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Funny: Obama is now positioning the Democratic party as the defender of the military against House Republicans eager to gut it, stealing yet another plank from the GOP platform, having already largely co-opted the tax issue by rather successfully portraying himself as the defender of middle class tax cuts against Republicans holding them hostage to protect the rich. The GOP's message to the voter going forward will be: give corporations their private jets and their corporate welfare, let us rob the difference from your retirement, or else we will blow up the military.

Republicans ought to be careful: they're in real danger of being played as villains in another Obama morality play, having their perceived strength in terms of national security even further eroded along the way. Which is exactly what will happen, because they are reckless, and won't know any better until after 2014 when Bobby Jindal is back admonishing their stupidity.

To quote another dkos'er, this is shaping up to be another Obama bullseye without him appearing to have been aiming. I wish I could ascribe the ruthless cunning of a Machiavelli to the situation, but once again it seems that by staking out an utterly reasonable position Obama has put the Republicans into another untenable quandary. The House GOP will almost certainly fold, but not before engaging in yet another protracted battle in which they will be on the wrong side of public opinion and prove themselves to be a national embarrassment.

The long term implications are even more important, though. Fairly or unfairly, the GOP has been the party associated with a strong national defense at least since Reagan. It is now the Democrats protecting the military from enormous cuts coming out of the Republican House. From protecting middle class tax breaks from the Tea Party, to getting the House GOP to raise taxes on the wealthy, to getting Republicans on board with immigration reform, to now this, it's like we're in a black is white, up is down world in which Republicans stand for literally nothing at all.

As a progressive, I'd like to see our military ramped down significantly. But in the current political calculus, I think the prospects for progressive initiatives will be better served in the long term if we get behind Obama in protesting these GOP-initiated* defense cuts, as it will serve to fulfill Boehner's prophecy of his own party's annihilation.

* Intended to be a factual statement, since the Budget Control Act of 2011 was first passed in the Republican-controlled House - by a much larger margin among House Republicans than Democrats, I might add - before being approved by the Senate and signed into law.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shades of Missile Gap nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, defluxion10, cynndara

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 06:26:59 PM PST

  •  GOP will offer to wall off DoD spending... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Shahryar, Mr Robert, cynndara

    However than it means they need to gut SS and Medicare/Medicaid in order to get near the desired cuts without raising revenues.  

    Pres Obama will fall into the trap of naming the earned benefits cuts first.  

    GOP is supporting the sequester cuts because SS/Medicare/Medicaid are walled off, so if Pres Obama wants to prevent the sequester cuts it means he wants to cut entitlements.  

    What Pres Obama should do is find all the revenues in closing the loopholes and then subtract that from the sequester cuts and then support the remaining sequester cuts - with the walled off programs still not touched.

    This would put the focus back on the GOP for their cuts only strategy - they want to cut the military and education rather than closing loopholes and tax shelters on millionaires.  

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 06:35:29 PM PST

  •  President Obama is protecting the economy (7+ / 0-)

    Defense spending is our economy.

    The spending can be diverted into a different investment that employs people -- like nation-building at home.

    But, these cuts are meant to remove spending from the economy.

    At this point, with our fragile economy, these cuts are the kiss of death.

    Until the public changes its mind about our self-manufactured war on terror -- progressives don't have a hope in this arena -- in terms of a slow pivot toward internal investment.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 06:40:45 PM PST

    •  yes, as mentioned elsewhere (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, defluxion10

      our "defense" spending is more than 40% of the entire world's military budget. And, since we've shipped the rest of our manufacturing to foreign factories, we have to protect our specialty.

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, defluxion10, cynndara

      While it sounds good to cut billions from DoD in one fell swoop, it's going to have a big impact on the economy. Look at what a drop in defense spending in Q4 did to GDP.

      If the spending cuts go through as planned, its going to hurt the economy. Alot. That's what they were intended to do. The whole idea behind the sequester was that the cuts would be so devastating that neither party wanted them.

      •  I might wager over recession vs depression. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        defluxion10, MRobDC, qofdisks

        God knows, it would cripple much of the global economy. We do not spend in a vacuum. The feedback loop would kill us.

        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 07:08:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My non-DoD federal office (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto, cynndara

          Is going to get slammed with pretty significant budget cuts if the sequester goes through as is. And they are still going to be expected to meet program mandates or else they will be threatened with even bigger budget cuts.

          Which means the hammer isn't going to fall on the program stuff. It's going to fall on HR. They're trying to avoid them, but there are rumblings that there could be rolling furloughs if not outright RIFs. As it is, they're holding positions open that should be filled because when the time comes to actually make the cuts, they can axe those positions first and try to save everybody else's jobs. But my office is budgeted for 20 and we're operating on 10 as it is.

    •  Republicans shifted vast DoD $ to red states (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, cynndara

      It was a core pillar of the K Street project. Base closure impacts in the 1990s were hugely disproportional in nailing blue states. New weapons contracts were overwhelmingly awarded to companies establishing or expanding production in red states (mostly the south). When I lived in DC, I heard of K street sessions attended by Delay himself to map out a 10-year plan to execute this shift.

      Protecting defense spending is not exactly protecting "our" economy - its protecting Rick Perry's economy.

      Given that my state had most of its defense jobs ripped away by Dick Armey and the Hammer, and given that reactionary gerrymandered red states will now suffer disproportionately without their government pork sluices, I'm not that unhappy with the sequester.

      Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

      by Minerva on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 08:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not entirely true, but not entirely false (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        IIRC, by defense spending as a %age of state GDP, the top two states are purple Virginia and deep-blue Connecticut.

        We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

        by Samer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:51:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I see it as a football field (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10, qofdisks, cynndara

    well, not really. This is a simplification, of course.

    But let's say the 50 yard line divides the philosophies of the parties and those who vote for the parties, with Democrats on your left and Republicans on your right.

    Now if the Republicans, for some ungodly reason, decide to retreat on their side of the field towards their end zone...let's say they move to their own 20 (as in "they go crazy right wing")...they leave the field open for the Democrats to go marching into previously Republican territory. The Democrats would now control most of the field and thus, the votes.

    The problem with this is that taking over that territory means...well, taking it on! And that means becoming more like Republicans of old.

    There is also the concept that you can only hold so much ground, thus if you venture deep into the other side's part of the field you risk losing votes out the back end!

  •  Only Nixon could go to China (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps only Obama could permanently institutionalize the eternal expansion of the pentagon, and the criminal police-state practices of the Bush Administration.

    Obama does about 5 things before breakfast every day that, if done by Bush in 2005, would have triggered inconsolable caterwauling by people of good conscience.

    But, hey, he's our guy - so are you in?

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 07:55:13 PM PST

  •  I'm the wife of a Navy retiree. (0+ / 0-)

    FIRST thing the Republicans will likely cut is pensions for those ALREADY retired--followed by doubling (or more) Tricare premiums and co-pays, something they;ve been longing to do for years. The only thing that kept them from doing this before was the presence of Kerry.

    And while I know a lot of people here would liek to see the military drawn down, I also suspect you don't understand the sacrifices military families make. Wives with graduate degrees are either unemployed or underemployed because of frequent moves.  Active duty people put in long hours for not-so-hot pay.  My husband was an E, and I can tell you that he usually worked his shift, then got called back in to solve problems for the night shift, which meant his day frequently ran 12 hours for a lot less than he'd have made as a union employee.   He was also gone for long periods of time on deployments, and sometimes in danger (actually if you work a flight deck, you're always in danger).   And the pay sucks, and the housing allowance never comes close to paying the real costs of rent and utilities, which is why people are willing to live in substandard housing in order to save the 20% of rent and the cost of electricity and heat  they'd have to pay off base.

    Don't balance the budget on the backs of people who've already given 20+ years.  

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 08:32:47 PM PST

  •  military cuts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye54, cynndara

    are not "across the board" type of cuts. Certain programs, projects, and development (say, the development of new jet fighter engines and other new military technology).  It has always been portrayed that when Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney made a vast expansion of military spending that they were putting that into the troops, except we know that was not true - they were putting into Blackwater and Halliburton and all the piggies of military contracting that hang off the teat of the Pentagon budget, while denying body armor to enlisted soldiers in Baghdad.  So not all 'military spending' is equal.  We also know the Obama administration has been attempting to deal with support of the troops - such as the Veterans Job Act.  The GOP has been perfectly content to acknowledge the sacrifices and injuries of its vets, many of whom have untreated PTSD, by letting them become homeless and jobless after their health has been affected permanently and it took the Obama administration to actually address it.  Now the customer care department at AT&T as often as not will route you to a retired vet, whose job came with a tax incentive from the Veterans Job act which is excellent policy which is not 'military budget' per se, at least I don't think it is.

    In short, I don't think the GOP "starve the beast" fiscal-conservative posturing has ever been real; it's been an excuse - they voted for these wars, they voted for the Bush spending, they did it not because they want the deficit to shrink - just as saint Reagan never stood for fiscal prudence either.  The Obama administration's spending-to-deficit-increase percentage is the lowest since Eisenhower.  And not because of the GOP Congress forcing his hand: there has been precious little new legislation - and remember, the GOP has bargained to keep its OWN pork and tax increases for the rich at the expense of the deficit.  So they're lying all the time to cater to the fiction that they represent fiscal sanity, and that's all to keep their seats in Congress with fiscal conservative voters who naively vote for them and have never figured out the shell game.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 10:51:52 PM PST

    •  Which reveals another GOP lie about mental health (0+ / 0-)

      Because if they were actually concerned about mental health leading to gun violence they would never cut funding from the VA, especially for PTSD. Note, a vet w/ PTSD killed our top sniper this weekend.

  •  He Took Osama Bin Laden Away From Them Too..... (0+ / 0-)

    Bin Laden was the bogey man they used to trot out to keep us scared.  Up until then, Republicans were the ones who kept us safe.  

  •  Look carefully over here.... (0+ / 0-)

    I guess Obama needs something to divert our attention while he  eliminates the availability of high paying jobs for U.S. citizens.

    Clearly, Obama cares about Obama.   He couldn't care less about U.S. citizens trying to find work in this country.    It's exactly the same as Romney's "binders full of women".   Obama just can't seem to find a single qualified person in this country to take a high tech job.    

  •  'Reducing the deficit" is another GOP grift (0+ / 0-)

    If they were actually interested in reducing the deficit they would accept more revenue, but that reveals an even bigger GOP lie: that they are opposed to new taxes or tax increases. If you look at the Brownback/Jindal models in Kansas and Louisiana, you see that they have massively increased taxes on the poor and middle class. The reality is that they only want to cut taxes on the wealthy and cut spending on everyone else, especially if it has nothing to with defense, which creates jobs, thereby revealing a third lie that the government doesn't create jobs.

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