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December 16, 2013

Mitch McConnell To Defense Contractors: Help Us Defeat Tea Party Challengers If You Want That Sweet, Sweet Republican Defense Spending Back

As DrewM. says, they don't actually want to cut spending.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently delivered a direct pitch to one of America's top defense contractors: Get off the sidelines and start backing Republicans who will protect military spending.

Mr. McConnell's message, according to people who attended a Nov. 6 fundraiser with officials from BAE Systems Inc., was that if Republican lawmakers lose primary elections from challengers further to their right who have few qualms about trimming military budgets, the defense industry could expect dwindling support in Washington.

"In the current debate, spending cuts have trumped robust national-security spending," said one person at the McConnell fundraiser, held at a Capitol Hill townhouse. "The main message he was pushing was: Get involved, mainly to teach those who are primarying incumbents that it is not helpful to run against incumbents who are champions for the industry."


...

The effort to beat back challenges from the right goes beyond the defense industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have been stepping in to help business-friendly Republicans aligned with the GOP leadership, a reaction to the government shutdown in October, which the business groups opposed, and a sign of worries that tea party-aligned candidates might try to eliminate tax breaks and spending favored by businesses.

Defense spending is the soft underbelly of the Republican message against federal spending. Almost all of us favor defense spending over most other kinds of spending; but some of us increasingly favor deficit reduction over any spending, including defense spending.

Defense spending is how the Tax and Spend Wing of the Republican Party check us; whenever we want to cut spending, they throw defense spending (and special tax breaks for businesses) in our faces.

I'm not in favor of the sequester cuts to defense spending per se, but I am in favor of the general principle that we must limit federal spending, whatever it takes. The sequester cuts are certainly not ideal -- they barely touched discretionary non-defense spending, for example -- but they did represent some cutting.

But even that much is too much for some.

Many in the Republican Party give lip-service to cutting spending. Now it seems they won't even be doing that, as they begin to affirmatively run on increased spending.


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posted by Ace at 12:22 PM

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