The Economist on the F-22 vote:
The secretary of defence did not want to add to the programme. Nor did the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nor did the Air Force’s two senior leaders. Yet 40 senators still thought they knew better.
Now, I’m convinced that on the merits, the “anti-more-F-22s” side is easily on the right side of the debate, but nonetheless in a representative democracy it properly is the elected officials—including the 40 pro-F-22 senators, however misguided—who should be deciding whether to spend billions of taxpayers’ money on weapons systems, and not members of the armed forces or a political appointee who’s never been elected to or sought public office. Certainly I hope The Economist is not suggesting that senators and representatives should always defer to the preferences of the military and the executive branch, even when their views are held in unanimity.
As an aside, the F-22’s demise also will prove a useful lesson to Lockheed and other defense contractors in the future: next time, ensure the contract’s jobs are in as many states as possible.