Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We'll pay for our lousy politics with our lives

Long-shot GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee showed that he's up to speed on a broad variety of issues when he spoke up about our national infrastructure, and in particular our air traffic control system. The problem is that when his name is mentioned, most people say "Hucka-who?".

Guys like Huckabee get no press compared to the "first-tier" candidates like Romney, Giuliani, Obama and Clinton. See? I didn't even have to include first names and you knew who I was talking about.

But things like aging infrastructure don't get voters fired up the way national security and universal health care do, so Huckabee will most likely fade into obscurity, unless he's caught in bed with an alien dwarf who's carrying his love-child.

I'll add as a footnote here, since this post is really about our shitty politics, that he's right about the ATC system. One easy short-term fix for this would be to require airlines to fly less frequent runs. The small regional jets that have become so popular with the airlines take up just as much space in the ATC system as a large airliner. So if US Airways, for example, replaced four daily ERJ-145 flights from Washington to Pittsburgh with a single Boeing 757, that's three less flights per day burdening the system.

As a frequent air traveler, I'd regret having fewer choices of flight times. But knowing that the tiny RJ I'm flying on isn't in a nose-to-tail traffic jam with a bunch of other RJs would be worth it.

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