Monday, March 04, 2013

Californians Cry Foul Over Buck McKeon’s Sequestration Tears


On February 28, Rep. Buck McKeon’s op-ed appeared in the L.A. Times containing his characteristic fear-mongering about sequestration’s effect on the Pentagon. While no one sensible agrees that sequestration is a reasonable way to govern, Buck McKeon takes his opposition to cutting the bloated wartime budget to the level of hysteria.

McKeon has been President Obama’s chief critic on all things military-related. Whatever Obama’s position is, McKeon aggressively takes the opposite. In his op-ed, he places sequestration solely at the feet of the president.

The president is forcing America to indulge him in this dangerous experiment with national security. It is unworthy of the sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands in uniform whom he has directed into harm's way over the last four years. It is a reckless experiment when one takes stock of the growing threats and commitments that occupy our forces around the world.

But what Buck McKeon hopes everyone will forget, is that he voted for sequestration in the first place. Too late. The DCCC is already circulating a list of Republican members who voted for sequestration and represent districts where defense cuts could cause lasting damage and help them turn the districts blue. Politico reported that “high-profile defense advocates whom Democrats see as beatable because of sequestration are House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (Calif.) and Rep. Bill Young, a 22-term Floridian who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the Pentagon’s purse strings.”

Californians aren’t stupid. McKeon’s may have the local paper, the Santa Clarita Signal in his pocket, but his blame game doesn’t seem to be working on L.A. Times readers. The day after McKeon’s op-ed a flurry of letters to the editor were published by the Times.

The Times opinion page wrote, “By the score, Times letter writers emailed their reactions, almost all sharply rebuking the Santa Clarita Republican.”
Wrote Kyle Laurent from Newhall, echoing a common theme about blame:

“Nowhere in Buck McKeon's partisan rant did he ever point out the Republicans' responsibility for the stalemate on the ‘sequester.’ President Obama, as a way to get conservatives to the bargaining table, agreed to the sequester only after many days of foot-dragging by politicians on the right. After all, House Speaker John Boehner said that his side got 98% of what he wanted.

“There's been a real effort by the right not to govern and to try to place blame on Obama for the fallout. I thought we were in this all together as Americans.”

Stacey Cole of Lancaster agreed:

“Rep. McKeon exhibits nerve in his attempt to blame the president for these disastrous cuts, falling on both defense and very needed domestic programs with no rhyme or reason. Although he focused on defense cuts, he seems to care little for the domestic cuts, which will also take a huge toll on those who need them, as well as jobs that will be lost.

“The primary problem for this is due to the Republicans in the House, of which Rep. McKeon is one. This president won reelection. Work with him. Enough is enough.”
If that wasn’t enough, on March 3, the L.A. Times published another bulk of responses.
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, fails to mention that he himself voted for the “sequester” in 2011.

Two conclusions can be made: that he agreed with these cuts at the time, or that he negotiated in bad faith, planning to undo the cuts that he didn't like at a later date.

McKeon infers from President Obama's behavior that the administration wishes to “hollow out” the U.S. military.

I infer from McKeon's behavior that he wishes to protect a small number of defense contractors (that donated large sums to his campaign) at the expense of the large number of average citizens in his district who benefit from social programs.

Richard Olmstead
Van Nuys

McKeon mentions the president's proposals to avert sequestration, then goes on to blame Obama for all the ills that sequestration will visit on the military. Huh?

He also whines about previous cuts to the military budget, despite the fact that one GOP-initiated war has been wound down and the second is in the process of being ended.

The Republicans can't have it both ways-- either focus on the budget cuts and suck up the pain, or work with the president to find alternatives.

Enough with the hypocrisy.

Brent Vanderwood
Mission Viejo

Dear Congressman: You may be absolutely right about what may happen to the military and to civilian jobs because of the sequester. You may also be absolutely right that it really was a “dangerous experiment.”

But I did not think that Republicans would care so much for cutting budgets that they would rather destroy the country.

People have figured out what Republicans want: Cut taxes for the rich and, in that fight, if the country goes to the dogs, it is Obama's fault.

I am a small-business owner. Can you tell me what you have really done for us? If more people had money, I would have more customers. I do not make money when only the rich can afford my products and there are not enough people in the middle who can.

Sam Mookerjee
Canoga Park
As one letter writer above noted, McKeon only cares about the defense cuts that will hurt his contractor donors and couldn’t give a rodent’s posterior about domestic programs that are sorely needed by constituents in the 25th district. His Democratic challenger in 2012, Dr. Lee Rogers, got McKeon to admit in their only debate, that he felt his job “was for the defense” and it was “someone else’s job” to worry about all the other stuff. After this, let’s hope Californians make it his job to worry about his job.

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At 4:16 PM, Blogger gcwall said...

Sequestration was a dog and pony show put on to confuse Americans. As one might expect the boom came down on the poor and the wealthy escaped without sacrifice. Meanwhile, the politicians and wealthy walk hand in hand down the golden path to the bank, laughing all the while at the poor suckers who don't realize what happened to them, yet.

600,000 less "Meals On Wheels" for seniors will not save a dime, because without the meals the seniors will have to turn to state aid and nursing homes which cost more that providing the meals.

The wealthy and powerful are so comfortable and familiar with gaming the people that they wouldn't know how to run our country honestly if they tried, but don't worry they are not about to try.


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