Conservatives opposed the legislation that created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the so-called super committee) because our officials have no intentions of truly addressing the spending problems plaguing our nation. We also opposed it because it hands the power of the entire Congress to a small group of increasingly unaccountable individuals and because it was a setup by the Democrats that will force the nation to either (a) give them whatever they want and allow them to spend the country into oblivion or (b) force the majority of cuts in spending to come from the Department of Defense.
Perhaps this will end up being a public relations disaster for the Democrats. But perhaps not. Instead, it very well may be a PR disaster for Republicans and conservatives. Here’s why.
Now that military leaders must consider how to deal with budget slashes to the DOD, they are forced to offer suggestions that are harsh but necessary if they want to avoid crippling the DOD. Hence, The Army Times reported that Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General James Cartwright, recently said to reporters:
“The first three years, pretty much the levers that you have are readiness, operating costs, things like that … you’ll have to scale them back in the first three years. You can touch things like pay a little bit, but not a lot,” he said. “The second three years tend to be on the structure side of the house. So that is forces, changing the number of forces that you have or the character of the forces.
“People generally will look at it and go, ‘That means taking people out of the services.’ Not necessarily. You may just shift the balance of the services from active to Guard or reserve or to — the dirty word — a draft,” he said. “Those are all different characters and they have different costs that you can manage, based on time when you bring those forces into activity. We are looking at all of that full range. We’ll have to look at everything.”
Some Republican legislators are listening to military leadership. The Army Times reported that Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) said:
“We also need to understand what it’s going to mean to keep an all-volunteer force. Do we want to reinstitute the draft? Some of the cuts we’re talking about would take over 200,000 out” McKeon said in an interview with Fox News.
Later still, The Army Times reported on Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO):
A Colorado lawmaker is calling for the transfer of 100,000 active-duty Army positions into the Army National Guard and Army Reserve to reduce the defense budget by $103 billion over 10 years. . . .
. . . He made the proposals in a Friday letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the bipartisan congressional panel tasked with coming up with $1.5 trillion in savings in federal programs by the end of November. . . .
The two Republican congressmen appear to be offering legislative solutions based on what military leaders are saying needs done because of the impending DOD budget cuts. So they should not be risking the wrath of the public. Right? Not necessarily. Why? Because ignorance is a great friend of the left.
What I mean by this is that as Republican legislators and conservative leaders react to the cuts that the Democrats are forcing upon the DOD, they will be presented or seen as the bad guys who are ruthlessly gutting the DOD. We can already see evidence of how ignorance works in the favor of the left by some of the comments in The Army Times story that reported on Rep. Coffman’s proposal.
Commenter Francesco Valenti says:
If you get paid that much money to hold a public office you should be able to come up with better ideas than that. . . .You poloticians [sic] are garbage, why don’t you cut the lavish vacations for congress, why don’t you cut the space program out? You want to shrink the force, start at the top with the garbage people making decisions…..just go ahead and fire yourself.
Commenter Brian Pannell says:
100,000 soldiers switched from Active Duty to National Guard or Reserve? . . . Hey Mr [sic] lawmaker clearly you have forgotten where you came from and how you got where you are. Come out from behind the desk, put the uniform back on for just a 4 year term on E-1 pay and bring your family. Then lets discuss budget cuts, SIR.
And commenter Fernando Montoya says:
Wow…. obviously this person has no concerns in protecting our interests. Here is the link to his web site; contact him and tell him what a moron he is… I already did! . . .
Of course, commenters on a web site are not necessarily reflective of the population at large. Yet at the same time, such remarks cannot be completely ignored and may be indicators of what is yet to come.
The Republican Party has become the minor league version of the Democratic Party so I am not too concerned with its survival. However, for those who still do care about it, as Republican legislators and conservative leaders continue proposing ways to deal with the pending cuts to the DOD, they must remember that they need to carefully articulate their positions and why they are proposing what they are proposing. And as of right now, they are failing to do that with success and thus playing into the hands of the Democrats and other leftists.