Because Mitt Romney’s VP choice, Paul Ryan, is a budgetary affairs wonk rather than a foreign policy veteran, and because Romney himself is a former CEO and Governor, the leftist Politico magazine is now falsely claiming that the Democrats and President Obama now have an “edge” or an “advantage” on defense and foreign policy issues. Politico even tries to make Obama’s ridiculously thin pre-presidential resume look like that of a foreign policy expert, by hailing the bills on “threat reduction” and “nuclear weapons” that he authored as a (half-term) Senator and his supposed decision to kill OBL.
This is utter garbage.
The reality is that Obama’s entire foreign policy is an utter failure, and that as a half-term Senator, Obama accomplished… absolutely nothing.
Sure, he introduced a lot of bills on the subjects Politico listed, but how many of those bills got passed? None. Any Senator can introduce any number of bills, but getting them passed and signed into law, or at least reported out of committee, is an entirely different task. How many bills sponsored by Obama got passed, and how important were they? That’s something that Politico avoids discussing.
Similarly, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced 200 bills since coming to the Senate, but not one of them has become law.
As for “threat reduction”, what threat did Obama try to reduce? Oh, that would be the grave, dastardly threat of America’s own nuclear weapons! Oh, what a dastardly threat… wait, it’s actually the US military’s most valuable asset and America’s life insurance!
As for OBL, the claim that Obama gave the order to kill him has been disproven over and over again, yet, the Left continues to rehash this lie like many others. It’s a lie; Obama never gave any order to kill OBL. In fact, under Valerie Jarrett’s influence, he continually denied Leon Panetta and the SOCOM the authorization to kill the Al-Qaeda leader. Panetta and JSOC commander Adm. William McRaven eventually decided to act on their own while Obama was playing golf. They acted with Obama’s and Jarrett’s consent or knowledge; Clinton and Gates assured them that they would protect them if the mission failed.
And remember that photo of Obama supposedly sitting in the Situation Room and watching the mission? It’s a forgery. Notice that Obama looks like a pygmy in it. In reality, Obama is over 6 feet tall.
As for Joe Biden, on the world stage, he has been an embarrassment for Obama, and as Senator, he accomplished nothing, like Obama, except that Biden had been in the Senate far longer than Obama and therefore had much more time to achieve something than Obama… and still didn’t.
And neither of them have served in the military, even though the draft was still in effect while Biden was 18-21.
Now, of course, neither Romney nor Ryan have served in the military, either.
But Paul Ryan, as an economist, budget expert, and House Budget Committee Chairman has put his skills where they are of most use, and by so doing, he has done the Nation a great service on defense issues in two ways.
Firstly, he has drafted, and secured the House passage of, a bill to cancel the first year of sequestration (the Sequester Reconciliation Act) and his comprehensive budget plan (the Path for Prosperity, AKA the Ryan Plan), which would fully provide for America’s national defense, honor America’s commitments to its troops and veterans, and permanently stave off the threat of sequestration while still saving taxpayers over 3 times more money than defense sequestration would, in nondefense programs which, unlike defense, have swelled during the Obama years. (Defense has grown from $513 bn in FY2009 to $531 bn today, while domestic discretionary spending has splurged since FY2009, and indeed, since FY2001.) And sequestration is unquestionably the number one threat to America’s national security today. Few people have done as much to stave off that threat and to provide adequately for national defense as he has.
Secondly, in parallel, Paul Ryan has nicely explained, in spoken words and in writing, why exactly is it necessary to provide adequately for national defense, even in tough economic times, instead of using the defense budget as a scapegoat for America’s fiscal problems (which it did not cause) and gutting defense, which is politically the easiest thing to do. Few people have made that case as well and as eloquently as he has.
But there’s more: Paul Ryan has actually laid out his foreign policy vision some time ago, during a speech to the Alexander Hamilton Society. Jamie Weinstein has nicely summed it up, and has backed it up with quotes from the speech, here.
Moreover, as AEI Vice President Danielle Pletka (who has known Ryan since the 1990s, when he worked for then-KS Senator Sam Brownback) says: “What makes a foreign policy leader is judgment and an understanding of America’s role in the world, not frequent flyer status. He knows the issues, and brings the same thoughtfulness to national security that he does to all the other issues that he covers on the Hill.”
AEI’s Michael Rubin adds that “instinct matters just as much as experience”, and that “Joe Biden, for example, could brag about foreign policy experience, but he was still the laughing stock of Baghdad and Kabul, and Tehran’s favorite senator.”
Indeed, Ronald Reagan, like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, had no real foreign policy experience before becoming President, yet he was undeniably one of the greatest US Presidents, and one of the most competent stewards of US foreign policy, ever.
Of course, as Politico rightly admits, American voters’ top issues are overwhelmingly economic affairs (economic growth, unemployment, the federal budget deficit, the federal debt, etc.), and Mitt Romney prioritizes these, in line with the voters’ wishes. And economic issues constitute Mitt Romney’s forte.
But it is completely incorrect to claim that Romney, by choosing Ryan and prioritizing the economy, is neglecting national security issues. And it is completely wrong and utterly dishonest to claim, as one “Truman National Security Project” political hack by the name of David Solimini (its spokesman) has, that:
““Mitt Romney had the chance to show the American people he took national security seriously with his choice of vice resident [sic]. Instead, he chose Paul Ryan, who has no national security experience. Worse, Ryan has shown time and again that he is willing to cut essential national security priorities in order to protect tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”
Leaving aside the lie that Paul Ryan wants to “protect tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires”, this is a blatant lie. Paul Ryan – as Politico itself has admitted – has actually fought hard to provide adequate funding for defense and to stave off sequestration by making (deeper) spending cuts elsewhere, including the Department of State (whose budget has more than doubled since Obama took office without more accountability from the Foggy Bottom) and bloated welfare programs that cost almost a trillion dollars per year. Yet, even Politico could not abstain from lying about defense spending, falsely claiming that:
“Although Romney rarely talks about it on the campaign trail, he supports devoting a minimum of 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product to the DOD budget – meaning a spike worth billions of dollars. He and GOP allies, including Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, who also spoke in Norfolk on Saturday, say Obama is “dismantling” the armed forces, and blame the president for the looming threat of $500 billion in DOD budget restrictions set to take effect Jan 2.”
Actually, devoting 4% of GDP to the DOD would mean a (very slight) DECREASE, because the current( FY2012) DOD budget, which is $645 bn, amounts to 4.218% of America’s GDP (which is $15.29 trillion according to the CIA World Factbook). And yes, Obama IS to blame for the looming threat of the indiscriminate $550 bn defense cuts set to kick in on January 2nd (on top of the $487 bn in defense cuts already mandated by the BCA and on top of all defense cuts previously implemented and scheduled), because HE demanded them. HE demanded of the DOD to make another $400 bn in cuts on April 13th, 2011 – long before there was any talk of raising the debt ceiling and negotations on the subject – and HE is the one who demanded deep defense cuts during debt ceiling deal negotiations in order to protect his beloved socialist domestic programs. You can read more about that in this fact sheet, which uses nothing but Obama’s OWN WORDS as proof.
His previous defense cuts have killed over 50 crucial weapon programs and brought about the New START treaty, which obligates the US – and only the US (not Russia) – to make deep cuts in its nuclear arsenal. He’s now implementing First Tier BCA-mandated cuts by, inter alia, prematurely retiring seven youngest Tico class cruisers (including the single youngest, Port Royal), 2 amphib ships, hundreds of attack, fighter, tactical and strategic airlift, and ISR drone aircraft, delaying the SSBNX and F-35 programs, cutting orders for the V-22 and P-8, deeply cutting ship orders, and cutting the Navy’s shipbuilding plan so badly that by the 2020s and the 2030s huge gaps in the cruiser/destroyer and submarine fleets will open.
And, as Randy Forbes has pointed out, retiring those 7 young Tomahawk-launch-capable cruisers (each of which has 122 VLS cells) is worse than scrapping the entire surface combatant fleet of the British Royal Navy.
Even worse, Obama threatens to veto ANY fix to sequestration that does not involve massive tax hikes on “the wealthiest Americans”, i.e. holding the US military hostage to his own class warfare ideological blinders and threats and threatening to execute the hostage.
And now, by its own admission, the Obama Admin, blinded by their ideological drive for arms control for its own sake and for disarming the US of nuclear weapons, is seeking deep, unilateral nuclear arsenal cuts, which would leave the US at the Russians’ and the Chinese’ mercy.
So yes, Obama is quite literally dismantling the US military. And America cannot survive this.
And yes, Paul Ryan IS an excellent choice from a defense conservative’s standpoint.