Sequestration and GOP Candidates Defense Gutting Comments

I find it interesting when politicians and leaders try very hard to load blame on someone else. The rule of thumb is take credit for good things, even if you had a little do with it, and lay blame on others when it does not fit your narrative when you or your party did have a hand in it. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s blaming others for the Flint water crisis is a good example. Another is the Republican led Congress blaming the President for the Phoenix Veterans Administration disaster, when the problem has been festering for years and that same Congress just two months before did not pass a $60 Billion plus funding bill to shore up the VA.

On the Presidential circuit, GOP candidates are blaming the President for “gutting” defense, when they seem to forget this unusual word “sequestration.” First off, the military was not gutted and the cuts were based on military leader recommendations given a tighter budget, as a result of the sequestration cuts. But, the Republican led Congress played a huge role in sequestration to cause these cuts to occur, which the Republican Presidential candidates fail to mention.

Back in the summer of 2011, the debt ceiling needed to be increased. Speaker John Boehner and the President worked hard to reach an agreement, but Boehner could not deliver the votes from his strident conservative members. So, they agreed to lift the ceiling, but there had to be a bipartisan committee formed to come up with some plans for budget cuts. If the committee failed to agree, Boehner and Obama set up larger across the board cuts called sequestration that would automatically go into effect.

The two major players felt that if they made the sequestration cuts so onerous, no one would let them happen. Even they underestimated the inability of Congress to do much of anything. The bipartisan committee failed to agree on any actions being split by party lines. So, the cuts went into effect with the military leaders making recommendations based on the reduced budget. Members of Congress had varying degrees of reactions to these recommendations, especially when they realized it meant people in their states and regions being impacted. Yet, they are the ones who set this in motion as they had numerous occasions to stop the sequestration train.

I am not writing this to let the President off the hook for his role. Yet, to assign him the blame alone and overstate the cuts saying they gut the military is a little over the top. I do want people to know that the lack of collaboration and strident views of members of the Republican party in Congress had a huge role in the sequestration. In fact, for most of his tenure as Speaker, Boehner usually got “must-have” legislation using more moderate GOP members to vote with Democrats. In this instance, Boehner did not want to move in that direction to stop the full sequestration cuts on the military spending.

So, when candidates are blaming the President for every so-called bad thing that has happened, you may want to take that with a grain of salt. And, you may want to ask those candidates for a truthful answer on how the economy, stock market, jobs growth and unemployment has all fared under this President.



21 thoughts on “Sequestration and GOP Candidates Defense Gutting Comments

  1. I only wish the electorate was as well-informed as you are! But the tendency to blame others is not peculiar to the Congress! — It’s become a trend. And we need to recall that when Obama was elected a group of “strident” Republicans met and swore to thwart every program he advanced to guarantee that his presidency would be a failure. They have kept that promise, it seems to me.

    • Thanks Hugh. I do recall that commitment uttered by Senator McConnell. More people are angry at Washington for not collaborating than they are for not doing it their way. Cruz personifies the latter and that group is the reason for the former. He is the problem, so if he wants to be a solution, he should resign. He singlehandedly caused us to almost default on our debts in October, 2013 which would have been an unmitigated disaster, so says leaders in other countries and the IMF. It took ten female senators to rectify Cruz’ action at the very last minute. And, he wants to be President?

    • I agree. At least the buyer knows he is getting screwed in one of those professions. In the other, the art is not to let on to the buyer he or she is getting screwed, when they are.

  2. I wish there was some kind of regulation or law that required the candidates to tell both the truth and the context.

    The lies are easier to debunk – a fact without context is insidious. It misleads and yet has the peculiar ability to be defended by the devoted to a cause.

    I don’t know how such a law/regulation could be effectively enforced but I really would like it if it existed.

    • I agree and I don’t know the answer. The extra frustration is some candidates do not care if they lie and are caught in a lie. Trump says other candidates lie, when Fact checkers say he tells the truth only 24% of the time and has lapped the field in lying. He said we are the most taxed country in the world at the last debate, which is not even close to being correct.

      The other frustration is we used to set aside rhetoric (which is nice word for BS) after the election and govern off facts. Now, with an endless election cycle, we govern off BS.

    • I understand the frustration with all the less than truthful statements. However there is no law requiring candidates to tell the truth. In general political speech is granted greater first amendment protection. The courts have typically cited the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause as the main reason. So where it can be frustrating for the voter; it is up to the voter to do due diligence and make up their own mind.

      • Roseylinn, I agree with you, just as we are not obligated to tell the truth in public, except with certain caveats, politicians are not either. The new truth is the politicians care less whether they are truthful, and some care very little.

        Our public is so misinformed and malinformed, the angry folks are misplacing their anger in my view. They should be angry at folks who have been misleading them, yet their anger is directed at the supposed opposition.

        This is why I blog, to try to seek the truth. That is a key reason I have gravitated to your blog. Thanks for commenting, Keith

      • Yeah. But studies show that people don’t do their due diligence. That’s why the candidates do it. Because it works.

        But even if it was law of some sort that was allowed by the supreme court, it would be be very hard to find the line between what was intentionally misleading and what was a mistake and what was intended vs what was understood…

        I love the Politifacts etal websites, but they don’t carry much weight with the public and therefore not with the candidates. Its very sad.

      • Thanks for your follow-on comment. I, too, relish looking at the fact checkers. What Trump has done masterfully is lumped the fact checkers with the liberal media under the premise “if you ain’t fer us, your agin us.” The comment he made at the last debate about us being the most taxed country in the world, was not questioned by the others primarily because that party wants people to believe that just like climate change is a hoax fable.

      • I like the fact checking sites as well. I saw an article on that claimed “fact checking is more popular than politicians.” It claimed that 84% of Americans have a favorable view of fact checking. So there is hope that fact checking is spreading.

      • I hope their popularity is spreading as well. One of the candidates tried to equate fact checking with the liberal media, but he was the one with the horrible track record.

    • Agreed and he is an easy target. I keep wanting to ask these candidates a lot of “why” and “what do you mean by that?” questions. For example , Senator Rubio, you say this president is fundamentally changing our country. What do you mean by that ?

      • I was fussing at my grandson yesterday. I don’t remember about what but his response was. It’s a different time Gramma. I had to say technology might have changed but people don’t. But of course gramma knows nothing and at corner of my eye I saw him roll his. I guess those most be the same changes going on in the world.

      • I agree with both of you. The media and pace are different and our patience is low. The news is crafted to be in sound bites, when the issues are more complex. Yet, you are correct we still need to seek the truth and understand when candidates are blowing smoke at us. And, we must remember history, especially with candidates counting on our forgetting it. People need to remember the sequestration and that Cruz almost caused us to default on our debts and is proud of that poor stewardship. That should disqualify him by itself for further consideration.

    • I agree about their lack of in depth knowledge. They need someone who knows the candidate just lied in a big way and follow-up. They need to be able to say “why are you not answering my question?” They asked Cruz a question about the economy and he changed the subject.

    • Thanks Linda. The facts are getting lost in the shuffling madness. Check out David Brooks column on Obama, which shows his admiration of his demeanor even if he disagrees with certain policies. It is a must read, but I am sure Brooks will take flak from the extreme members of his party. Thanks, Keith

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