Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can You Imagine Some Of The Very Best Democrats And Some Of The Absolutely Worst Republicans Working Together? Imagine It

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Mick Mulvaney & Keith Ellison, the good kind of bipartisanship

Last night we had an oportunity to look at President Dwight Eisenhower's most famous speech, the very prescient one he gave in 1961 about the imminent dangers posed by the Military-Industrial Complex. If you missed it, please be sure and take a look. Tuesday evening congressional freshman met at Harvard for a series of bipartisan seminars on governance. Right wing organizations have been discouraging Republicans from attending and, in recent years, most GOP freshmen have skipped it. Republican leaders don't want to see any kind of cooperation or cordiality between their Members and... "the enemy."

That made a press release I got from Keith Ellison's office even more interesting to me. It announced an initiative he and South Carolina teabagger Mick Mulvaney were embarking on to make sure cuts to the Military-Industrial Complex's gargantuan budget are part of any Grand Bargain that Obama and Boehner try to shove through Congress. There were a 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats who signed on. Here's the letter they sent Obama and the Democratic and Republican Leaders of the House and Senate:
As you begin negotiations to improve our nation’s fiscal health, we write to express bipartisan support for including defense savings in any final budget agreement. We have serious concerns about the careless and arbitrary way that sequestration reduces defense spending, but we support its general intent to improve our fiscal condition. We believe that substantial defense savings can be achieved over the long-term, without compromising national security, through strategic reductions in the Pentagon’s budget.

Respected policy organizations across the political spectrum have recently issued proposals that would responsibly achieve defense savings over the next decade. The Cato Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the National Taxpayer’s Union, the Project on Defense Alternatives and others have released plans to save up to $550 billion without harming U.S. national security.

In fact, achieving defense savings as part of the larger effort to reduce the national debt will go a long way toward bolstering U.S. national security. As former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen pointed out, “The single biggest threat to our national security is our debt, so I also believe we have every responsibility to help eliminate that threat. We must, and will, do our part.”

The Pentagon’s budget has increased dramatically over the last decade, due in large part to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As we transition from wartime to peacetime, and as we confront our nation’s fiscal challenges, future defense budgets should reflect the conclusion of these wars and acknowledge that our modern military is able to approach conflicts utilizing fewer-- but more advanced-- resources. Congress must consider these changes, not past spending or percentages of GDP, and move toward defense budgeting that focuses on meeting specific military requirements.

We know the United States can maintain the best fighting force in the world while also pursuing sensible defense savings. How we spend our resources is just as important as how much we spend. The true foundation of our military power is not dollars or equipment, but the men and women of our armed forces, who have no equal.

As you work toward a budget agreement to address our fiscal challenges, we urge you to include substantial defense savings.
And here's who signed on besides Ellison and Mulvaney:

Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Michael Honda (D-CA)
Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Justin Amash (R-MI)
James Moran (D-VA)
Raúl Labrador (R-ID)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Timothy Johnson (R-IL)
Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Kurt Schrader (D-OR)
Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Dan Benishek (R-MI)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)

8 of the Democrats are pretty senior and several have leadership roles. The Republicans are mostly junior backbenchers, other than Scott Garrett. But it's a start-- an important one-- and it reminded me of something Chris Hayes writes in his new book, Twilight of the Elites: "The challenge, and it is not a small one, is directing the frustration, anger, and alienation we all feel into building a trans-ideological coalition that can actually dislodge the power of the post meritocratic elite." Hard to imagine Garrett as part of anything like that but these other names... perhaps just what the doctor ordered to, at least, start the process of getting the Military-Industrial Complex under some kind of democratic and societal control.

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2 Comments:

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that as of January 1, 2013 Scott Garrett will be my congressman. Having him in the NJ delegation has disturbed me. Having him as my congressman is intolerable! That said, I'm shocked to see that he has signed on to this.

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger Bukko Canukko said...

I wonder why the nameless commenter is so shocked that Garrett signed onto this sensible idea? Because it would threaten his (it's always a "he" who makes comments like that) sense of dick-waving weaponized superiority? It's about time that Americans started going after the wasteful, freedom-destroying war and "security" government bloatocracy the way they go after public school teachers and postal workers. That might help the U.S.'s fiscal problems.

However, I doubt anything positive will happen before there's a generalized collapse when the world decides to ditch the Federal Reserve dollar. The power interests are too entrenched. That's part of the reason I left the country, and much of the reason I'm staying out, even under the fourth term of the Obushama regime.

 

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