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Boeing can beat EADS

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, said it well upon hearing that European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. would be going it alone in another bid to win the Pentagon's air-refueling tanker contract. The "announcement demonstrates what many of us already knew — that Northrop Grumman was merely an American paint job on a French tanker," Tiahrt said in a statement. And most Americans would agree with Tiahrt and other pro-Boeing Kansans in Congress that U.S. defense jobs are best handled by U.S. companies, especially when the only other alternative is a company heavily subsidized by European countries that is pushing an untested, outsize tanker. Tiahrt should have stopped there, though, rather than accuse the Obama administration of dangerously "bending over backward to pacify European lobbying requests." Especially with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the job, there is no reason to expect that the bidding will be unfair or influenced by partisanship. And even with EADS vowing to undercut Boeing on price, there is every reason to think that Boeing can handle some competition and prevail in the end, finally bringing badly needed jobs to Wichita and overdue new tankers to the U.S. Air Force.