Will the Texas A&M Aggies save the bacon of the University of California?

Politics makes strange bedfellows – even (or especially) academic politics. And Janet Napolitano may be corrupt, but she is also very wily, a political infighter who understands well the ground rule of politics, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Her egregious behavior in suborning the fixing of a state audit that was measuring her performance in office was exposed at an awkward time, just as her employer, the University of California, had to bid to renew its prestigious and lucrative contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Since the security of the nation’s nuclear stockpile is at issue there, evidence of corruption raises the loudest possible alarms about institutional reliability.

Even worse, two Texas university systems – the University of Texas and Texas A&M – were planning to bid against Cal. Tongues wagged all over the Golden State that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, whose agency would decide on the contract, was a Texan and an alumnus of A&M.

With the bids due Monday, tongues are again wagging, this time reporting the likelihood that the bid from the Napolitano camp will include a big surprise.  Ralph K.M. Haurwitz of the Austin American-Statesmen used anonymous sources to scoop rest of the media with a report that a new alliance was created:

The governing board of the A&M System voted unanimously in October to pursue the Los Alamos contract, and the University of California board followed suit last month. The American-Statesman has learned from sources that the two systems are partners. Bids are due Monday.

“We can neither confirm nor deny whether we are submitting a proposal or if there are partners involved,” A&M spokeswoman Marilyn M. Martell said.

“We’re not going to talk about anything with regard to our bid strategy at this time,” said Gary Falle, with UC’s federal governmental relations office, although he added that the university was working “diligently” to finish its proposal by Monday’s deadline.

If this proves to be true, which seems likely since it isn’t being vehemently denied, JNap will have pulled off a backdoor masterstroke, giving up exclusivity in return for a perceived thumb on the scale. It is classic swamp politics, fighting on the basis of behind-the-stage political maneuvering rather than on merit. Half a loaf being better than none, if the bid succeeds, she will be scored a victory, even though it is a comedown to be co-equal for a school UT Longhorns spend a lifetime disparaging.

Aggies may hate California, but they hate their tormentors at the University of Texas even more.  

Politics makes strange bedfellows – even (or especially) academic politics. And Janet Napolitano may be corrupt, but she is also very wily, a political infighter who understands well the ground rule of politics, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Her egregious behavior in suborning the fixing of a state audit that was measuring her performance in office was exposed at an awkward time, just as her employer, the University of California, had to bid to renew its prestigious and lucrative contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Since the security of the nation’s nuclear stockpile is at issue there, evidence of corruption raises the loudest possible alarms about institutional reliability.

Even worse, two Texas university systems – the University of Texas and Texas A&M – were planning to bid against Cal. Tongues wagged all over the Golden State that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, whose agency would decide on the contract, was a Texan and an alumnus of A&M.

With the bids due Monday, tongues are again wagging, this time reporting the likelihood that the bid from the Napolitano camp will include a big surprise.  Ralph K.M. Haurwitz of the Austin American-Statesmen used anonymous sources to scoop rest of the media with a report that a new alliance was created:

The governing board of the A&M System voted unanimously in October to pursue the Los Alamos contract, and the University of California board followed suit last month. The American-Statesman has learned from sources that the two systems are partners. Bids are due Monday.

“We can neither confirm nor deny whether we are submitting a proposal or if there are partners involved,” A&M spokeswoman Marilyn M. Martell said.

“We’re not going to talk about anything with regard to our bid strategy at this time,” said Gary Falle, with UC’s federal governmental relations office, although he added that the university was working “diligently” to finish its proposal by Monday’s deadline.

If this proves to be true, which seems likely since it isn’t being vehemently denied, JNap will have pulled off a backdoor masterstroke, giving up exclusivity in return for a perceived thumb on the scale. It is classic swamp politics, fighting on the basis of behind-the-stage political maneuvering rather than on merit. Half a loaf being better than none, if the bid succeeds, she will be scored a victory, even though it is a comedown to be co-equal for a school UT Longhorns spend a lifetime disparaging.

Aggies may hate California, but they hate their tormentors at the University of Texas even more.  

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