Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Short-changing the military in the wrong ways.
Last year's screaming over the debt ceiling was quite the theater, wasn't it? A game of brinkmanship (a big word for "chicken"), with some Republicans really interested in burning down the house, playing crime movies to cheer themselves up, and acting unrepentant when our bond ratings went down. (We actually did OK in spite of that, because as bad as we'd gotten, so much of Europe was worse than us. Too bad "Hey, I didn't put us in a bind like Greece's!" isn't on any GOP bumperstickers.) The resulting dance which came out of it -- a supercommittee would be formed, would be impotent, and would be ignored, followed by sequestration agreements which the GOP is trying to ignore -- was apparently no threat at all. In addition to the GOP trying to fend off defense cuts, Panetta himself has been talking about how disastrous defense cuts would be, giving the GOP room to welch on their agreement.
So basically, the GOP is against defense cuts. They're not alone: defense manufacturers have their factories all over the country, so any cut that hits a weapons program threatens Democrats, too, and they will rise up. But the difference between the GOP and the Democrats is that the debt ceiling bill threatened Republicans mostly through defense cuts, and Democrats mostly through cuts to social programs. So if Democrats complain, they're "only" thinking about their district, not threatening to welch on an agreement. Like I said, theater.
So what do we make of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)? Camp Lejeune is in his state (see correction below), and its water poisoned the Marines who were based there, as well as their families. He's blocking a bill sponsored by a fellow Republican that would help provide health care for the victims of the contaminated water. Blocked it because he's concerned about potential fraud. This is a man who is cutting off his nose to spite his face. It reeks of intransigence, huffing and puffing and all sorts of posturing as he frets about protecting tax payers.
Compared to all the waste in government spending, this is where he chooses to draw a line? At the expense of all the legitimate victims? So much for "support the troops."
CORRECTION: Camp Lejeune is in North Carolina, as pointed out in the comments. And as pointed out in the article itself. The mistake is completely mine.
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(DISCLOSURE: I work for Abt SRBI. My company does polling. My opinions should not be construed as representing those of my employer.)