Monday, November 8, 2010

The Deficit Hawks Versus the Plain Old Hawks

Englebert Humperdinck once famously crooned

After the lovin', I'm still in love with you... .

After the lovin' of last week's  GOP congressional victories, how long will the afterglow endure? I predict the next tune is Robert Cray. Because the forecast calls for pain. 

Everyone knows that the traditional conservative rant against federal overspending exempts our military. The GOP will wrap itself in as many flags as need be to ensure the security of our good fighting men at risk, protecting our freedom overseas. And to ensure funding for a new weapons program, Especially if it's in their district.

But for a hint that Boehner, Cantor, and McConell may face a cat-herding task, see below. [Hat tip to sometime amigo tillyosu over at donklephant for pointing out that Think Progress compiled these]:
OK senator Tom Coburn this week said:
Taking defense spending off the table is indefensible. We need to protect our nation, not the Pentagon’s sacred cows.
 Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul said:
In order to address the deficit the only compromise that I think we can have is you have to look at the whole budget. We’ve always excluded the military and said we’re not gonna look at the military…everything has to be on the table.
PA senator-elect Pat Toomey said:
But the fact is, there is waste pretty much everywhere in the government, and that includes the Pentagon. Part of the problem is Congress voting on systems the Pentagon doesn’t even want.
 Illinois senator-elect Mark Kirk said:
For example, I back spending restraint across the board. At the DOD like no second engine for the F-35 Fighter, closing down joint forces command, across the board reductions.
Georgia senator Johnny Isakson said:
Well first of all there’s not a government program that shouldn’t be under scrutiny. And that begins with the Department of Defense and goes all the way through.
TN senator Bob Corker said:
Everything! I mean, look, Secretary Gates will tell you there’s a lot of waste there. We need to streamline it.
 So the GOP is apparently not unanimous in extending the military's exemption into the promised era of the new austerity

Let the acrimony begin!!


  1. National security hawk and deficit hawk are not mutually exclusive terms. I consider myself to be both, and there is a lot that could be done in the Pentagon budget that would not reduce our security.

    Not directly on point, but did you see that Sen. DeMint said that a a person can't be a fiscal conservative if he/she is not a social conservative?


  2. Well, they're not necessarily mutually exclusive. But when push comes to shove, anyone who supports defense cuts as deep as cuts elsewhere will be cast as not hawkish enough.

    I support looking at the defense budget for places to cut that won't harm a 21st century conception of security. By that, I mean it makes sense to me to pit our defense efforts against terrorism moreso than against conventional armies of other nations.

    I feel bad for South Carolina that one of their senators is such a rabid ideologue so out of touch with regular folks.

  3. DeMint is doing his best to try and corral the Tea party into his own brand of social conservatism. Good luck with that. One of the most amusing (or frightening, depending on your POV) spectacles of the next couple of years will be the social conservatives ("religious right") cranking up the Cannibal Feast of trying to force the fiscal-hawk TP'ers into the so-con mold, itself as self-righteously nanny-state (albeit in a different direction) as the statist Left.

    Good luck with that -- for the most part, they don't fit. The TP people are largely plain and simple fiscal conservatives and social moderates who want government to BUTT THE EFF OUT of their lives, to get the hell out of their wallets AND their bedrooms. They don't care all that much about gays being gays as long as they're not recruiting in the schools, they are tired of screaming anti-abortion people (AND late-term pro-choicers for that matter), and they can get by just fine without government-sponsored achool prayer or creationism in the science classrooms.

    In short, they are largely the Great Middle of America, center and center-right non-partisan individualists. And they're tired of out-of-control government.

    As for how that will play out, got me. We could ask the many soon-to-be-ex-Congresscritters from centrist districts who were slaughtered on the altar of partisan unity and Big Government this month. They can provide some hints. Many of them were axed because they bought into the bullshit of a New Permanent Majority.

    As the old saying goes in the markets, bears make money and bulls make money. But pigs get slaughteed.

  4. Should have mentioned -- I get to watch this process (so-cons trying to claim ownershiup of the Tea Party demographic) up close and personal in my area. In particular I'm somewhat amused by their attempts to "purge" the GOP of anyone who does not fit their rather rigid standards of ideological purity. The noisiest purgers are invariably those who ran for office this last cycle and LOST to more mainstream Republicans and centrist Dems.

    For further illustration, the series on "The Cannibal Feast" that I wrote a couple of years back is probably useful. Of course, then it was Lefties screaming and crying and trying to whip up the mobs against Dems they saw as insufficiently Faithful to the Holy Doctrine.

    The result of any success in this regard is obvious: When the candidate is too deviant from the mainstream of their district, they get slaughtered come election time and the other party gets the seat. Whole buncha (pre-election) Blue Dogs learned the hard way that they were elected to be centrists/moderates, NOT to spearhead a far-Left expansion of the Sacred State. Just as a whole bunch of Republicans learned the two cycles before that they were not put in office in centrist/moderate districts to continue the worst excesses of the GOP.