact, couldn’t begin to hint at an answer.
This week, Senator Ted Budd asked the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, who mostly has experience in bus and light rail transportation, a series of basic questions about aviation — not about policy choices, but duckies-and-bunnies FAA-focused questions like, “What are the six types of special use airspace that protect national security that appear on FAA charts?” and “What are the operational limitations of a pilot flying under BasicMed?” This is a little like screening surgeons by asking them what a kidney is. The nominee had, again, absolutely no clue at all, suggesting a cluelessness so complete it rises nearly to the level of the Buttigiegian.
During the Cultural Revolution, engineers at places like power plants, dams, and factories were replaced by political cadre — by Red Guards, credentialed primarily by political zeal. The outcome was Chernobylesque.
In the United States in 2023, a historically astonishing recent history of aviation safety appears to be at risk:
It seems like a good moment to appoint an aviation person to lead the FAA, and (by the way) to pick judges who can manage even a high school civics-level familiarity with the Constitution.
Related, at the FDA: “Marion Gruber and Phil Krause were correct to resign.” The patterns are not hard to discern.
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