Friday, October 7, 2011

Enormous deficits? Unending wars? Spend MORE on defense!

I am gradually coming to terms with the reality that Romney is likely to be the nominee. The way Rick Perry fizzled means he is virtually out of contention a month after he got into the race as the instant front-runner. Ron Paul gets ignored consistently by the media and is not enough of an interventionist for the rank and file GOP voter. The rest of the field is fading fast. The fact that Herman Cain, who is a solid conservative but not likely to win the nomination, is getting so much attention tells you that the GOP base is looking for someone other than Romney but in the end I think he is going to end up being the nominee. Today he gave another speech, this time in front of a crowd at the Citadel where he called for additional defense spending...
Mr. Romney proposed a big increase in naval shipbuilding, to as many as 15 new ships a year from the current rate of nine, as well as the deployment of a full national ballistic-missile-defense system.
How exactly are we going to pay for that? Borrowing money from China?

Here we see Romney's biggest flaw. He is a chameleon. In front of a pro-military audience he is a defense hawk. Unlike Ron Paul (Air Force, 1963 to 1968) and Rick Perry (also Air Force, 1972-1977) who actually served in the military, Romney has no uniformed service experience but when faced with a military audience he is all about spending more on the armed forces, especially the Navy (where we already hold an unbelievable advantage over the rest of the world, see here ). This was clearly a speech that was as much about drawing a contrast with his rivals, chiefly Ron Paul who is not mentioned by name but clearly in view, as much as about contrasting himself with President Obama.
He also appeared to take swipes at some of his GOP rivals, who have argued that the U.S. should concentrate above all on controlling spending and rebuilding the U.S. economy.

"We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America's moment has passed," Mr. Romney said. "That is utter nonsense. An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender."

Mr. Romney said that, if elected, he would "reverse President Obama's massive defense cuts" on his first day in office, even though significant cuts in defense spending haven't taken effect under Mr. Obama. Romney aides said the governor was referring to projected defense cuts, most of which were part of the debt-ceiling negations that both parties agreed to in August.
The bogeyman of isolationism. The favorite slur of "conservatives" when confronted with even the suggestion of cuts to defense, as if modest cuts in defense spending would cripple the American military. As I pointed out in a prior post, The Most Sacred of Conservative Cows, many conservatives are all about cutting spending excpet when it comes to the military.

If we are going to have a serious conversation about reducing the national debt, military spending must be on the table. America can no longer afford (and honestlynever really could) to be the world's policeman, spending hundreds of billions a year on a military that does very little that is national defense oriented. It would be nice if the media gave more air time to Ron Paul who is alone in the major candidates in talking about this issue. We clearly are not going to get a serious conversation from either Obama or Romney....
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