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August 22, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

Time to get real

Republican dog and pony show plays politics, misses the point

Sen. John McCain and two Republican colleagues are scheduled to visit Nellis Air Force Base on Monday afternoon and decry pending defense budget cuts.

Nellis is just the latest stop for McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who are spending their summer vacation holding town-hall meetings on their “Preserving America’s Strength” tour. The senators have visited other military bases to complain about the Pentagon’s budget, which is scheduled to lose $500 billion over the next decade.

They are trying to lay the blame for the budget cuts on President Barack Obama and Democrats, and they are taking their tour through key electoral battleground states.

In a magnanimous gesture, McCain has allowed that Congress, including lawmakers of both parties, could share some of the blame.

But, really, he shouldn’t be so modest. Let’s give credit where credit is due: His party can and should take full credit for the budget cuts. In fact, this should be seen as a hallmark achievement of the Republicans in Congress.

Let’s review how things got to this point:

After months at a political impasse over federal spending and the nation’s debt, Congress last year passed the Budget Control Act. With the hyper-partisan politics in Washington, it was considered a compromise: It increased the amount of debt the federal government could hold in exchange for large budget cuts.

For Democrats, it ended the ugly and dangerous standoff over raising the debt ceiling. Republicans had blocked efforts to raise the ceiling; and as a result, the nation’s credit rating was later downgraded. For Republicans, the Budget Control Act guaranteed at least $1 trillion in budget cuts over the course of a decade.

The tricky part was determining what to cut. A bipartisan congressional “super committee” was appointed to make $1.5 trillion in cuts, and as an incentive for the committee, the deal required $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts if it failed to do its job. The automatic cuts were designed to be so painful that no one in their right mind would allow them to happen.

Well, guess what? They happened because the Republicans refused to discuss raising any new revenue to reduce the nation’s debt. Such is the state of today’s Republican Party, and not just in Congress. Remember: In a debate last year, the GOP’s presidential candidates all said they would not support raising new revenue, even if they had a deal offering $10 in cuts for every $1 in new revenue.

The result of such an all-or-nothing attitude is the automatic budget cuts, including those at the Pentagon, which start to take effect next year.

This all could have easily been avoided had the Republicans been open to negotiating a deal, but they refused. Now, they don’t want to live with the consequences, so they’re taking the political route and trying to cover up their party’s failure.

Thus the visit this week by the three Republican senators, all members of the Armed Services Committee. Their visit will generate attention, but let’s not lose focus. The federal budget and the debt are very serious issues, and Republican obstinacy isn’t helping.

Instead of using their summer break to tour the country and point fingers, these senators should be spending time talking to their Republican colleagues and urging them to back off the blind ideology that brought us to this point.

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  1. Re Future. Yes, Obama signed the law authorizing sequestration. This was the result of the super committee failing miserably, as the editorial explains correctly. If this BS committee had done their job, there would be no sequestration, and no "tour" by these GOP apologists. This committee could never reach agreement, since ALL the GOP drones on the committee were signatories to Grover's little pledge. The committee was doomed to fail from the start, and sequestration was then the default option. As Jim DeMint so aptly stated, Republican "fingerprints are all over sequestration". Now, faced with their sacred cow, DOD, about to get gored, they whine. Sequestration is coming, like it or not. "The Sun is willing to lose Nellis"....LOL. Nellis will remain, even after some needed belt tightening. The USAF has been gearing up for cuts for awhile, and the mission will continue to be accomplished.

  2. Validates my rule. When it comes to principle, stand firm. If fad, go along. Blamed whether they compromise or don't. The GOP can't win with Obama and his team of blamers.

    CarmineD

  3. Even Leon Panetta, a democrat, and Obama's hand picked Sec of Def, says he refuses to see the military gutted on his watch. What more validation do we need?

    CarmineD

  4. Cue the same perpetual commenting opinions pushing blind ideological arguments blaming Obama rather than a gridlocked Congress.

  5. What was missed in this article is that it was the Republicans who created this mess altogether.

    Their refusal to increase the debt limit (note: they weren't approving additional spending, they did that with their continuing resolution. They were simply voting on whether or not the U.S. could borrow to meet its commitments) is what caused this mess. The debt limit likely is unconstitutional anyway.

    If the Republicans had fought the budget battle during budget negotiations instead of holding the country's economy hostage (and causing our credit rating to be dropped), there wouldn't be sequestration. This "crisis" is entirely the fault of Republicans.

  6. Excellent editorial and an accurate laying out of the facts behind this disaster. You really have to ask yourself "Are the Republicans really ready to run this country if they are willing to gut the military in order to hold on to a principle?" They have nobody to blame but themselves on this issue.

  7. Chuck333,

    A continuing resolution, technically is a budget. It is an agreement to continue using the previous year's budget.

    The truth is that Republicans manufactured a problem (the debt ceiling crisis) in an attempt to secure budget cuts. It didn't work, because of partisanship on both sides, as well as a lack of time to do anything major. So they created a committee, which failed, and so now we have sequestration.

    Simply put, it was the Republicans who created the problem in the first place.

    Maybe you should actually do some reading on the subject as opposed to listening to 10 second Fox News soundbytes.

  8. We have two Presidents. One legitimate, one illegitimate. The legitimate President is Barack Obama. The illegitimate President is Grover Norquist.

    It has become common knowledge that the Republicans swore allegiance to Norquist over the country, while the Democrats swore allegiance to the country and the legitimately elected Obama.

    The Republican's also pledged to not cooperate with Obama or the Democrats, in order to make sure Obama wasn't re-elected.

    Seems to me we have treason going on within the Republican side of the Congress.

    I think they should be sent to federal prison, not the halls of Congress.

  9. Romney and Ryan have never signed the Norquist ant-tax pledge. NEVER! In fact just the opposite, disavowed it.

    CarmineD

  10. Re Carmine. 238 members of the House of Representatives signed Grover's pledge. PAUL RYAN (R) WI-01, 112 Congress, was one of them. (Americans for Tax Reform)

  11. Reality is that most citizens want campaign funding reform! History reveals important political changes to have occured due to the weight of overwhelming public opinion, along with ability of media to influence opinion. Common sense leads to examination of media ownership seeking conflict of interest.

  12. Common sense also reveals that people are more important than money.

    Reality shows there are way too many people suffering from what is a global crisis resulting from a moral crisis.

    Turning our backs on people deepens the moral crisis, and it's ramifications.

  13. Mr. Lind:

    I posted this to you on another thread. And will here again. Romney and Ryan are running as president and vice president in 2012. In these capacities, they have not, at least yet, signed the Norquist anti-tax pledge. These are the only capacities that matter for them in 2012.

    CarmineD

  14. Sen McCain
    Go back to washington and tell Mr Romney to his face that he is costing the Republican party their legitimacy.
    The Republicans always quote Ronald REGAN so I have no problem in saying to you. Trust but Verify. DOes that sound familiar
    Their is absolutely no justification in Romney witholding that information about his eligibility for the highest office in the land.
    This obstinate position by him is the is the absolute height of hypocrisy

  15. A favorite chant/battle cry of the Right is asking how much it is costing for any Democrat traveling. I want to know why these three government employees can travel all over the States, to yak at 'crowds' of 45-50 people to get their own agenda heard yet no outcry from the TEA GOP?
    It is shameful and wasteful for McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Kelly Ayotte to think they can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars while they advocate slashing programs for women and children, do not have a jobs bill or any other ideas to help the economy.
    Get to WORK John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte.

  16. Had the Republican Party Focused on Working FOR the U.S. instead of Anything to Hurt President Obama by locking up Congresses ability to pass anything Meaningful, we would not be in this mess. They should Fully Feel the Wrath of the American People. They Did pass (In the House) over a dozen anti-abortion Bills, Named Post offices and voted against the affordable care act. now at a 15% approval rate The House, and The Filibuster Republicans in the Senate want to blame Democrats for Nothing being accomplished. Well FAT CHANCE!
    Throw every Republican OUT OF OFFICE! And don't worry they'll be a lobbyist for some Oil, Pharmaceutical Company or Bank within Minutes.

  17. Re Carmine. Go to the site I quoted. It is Grover's own site. His philosophy is as follows: once someone signs his pledge, IT IS BINDING FOR THE REST OF THEIR POLITICAL "CAREER". Who gives a sh*t what office they are running for. They signed the pledge with eyes wide open. They are, in Grover's eyes, pledged for ETERNITY, as long as they are in politics. You are wrong, and should admit it. By the way, RyAYN is on the ballot in Wisconsin as running for his district seat, AND VP OF THE US, on the same ballot. He has no skin in the game by running for VP, only the chance to make more money off of taxpayers, who pay his salary and benefits. Get a GRIP.

  18. Back in the days when the British Empire ruled the world, their Navy budget was 2.5 times the next TWO largest naval budgets.

    Our defense budget is LARGER than ALL the rest of the world's defense budgets. Does that make sense? Do you want to get an handle on our budget crises?

    1. Declare victory and get out of Afghanistan TODAY.
    2. Cut the Pentagon budget by 50% NOW.

    As an aside here's your bonus question:

    Who has the world's 2nd largest Air Force?

    Wait for it...
    Wait for it...

    Answer: The US Navy.

  19. To get real we must remove Legislators from their indenture to special interests. Our flawed system forces them to serve the needs of few even at great cost to the nation! History reveals that overwhelming public opinion has forced important political changes, along with ability of media to influence public opinion. Common sense should lead to a resurgence of fair media.