Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
If there is one enduring truth it is that Republicans lie – often and repeatedly – as a regular element of their coordinated media strategy. They get away with it only because a complicit news media never holds them accountable for their lies.
Case in point: Defense Secretary Robert Gates (first appointed by President Bush) released the Department of Defense budget this week calling for a fundamental reorganization of Pentagon priorities and an overall 4% increase in defense spending (Afghanistan and Iraq are now included in the budget and the costs are no longer hidden in emergency supplemental budgets, as George W. Bush did for the past eight years). Media Reports Major Defense Budget Cuts As Obama Proposes Increase In Defense Budget:
The big news from yesterday (still settling in across Washington) is that President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates teamed up to propose a sweeping overhaul of the defense budget–calling for the elimination of unnecessary systems and spending the savings on special forces, intelligence equipment, and other tools of counterinsurgent warfare.
In other words, by retooling the Pentagon, Obama and Gates plan to move a lot of money around, but they also plan to increase the overall defense budget. In the final year of the Bush administration (and excluding the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) the defense budget was $513 billion. In FY 2010, if Gates and Obama get their way, it will be $534 billion–$534 billion that will be spent much differently than last year's outlays were.
But you'd never know that from the news coverage.
Here's just one example. David Kurtz reported at Talking Points Memo in "Contessa?!?"
Contessa Brewer had on former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, one of that vanishing breed of moderate New England Republicans, and asked him "about this cut in defense spending." To his credit, Cohen corrected her: "By the way, it's not a cut. It's a four percent increase."
But note the MSNBC chyron:
As reported by Brian Beutler at Talking Point Memo The 'Defense Spending Cuts' Meme Grows:
But while there is some evidence that there is early opposition within the Pentagon to some specific cuts, Gates has, once again, proposed a budget whose bottom line is higher than last year's.
That's not stopping Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee from piling on, though.
The committee's ranking member, John McHugh, said, "[i]f implemented, this proposal will be tantamount to an $8 billion cut in defense spending," though he seems to be using a peculiar definition of "tantamount".
He is joined by Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), who tied the supposed cuts to the financial sector bailout and the stimulus. "Today's announcement of defense cuts is a reaction to the fiscal strain caused by trillions in bailout and stimulus spending, rather than a result of regular strategic review and overall threat analysis," Forbes said.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) joined in the fun, arguing that "[w]hile President Obama is pushing for mind-boggling increases in domestic spending, the one place he wants to cut spending is defense"
"This makes no sense," Akin went on, "not only because the world is not becoming safer, but because these cuts will eliminate thousands of well-paying jobs across America."
And Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released a peculiar statement diffusing responsibility for the budget's authorship–"Secretary Gates, acting on behalf of the Obama administration, has recommended some serious changes to the FY2010 defense budget"–and then lambasting it: "I strongly urge the administration to reconsider these drastic defense spending cuts that will weaken our national security," Lamborn said.
These Republicans are joined by, so far, a lone Democrat–Dan Boren of Oklahoma, and also a member of the Armed Services Committee. Boren joined much of the Oklahoma delegation in criticizing the Gates proposal in a series of statements reprinted on the website of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).
In a separate report, Talking Points Memo reported that: [I] don't think anyone has gone quite as far as Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK):
While President Obama's short changing of America's Armed Forces is deeply disappointing, it is – unfortunately – not a surprise. Throughout his campaign and during his short tenure as President, he has made it clear that he believes his charm and eloquence are adequate substitutes for a strong military. That will not work. Whether President Obama knows it or not, President Bush's foreign enemies were also America's enemies. He cannot charm them out of their opposition to our country. The cuts announced today, however, take that naivete to a dangerous new level. I intend to do everything I can to make sure they do not actually occur.
But I'll give the prize for going too far to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who violated one of the long-held rules of American foreign policy – he dared to criticize the President while on foreign soil (something Republicans always harp about). Ed Schultz, the liberal radio talker who started his new program on MSNBC this week, "The Ed Show," featured Sen. Inhofe in this feature segment, "Psycho Talk":
So what is really going on here? "Oklahoma stands to lose quite a bit if Gates gets his way–he has proposed the elimination of the so-called Future Combat Systems, a program which is produced in part in The Sooner State." Ah yes, the military-industrial-congressional complex that President Eisenhower warned us against.
Where does our own mavericky Senator John McCain, the guy who professes to be an expert on defense, come down on Secretary Gate's Defense budget? It looks like old "Maverick" is a big supporter. Here's Sen. McCain's press release:
McCain Senate Press Release – STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN IN RESPONSE TO SECRETARY GATES' ANNOUNCEMENT ON A FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT IN DEFENSE SPENDING AND PRIORITIES
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement in response to Secretary Gates’ announcement on a fundamental shift in Defense spending and priorities:
“I strongly support Secretary Gates’ decision to restructure a number of major defense programs. It has long been necessary to shift spending away from weapon systems plagued by scheduling and cost overruns to ones that strike the correct balance between the needs of our deployed forces and the requirements for meeting the emerging threats of tomorrow,” said Senator John McCain. “Today’s announcement is a major step in the right direction. I believe Secretary Gates’ decision is key to ensuring that the defense establishment closes the gap between the way it supports current operations and the way it prepares for future conventional threats.
“I also greatly appreciate that Secretary Gates continues to place the highest priority on supporting the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.”
Looks like old Maverick didn't get the GOP talking points memo. And for a guy who is constantly on television because the McMedia loves to interview him, McCain has been noticeably absent from television this week to defend Secretary Gate's Defense budget in the face of the lies being told by his fellow Republicans. Could it be that he does not want to be seen as defending Obama's military restructuring plan? Is Maverick about to be on the outs again with the Republican party? Stay tuned …