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Alabama isn't in France

The use of the term "French tanker" by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, rankles more than the French. The "flag-waving" plays well politically, noted Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register columnist George Talbot. "But consider that its chief end is to prevent Airbus and its American partner, Northrop Grumman Corp., from investing $600 million in a new U.S. assembly plant. . . . Ultimately, the problem is not that the tanker contract would be a jobs program for European workers, as Tiahrt asserted. It’s that the jobs would be located in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi instead of Washington state and Kansas. The next time Tiahrt and other pro-Boeing backers argue that Alabama isn't part of the U.S., remember that the state and its Deep South neighbors send an outsized number of young men and women into military service. And that the region, improbably, is leading the U.S. out of a recession that has crippled domestic manufacturers across the Rust Belt."