Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mike Pence and the Charm of Having it Both Ways

I see the Wall Street Journal is now marketing Indiana Republican Represantive Mike Pence as a "military and fiscal hawk."  One's first thought is that it's an oxymoron, on the order of "chaste debauchery."  There's nothing more tiresome than the public figure--there are swarms of them--who ladle out the goodies to the hogs at the military trough while trumpeting their own budgetary rectitude.

Indeed critics like to climb on Pence the selectivity of his hawkery, as he beats his breast for budget restraint, with a compassionate exception for pork in his own state. 

On the narrow issue of inconsistency, I'm almost willing to give him a bye: I can't think of any politician of either party who has ever survived while attacking a dominant economic interest on his home turf.  My notion is that Pence is one of those who have figured out how to talk the talk on defense cuts, knowing they will never have to walk the walk.  Oh, I voted against that.  You mean I lost?  Oh, what a shame.

I suspect we are in for a regular old  bacchanal of such hypocrisy from the incoming Republican House majority as they pick and choose their way through the cafeteria of spending mandates, trimming here, snipping there, slashing others with a Bowie knife, all the time knowing that the Senate (or if need be, the President) will save them from themselves.  And we will continue our established practice of maintaining a military budget bigger than just about all the others in the world combined.

So I think I was right the first time: military and fiscal hawk?  No such thing.  Or if there is, Pence ain't one.


Anonymous said...

Actually, there's another possibility for this label which would make it accurate: "cut/eliminate domestic social services to pay for the military."

It wouldn't be the first time for an imperial power.

devin said...

Sorry, anonymous, but your alternative is not an alternative. Military spending, with no help from any other government expenditure, is sufficient to unbalance the budget (unless you actually think the VA, nuclear arsenal, CIA, etc. are actually "domestic social services" just because they're not officially part of the "defense" budget).

Without cutting defense (or raising tax revenue), there is simply no way to balance the budget.