I thought that the Republican Party was supposed to be the party that stands for a strong defense. I guess I was wrong.
The WaPo has recently reported that Republican leaders, and many rank-and-file Congressional Republicans, have agreed to deep defense cuts (and tax hikes masquerading as “elimination of deductions”) as a concession in exchange for a budget/debt ceiling deal.
Several facts need to be pointed out.
Firstly, Republicans can get significant concessions from the Democrats (though not a full-scale retrenchment of the welfare state, as desirable as that goal is – for that, they’ll need the Senate and the WH), because, as Marc Thiessen has pointed out, Republicans hold ALL of the cards.
Republicans don’t have to agree to anything. On the other hand, if Republicans don’t vote to raise the debt ceiling, America will default on its debt and the Democrats (plus Obama) will be blamed for that.
But don’t worry, folks, Republicans have already decided to surrender, and they plan to surrender by agreeing to the Democrats’ BIGGEST DEMAND: deep defense cuts (which Eric ‘Dual Loyalty’ Cantor and Kevin McCarthy have been pushing for for a long time). This is the Dems’ biggest demand. As they (including Barney Frank) have publicly admitted, gutting America’s defense is even MORE important to them than raising taxes. They’re not out to “soak the rich”, they’re out to gut America’s defense.
And this is the worst blunder that Republicans can make. When you negotiate with other people, you DON’T give in to their BIGGEST demand (not unless you obtain huge concessions outweighing your own first). By giving in to the Dems’ biggest demand, Republicans have ensured that the Dems will have NO incentive whatsoever to give them anything back. Now that Republicans have accepted their biggest demand, they have nothing important to demand (and to pay a price for).
Remember the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev? The Soviet leader’s biggest demand was that Reagan give up his SDI program. Reagan demanded an INF Treaty that would ban all American and Soviet IRBMs. He refused to give in to Gorbachev’s biggest demand, because he knew that if he did that, he would’ve been unable to obtain any concessions from the Kremlin. So he NEVER surrendered the SDI program.
BTW, the French have called me and have told me that they’re appalled by how easily Republicans have surrendered. They say that even they don’t surrender that easily.
Last but not least, a huge majority of Americans opposes a debt ceiling hike under any circumstances – with or without spending cuts. That being the case, why on Earth give in to any of the Dems’ demands? Why gut defense? Why hike taxes? There’s no reason to do so.