Monday, February 25, 2013


I think this, from the lead story in today's print New York Times, misses the point:
With Congress unlikely to stop deep automatic spending cuts that will strike hard at the military, the fiscal stalemate is highlighting a significant shift in the Republican Party: lawmakers most keenly dedicated to shrinking the size of government are now more dominant than the bloc committed foremost to a robust national defense, particularly in the House.
"Robust national defense"? Is that the right way to describe what the John McCains and the Lindsey Grahams and the Bill Kristols want? Or is being in favor of lavish military spending and every possible intervention just what these guys consider an effective posture against a party they've portrayed for forty years as sandal-wearing hippies putting flowers in gun barrels?

As I see it, the intraparty dispute is between a crop of old-school posturers who think it's effective to demand lots of military spending all the time, in order to draw a contrast with evil peacenik Democrats ... and a new crop, who are focusing on cutting government spending (including military spending) right now, but who are also likely to attack Democrats as anti-military later, if and when these cuts take effect.

You just wait: Rand Paul and a tiny handful of other Paulite Republicans may sincerely want to cut the defense budget and reduce U.S. military commitments, but the rest of these guys want the cuts to take effect on a Democratic president's watch because they want to blame a Democrat for them. The only real difference between these guys and the old-school hawks is that the old-school hawks think you attack Democrats as peaceniks by demanding maximal militarism at all times, while the new crowd is sacrificing a pawn, on the assumption that anything Republicans force into the budget while a Democrat is in the Oval Office will be blamed on the Democrat. It's a difference of tactics.

Do you seriously think the GOP isn't going to run against Hillary Clinton (or whomever) in 2016 by accusing Democrats of making America weak? Do you think the Republican candidate isn't going to do precisely what Mitt Romney did in 2012, which was to simultaneously demand austerity and a huge increase in defense spending? I know Conor Friedersdorf and Glenn Greenwald will be along any minute to tell us that this could be a real sea change in the GOP -- but it's not. The party's Benghazi obsession tells us it's not. Yes, there are two wings of the party, but their big difference is on the question of whether to say "Democrats weaken America!" now or later.


Victor said...


And watch, as the cuts in the military happen, these same evil assclowns will be screaming that Obama and the Democrats are targeting their Red Districts/States, while they keep sending money to the Blue ones.

Which, to tell the truth, is exactly what SHOULD happen!!!

But, sadly, won't...

Philo Vaihinger said...

Should the US withdraw from Korea? From Japan?

This peacenik talk is just partisan boilerplate if you aren't serious about a significant drawdown in US military commitments.

Victor said...

Once we get out of Afghanistan (mostly), we can certainly start to bring back some of the troops we've kept over there in Europe for almost 70 years, to keep it safe from the invading Soviet hordes.

I'd keep the troops in S. Korea and Japan a while longer, to keep the pressure on Lil' Kim and the N. Koreans, to keep remindting them what a bad idea an invasion of their Southern neighbor would turn out to be.

Bulworth said...

"...but the rest of these guys want the cuts to take effect on a Democratic president's watch because they want to blame a Democrat for them."


BH said...

On the money as usual, Steve. And I'd go one further - it wouldn't shock me in the least if Rand Paul himself(with a Prezzy run in mind) were to, sooner than later, achieve enlightenment as to the absolute necessity of spending everything gettable on the Pentagon - or rather, the irresistibility of reprising the "Yalta-sellout/who lost China?" GOP theme song.

Ten Bears said...

Yes Philo, and every where else. While we still can.

You've heard of the Pincher Movement (manuever)? I'm pretty sure our hunter/gatherer ancestors figured that one out by accident. Works well, none the less. Be a damned shame if all those kids were abandoned in hostile territory somewhere (everywhere) around the world. But it isn't outside the realm of possibility. We bought that farm.

No fear...