Imperial Air Stunts, Then and Now

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So the Obama administration, conducting a propaganda photo op of Air Force One soaring over the Statue of Liberty, sent one of its fleet of pimped-out 747 jetliners to fly lazy circles in the skies above New York City.

The White House didn’t deign to inform Mayor Bloomberg that it would be monopolizing prime airspace. Nor did they inform residents that the odd aerial display was a taxpayer-funded exercise in political vanity, rather than a possible reprise of the worst day in the city’s recent history.

This episode tidily embodied the imperial arrogance and bottomless self-absorption of the Obama administration. Those traits are hardly unique to that president and his ruling clique, of course — and this isn’t the first time taxpayer-funded executive branch aircraft have been used in potentially dangerous maneuvers devoted to silly propaganda purposes.

In July 2006, in a stunt intended to rally the “NASCAR demographic” behind the Republicans during a mid-term congressional campaign, the ambulatory wad of evil known as Dick Cheney “buzzed” Daytona International Speedway in Air Force Two just prior to the Pepsi 400 stock car race.

The specially equipped 757-200 made a pass over the race track at an altitude of roughly 1,000 feet before landing at a nearby airstrip. Cheney then made a couple of circuits on the track in a black SUV before posing in front of a giant American flag with the event’s 43 drivers arrayed behind him as living props.

Both of those incidents dramatically illustrate just what our rulers think of us: We’re either “resources” to be deployed as they see fit, props to be exploited for their PR purposes, or masses to be manipulated in the service of their ambitions.

11:40 pm on April 27, 2009