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.

 

 

Wallace, Warren and W

It is a day of alliteration to the W. Three random, but related thoughts have surfaced around this starting letter. Let’s begin with Wallace. No, not William Wallace, which would have been an added alliteration, but our old friend George Wallace, the former Governor of Alabama. You know, the one who persisted on keeping the ugly Jim Crow alive against the efforts of Martin Luther King to make it go away. The one who blocked the doorway of progress for African-American students, an excellent metaphor.

You see, in an effort to compliment The Donald on his recent trip to Wallace’s home state, a fervent fan offered that he liked Trump as he spoke the truth. He went on to add, Trump is a lot like George Wallace in that regard. I recognize fully the man meant this as a compliment, but I can think of no better metaphor in defining why The Donald should not be President. He is a lot like George Wallace with his hate speak.

Skipping to the W, as in George W. Bush, his brother is doing his best to rewrite history. Jeb is doing his darnedest to say W was a better President than he was and he had won the Iraqi war until President Obama screwed it up. Having hired some of W’s people have not helped in this regard, as it appears they want to whitewash their errors hoping we don’t have a memory. Unfortunately for Jeb, too many people remember how bad W was, as he was not invited to be physically in attendance at the last two GOP Conventions. As a sitting President, he had to be televised into the proceedings in 2008, which is a major insult.

The middle W is for Warren, Senator Elizabeth Warren, that is. As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to have credibility issues, which may not go away or be let to go away (think Benghazi), the Democrat leadership is getting a little antsy. Senator Bernie Sanders is doing terrifically well speaking plainly about the issues (he actually thinks before he speaks), yet many do not think he can carry the ball to the goal line. I personally do not think America is smart enough to elect Sanders, as many will never get past the word socialist as they do not know what it means. I love Vice President Joe Biden and he gets a bum rap with people looking for him to misspeak. He has been one of the most effective Vice Presidents we have had in recent memory. Yet, I don’t know if he can carry the ball all the way, either.

So, if Hillary stumbles, I think the party needs to go hat in hand to someone who would be a terrific President if she chose to run. And, that would be Elizabeth Warren. She brings the intellect and fight of Sanders to the fray, along with terrific debate skills, story and experience. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been a huge success for defrauded and aggressively marketed to consumers. She is the reason. Her favorite quote of mine when asked if she liked Wall Street. “I like Wall Street, I just don’t like cheating.”

Senator Warren, please reconsider. Even if Hillary prevails, it would be great to have two effective women candidates in the race. And, your party and America just might need you, as there is not an abundance of good ideas coming from the party with seventeen candidates.