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  • DOD Buzz Dumbs Down Defense Debate

    Colin Clark misses the mark in his latest piece for DOD Buzz. Even the title, “GOP To Tea Party: Don’t Cut Defense,” is wrong.

    The opening sentence is no better. Indeed, it makes two mistakes. “With one wary eye on the Tea Party movement and its potentially isolationist policies,” Clark writes, “representatives of GOP think tanks sent a simple message today: don’t cut Pentagon weapons systems in the belief that the American homeland can be protected without a military that can fight and project power around the globe.”

    Clark was covering a briefing on the Hill by The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and The Foreign Policy Initiative. All three institutions embrace conservative values, but they are determinedly nonpartisan. None of the three is affiliated with the Republican Party.

    His second mistake is to suggest that the Tea Parties lean “isolationist.” Sure, their ranks include many libertarians who don’t think much of the Reagan mantra “peace through strength.” But there are also many Tea Partiers who hold that the one thing Washington must do is meet its constitutional responsibility to “provide for the common defense.”

    Liberals have lately taken to telling themselves that they can attract Tea Party support by gutting the defense budget. Such wishful thinking only demonstrates how poorly they understand the movement.

    The Barney Frank-Ron Paul project that calls for slashing Pentagon spending is close to a Looney-Tune alliance. Tea Party rank-and-file know that no matter how much the Barney Franks of Washington cut defense, they’ll still never shrink federal spending or reduce the size of government. Those “savings” will merely be plowed into other, more dubious government works aimed a stimulating this or bailing out that.

    Nor are most Tea Party proponents interested in leaving our men and women in uniform short of the tools they need to protect us and survive.

    The fundamental error here is the fancy that the AEI-Heritage-FPI project is aimed at the Tea Party. It’s not the Tea Party that aims to slash defense spending; it’s the Obama administration. And it’s not the Tea Party that determines defense appropriations; it’s Congress.

    The ears the Defending Defense project is trying to catch are in the Oval Office, the Old Executive Office Building and the Capitol.

    The administration believes treaties and “soft power” diplomacy are an adequate substitute for protecting yourself. It thinks it can get away with shortchanging defense by claiming that it’s fiscally prudent.

    This was no “GOP to Tea Party” briefing. It was a “Think Tank to Ruling Elites” briefing. Let’s hope the Obama administration listened better than Colin Clark did.

    Cross-posted at The Daily Caller.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to DOD Buzz Dumbs Down Defense Debate

    1. Colin Clark says:


      If you can find anyone at the three thinktanks who isn't conservative and as Republican as anyone who is a card-carrying member of the GOP, I'll be very impressed. If we want to go to court then you are right. None of these thinktanks is legally affiliated with the GOP. As to whether the Tea Party's policies are "potentially isolationist" I think there's no question that they may be. I do think it isn't absolutely clear yet whether they are simply rabid fiscal conservatives who may cut the Pentagon budget because that's where a fair amount of money is or whether they are in the long tradition of the isolationist tendency of some elements of the GOP. Or a bit of both. Since there still aren't any real faction leaders it's hard to tell. And it was my old friend Donnelly who made it clear that he and his colleagues are concerned the Tea Party folks may need some educating on defense issues. Which is just what he and his fellow panelists did.

    2. Pete Beuca Redmond, says:

      For everyone who loves America, this is a call to patriotism. A song I wrote to encourage and motivate the American people to rise up and take our country back.


    3. Greg B. Vail, AZ says:

      Collin: Your assertion that the Tea Party MAYBE isolationist is flat wrong. The Tea Party is PRO CONSTITUTION, and all that that implies. Including the responsibility that the Feds provide for the defense of our nation.

    4. Drew Page, IL says:

      To Colin Clark — "As to whether the Tea Party's policies are 'potentially isolationist', I think there's no question that they may be." POTENTIALLY isolationist? No question that they MAY be? Wow, what a definitive statement.

      First of all, the Tea Party isn't a real political party. It is rather a collection of people who share a lot of the same ideas and criticisms of the current administration. The "Tea Party" is not in a position to set policies. I think that POTENTIALLY, there is no question that anyone, even you, MAY be playing with less than a full deck.

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