As House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and other Congressional Republicans try to prevent any further cuts of the defense budget or the size and the equipment programs of the military, the media are beginning to pay attention, but some of them are also trying to portray McKeon and his crusade in a negative light.
A recent article by the left-wing Politico magazine focuses on the donations McKeon has received during the last 19 years from the defense industry ($430,000 in 2010 – not exactly heavy money; Rick Perry gets millions of dollars per year from his cronies) and the defense industry facilities and military bases located in his district (California’s 25th Congressional District). It also goes into heavy detail about how McKeon has been coordinating with the defense industry and its lobbyists to stop further defense cuts, and how various defense corporations have been coordinating with each other.
“His formidable campaign war chest has long been funded by large contributions from defense contracting firms, many of which have outposts in his expansive California district. All four military branches have major bases in his district.
The political action committees for five top recipients of government defense contracts — General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Gruman — contributed a total of more than $280,000 to McKeon’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, 21st Century PAC, since 2003, according to FEC reports. Contributions that come from those firms’ employees brought the total to more than $430,000, according to OpenSecrets’ databases.
In the pivotal 2010 election cycle, those firms bet heavily on McKeon, who would become chairman of the House Armed Services panel if Republicans won control of the House. All five companies donated the maximum $20,000 to McKeon and his PAC in that cycle.”
Politico’s article makes no mention of the dire, dilapidated state of the US military, the threats the US is facing, the small part of the federal budget that military spending accounts for, the big cuts already made to the defense budget and modernization programs, or the Constitutional obligation on the federal government to defend the country.
Politico ignored all of these issues, not saying a word about any of them, and focused exclusively on McKeon’s ties to the defense industry and its lobbyists, trying to paint him and his crusade in a negative light and thus discredit him.
In other words, its screed is a smear job.
It also wrongly says that:
“The conservative members of Congress haven’t helped the effort. Many of them see military spending as excessive, wasteful and should not be spared from the budget ax.”
While it’s true that some (if not many) Republican members of Congress (e.g. Congressman Paul, Sen. Coburn, and Congressman Flake) have not been helpful and do consider military spending to be excessive, wasteful, and not deserving to be spared from the budget axe, they are not conservatives. They are libertarians. A strong, well-funded military is one of the key tenets of conservative philosophy. If you oppose defense spending, if you support defense cuts, if you believe it’s “wasteful” per se, you are not a conservative, period.
Also, as I stated earlier, Politico talks of defense spending as if it hadn’t been cut yet, which is not true. Defense spending has been cut four times already – in 2009, 2010, early 2011 (when $78 bn was cut from defense budget toplines), and with the CR, which cut defense spending further, down to $530 bn. The debt ceiling deal has ordered yet another, fifth round of defense cuts, which will amount to $350 bn – $450 bn over a decade.
The DailyCaller’s article is balanced, but still contains one factual error:
“Rep. Allen West, a tea party champion and freshman Republican from Florida, also spoke at the Tuesday event. West also supports slowing cuts to defense spending but has sponsored legislation that cut defense spending in the past. West received a standing ovation for his benediction explaining how he feels McKeon must, as this year’s “Keeper of the Flame,” defend those who defend the country.”
No, West has never sponsored legislation that would cut defense spending. He has sponsored legislation that would cut the DOD’s wasteful expenses and reinvest the money in military priorities. While the news item on West’s website has the title “House Unanimously passes Congressman Allen West’s Defense Spending Cuts”, the real “cut” was a small 10% reduction of the DOD’s printing and reproduction budget.
Politico hacks should learn the facts before they write anything.