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.