Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This Politico article by Carrie Budoff Brown might generate some conspiracies theories from the Obama's-a-Manchurian-Republican wing of the left, but really, what Brown's suggesting is silly:

For once, the unthinkable in Washington seemed within reach. From liberals to tea party conservatives to a defense secretary who served in a Republican administration, all agreed -- it was time to begin reining in the Pentagon budget.

Then along came Libya.

Just as the debt debate ramps up on Capitol Hill, the lead role the United States is playing in the military action against Libya threatens to scramble an emerging consensus over the need to trim defense to reduce the deficit....

Oh, please. First of all, what emerging consensus is Brown talking about? Recall what happened when Haley Barbour dipped a toe into these waters and suggested that maybe we could kinda-sorta think about maybe cutting the Pentagon budget a little bit. As Brown herself notes, with some apparent astonishment, none of his potential rivals followed suit:

While Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential Republican presidential candidate, broke from the GOP pack this month to endorse defense cuts, other leading possible candidates -- Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney -- don’t agree. This is no small thing: In a presidential cycle, lawmakers often take their cues from their party’s leading candidates.

In fact, Barbour was immediately attacked by the likes of Pawlenty and Bill Kristol -- and that was before the UN vote on the no-fly zone in Libya. Even then, the idea was all but taboo on the right.

Imagine for a moment that we had a genuinely progressive president who was really disengaging America from its ruinous wars and avoiding military involvement in the new Middle Eastern conflicts. Imagine, further, that this president was calling for Pentagon cuts. Would that lead the now-dominant Republicans in Congress to follow suit? Forget it. They'd be saying the president was "weakening" and "unilaterally disarming" America. They'd have avoided any Gingrichy flip-flops -- they'd be demanding action in Libya immediately. (As it is, we have the likes of McCain and Giuliani demanding Qaddafi's head right now, as Lieberman ponders action against Syria.)

So spare me any conspiracy theories about how crypto-Republican Obama launched these air strikes just as budget negotiations got under way, just to make sure that there wouldn't be any military cuts. There wouldn't have been real cuts in any case -- Democrats wouldn't have the guts, and on the right, the we're-number-1!!! war lovers still dominate, and will prevail for the foreseeable future.


You'd think they might not prevail with an America-hating, UN-loving Muslim socialist totalitarian in office -- you'd think righties would want to keep the weapons out of his hands. But somehow their fears of Democratic fascism always drop away when they're confronted with the option of forgoing a bit of the usual highly stimulating military bloat. They always think they want to have all that weaponry and money around for future use by a "real" (i.e., Republican) president.

I will add that it's possible we'll go at the military budget in a real way if, in the future, Wingnuttia is dominated by the now-youthful Paulbots. They'll be as crazy as the current elderly teabaggers on everything else, but they might talk some sense on Pentagon spending. But that'll happen decades from now, if at all.

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