"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Sunday, January 2, 2011

THE LAME DUCK SESSION’S OMINOUS RUMBLE

THE RIGHT WORD
By Kelly Sloan
The “lame duck” session of Congress – which many on the right had feared would serve as an instrument for liberal Democrats, recently liberated by defeat from the restraints of electoral politics, to force into law a whole slew of liberal legislation – proved a mixed bag. President Obama failed to get the Omnibus spending bill passed, and made a serious concession on the central principle surrounding the tax debate – that cuts to the marginal rates would benefit the economy – which resulted in extending the current tax rates for two years, rather than effecting the increase on the rates paid by the top earners that Obama and the liberal wing of the Democrat party so desperately wanted. On the other hand, he was successful in extending Unemployment welfare, er, insurance, benefits for 13 months, securing government give-aways to various chosen “green” industries – including a ludicrous subsidy, in the form of tax credits, to the ludicrous Ethanol industry (the eco-alchemy that even the Vicar of Gaia herself, Al Gore, has derided as nonsense) – and, perhaps most significantly – a repeal of the Clinton-era “Don’t-ask-don’t- tell” policy, effectively ending the military’s ages-old ban on allowing open homosexuals to serve, and the ratification of the new START.

The debate within the conservative community will continue over whether too much was given in order to stave off the tax hikes and calamitous economic effects they would have brought. Certainly, the increased spending in the deal offsets somewhat the growth potential of locking in the current rates, reducing them to being merely preventative rather than corrective – for that matter, a mere two-year extension falls well short of the economic benefits of making the rate cuts permanent – but almost slipping under the radar are the ominous rumblings ignited by the Presidents two other major legislative victories. The decision on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and START both impact the American military, and have national security implications

The U.S. military is considered one of the most conservative organizations in the nation, and for good reason; by its very nature, the military is forced to deal with reality in a particularly harsh and uncompromising way. Decisions impacting the military literally mean life and death, and therefore it cannot afford the luxury of rash change dictated by idealistic theories and utopic visions. Change in the armed forces should, by necessity, be approached with prudence and caution, accepted only after answering in the positive the question, “Will this improve our ability to do our job?” This is the basis by which any decision related to the military should be made.

The long simmering contempt for the U.S. military by many on the left manifests itself in the reduction of that organization to a mere social laboratory, simply another institution in line for the social engineering and leveling of the progressives. The DADT decision exemplifies this. In contrast to racial desegregation in the military, where segregation created operational and logistical problems, changing the current standard does nothing to make the military a more efficient, powerful fighting force. Any other social arguments aside, the Democrats refused to take into account any potential adverse impact on military, from unit cohesion and troop morale, to logistical considerations (billeting, for instance), and least of all the pleas of military commanders closest to the ground. Whatever their other aims, right or wrong, in overturning the ban, the benefit of the military was not among them, and in fact amounts to little more than a callous disregard for the military.

The ratification of START creates its own set of problems for those tasked with defending this nation. By wedding offensive and defensive systems, the treaty effectively hamstrings America’s Ballistic Missile defense capability. Assurances to the contrary from a President who has previously spoken ill of these programs, ad yanked the rug out from under an ABM treaty with Poland and the Czech Republic, ring hollow.

What is ominous about these two items is whether they portend an assault on the military by Obama and his Democrat allies. Economic and political realities, along with a GOP controlled house, will pressure the administration and congress to cut spending. Neither Obama nor the congressional Democrats will, however, simply admit that all they believe is wrong, and work to scale back the government colossus they have labored to build over the decades. Aside from a few ultimately meaningless cuts here and there, the prime target for the liberals will be the one they have reliably set their sights on time and again – the military. In making drastic and damaging cuts to the military, they will attempt to co-opt the freshman Republican congressmen into accepting them under the banner of deficit reduction, and labeling as “hypocrite!!” any Republican who dare oppose gutting the defense budget. The GOP must not allow itself to fall for this, and instead direct the conversation to where it ought to be; defining exactly what the role of government is, so that we can pay for the things government should be doing (like keeping American cities from becoming fireballs from devices with “Fist of Allah” stenciled on the side), and cutting from its ledger those that it should not be – like engineering society.

This column was first published in the Grand Junction Free Press, Dec. 31, 2010

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