"President Obama's Massive Defense Cuts"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 24 2012 3:26 PM

"President Obama's Massive Defense Cuts"

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was good enough to answer some of my irritating questions about whether Republicans were welshing on the defense sequester. The whole piece is here, but this is the gist:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

I’m of the belief that nothing around you will ever be efficient unless the top line number is lower. So, they don’t like what they call sequester. To me, that means that the top line number is lower, and if you really believe in savings in the military budget or else you’d have to find the savings, you’d be forced to find the savings.
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That's becoming a controversal sentiment for a Republican. In recent weeks, Republicans have started framing the defense sequesters, agreed to as a terrifying threat to force more spending cuts, as Barack Obama's scheme. Amy Gardner, July 12, reporting on Republican fears of the defense sequester.

Republicans are trying to shift that argument to place the burden squarely on Obama. Their statements Thursday described "Obama’s defense cuts."

Jennifer Rubin, July 14.

A Romney campaign adviser authorized to speak on background only would not give a specific figure for defense spending in a Romney administration, saying only that the first priority would be to save the military from Obama’s defense cuts, which could result in discharge of 200,000 troops.

Dave Boyer, July 23:

Republicans are laying the blame for any cuts at Mr. Obama’s feet, with presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney referring to them as “President Obama’s defense cuts.”

Mitt Romney, today:

Today, we are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats. Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defense cuts.

Here's the beauty part: Mitt Romney is not being hypocritical when he says this. He opposed the final debt deal. He's in a prime position, which I didn't really understand up 'til now, to rage against its cuts.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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