Missourians Mooing Over Sacred Cows

Let’s start with this:

The U.S. Department of Defense has been pressed to cut its budget by President Barack Obama and by a compromise Congress passed last summer to raise the federal debt ceiling.

To make those cuts, the Defense Department recently submitted to Congress a budget that requests authority to do base closures and realignments in 2013 and 2015.

At a Senate hearing in Washington last month, Undersecretary of Defense Dorothy Robyn said base closures are needed as the U.S. draws down operations in Iraq and elsewhere overseas.

“The math is straightforward,” she said. “Force reductions produce excess capacity, excess capacity is a drain-on resources.”

Now, with all the talk out there about cutting the deficit and reducing the debt our children will have to pay one day, all of the above sounds like a common sense way to reduce federal government spending, right?

Wrong.

Vicki Hartzler, Todd Akin, and Blaine Luetkemeyer are three of the most conservative legislators in the House of Representatives, if not the Milky Way.

All have enthusiastically supported the Ryan-Romney budget plan, which Paul Krugman characterized as possessing “inconceivably cruel priorities.” All three are enemies of Big Gov’ment. All three have pledged to save our kids from deficit spending.

Here is Hartzler from her website:

It is time to get runaway spending under control. The current situation is simply not acceptable…It is immoral to keep borrowing today and to pass the bill along to future generations…The U.S. Constitution puts forth a very lean vision of government…

Here’s Akin’s website blowing on about how the Congressman is gonna chop down the big government tree:

Every dollar of new deficit spending represents new compounded interest that this generation’s children – or their children – will have to confront…As a member of the fiscally conservative Republican Study Committee, the Congressman continually works on solutions to actually reduce the size of government while performing core government responsibilities more efficiently.

Luetkemeyer says:

Over the past few years, the federal government has ballooned to an unsustainable level and has spent taxpayer dollars recklessly. ..Because of the federal government’s out-of-control spending, I have supported numerous measures to freeze funding for, and often cut, federal programs.

Now, after all that deficit hawk-talk, one might be surprised to read this:

Jefferson City —Three more members of Missouri’s congressional delegation on Wednesday signaled their opposition to possible military base closures or realignments in the state, moves that are being considered as the federal government looks for ways to save more money.

Guess who those “three more members” were. Yep:

Speaking at the Missouri Capitol, Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler told a crowd of businesspeople, state and local officials and former military personnel that programs at Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Leonard Wood are too important for military planners to consider either for cutbacks or closures.

They are “too important” because:

Hartzler’s western Missouri district encompasses both of the state’s biggest military installations. The freshman congresswoman was joined at the state Capitol by fellow Republican U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Todd Akin, who is running for U.S. Senate this year.

This kind of fiscal duplicity is not uncommon on the right. They do this stuff all the time. They don’t mind cutting government to the bone, as long as the bone is on a part of the body they’re not using.

And to be fair, our own Senator McCaskill, who has fashioned herself as a Democratic deficit hawk,  has come out strongly against the potential base closings here in Missouri. She reportedly said at that Senate hearing in March that there was “absolutely no room for compromise” on the issue of base closings.

An item on her website dated March 21, 2012, began this way:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill told top military officials today that, as Chairman of the Senate panel with jurisdiction over base closures, she will not allow any plan to move forward this year to close U.S. military bases here at home.

Because Missourians are slowly advancing themselves into the 19th century, McCaskill, who is up for reelection this year, has had to loudly demonstrate how serious she is about cutting the budget. Here is a blurb from her site:

Claire believes the growing national debt is a huge danger to our children’s future. If left unchecked, it will weaken the economy and give too much influence to foreign creditors. She thinks the federal government needs to eliminate wasteful spending and return to the sound fiscal practices that produced budget surpluses in the 1990s.

Again, it appears that “wasteful spending” is not wasteful if it happens in Missouri and “sound fiscal practices” are those practices that should be soundly practiced in other states.

But it would be a mistake to completely equate McCaskill’s position on the base closing issue with that of her conservative colleagues, mainly because she at least supports increasing revenues to help pay for keeping military installations open in Missouri.

All of our Missouri Republicans in Congress—and I mean all of them—are opposed to raising taxes to actually pay for our state’s sacred cows. They just want to slash federal spending  by slaughtering other state’s sacred cows.

In the mean time, with no new revenues and no one willing to kill their own cows, all those cows need more and more hay.

And judging by the way the deficit hawks reacted to only potential base closings here in Missouri, our kids’ haybarn still has plenty to plunder.

Billy Long Says No To $6 Billion In Budget Cuts

The House passed yet another stopgap budget resolution yesterday (271-158), this time to extend the inevitable for another three weeks. The inevitable, of course, is a government shutdown of some sort. 

And although our own Ozark Billy Long promised that he didn’t go to Washington to shut down the government, he nevertheless voted against yesterday’s continuing resolution, presumably because the cuts therein were too puny. (Vicky Hartzler voted Aye.)

Long joined 53 other Republicans in opposing the bill, most of whom supported the two-week CR earlier this month.  This time, though, despite the pleading of Speaker Boehner, they were sending a message that they were ready and willing—and eager?—to shut it all down, if they don’t get their way. 

Boehner owes this “victory” to the 85 Democrats who supported it.

From here, though, it gets mighty tough.  Obviously, if Long and the other Republican defectors didn’t support this bill, they’re not likely to support any bill that a majority of Senate Democrats would support.  Thus, gridlock.

I noticed, though, that Congressman Long didn’t sign on as a co-sponsor of a bill that would prohibit Members of Congress from receiving their pay during a government shutdown. 

Hmm.

Remarks And Asides

As John Ward of The Daily Caller reports, the Blue Dog Democrats had a bad night, like all Democrats. They lost 24 of their 50 members who ran for reelection (some races are still pending).  Interestingly, 11 of those 24 losers had voted against health insurance reform.

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Ike Skelton, longtime 4th District congressman and moderate Democrat, finally succumbed to the unrelenting conservatism of his rural district. His replacement, Republican Vicky Hartzler, had earned the approval of Tea Party Possum Queen, Sarah Palin.  Hartzler, who lives somewhere near Harrisonville, wrote a book called, Running God’s Way: Step by Step to a Successful Political Campaign.  Here’s a short description of the book from a website designed to promote it:

This one-stop, easy to use resource outlines the winning strategies needed to succeed on Election Day. It combines the time-tested campaign strategies and wisdom outlined in the Bible with real-life insights and practical advice acquired from Vicky Hartzler’s twelve years of on-the-ground campaigning as a three-term state representative and former campaign spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri.

The Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri was, of course, a successful effort by Christian conservatives to amend Missouri’s constitution to reflect their view that, when it comes to defining how people have sex, the Bible is the Word of God.  It’s amazing just how much small-government folks love to use government to force others to live according to Iron Age family values.

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Speaking of Palin the Possum Queen, she is not running. Period. Talking heads can’t help themselves but speculate about her, but nope.  She’s not gonna do it.  Not enough money in it and it’s too much work.  And besides that, Karl Rove has someone else in mind because he knows she would be an electoral disaster who would not only lose, but her candidacy would have disastrous down-ballot consequences.  Nope. Not happening.

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And finally, congratulations, and a big thanks, to Southwest Missouri voters for electing Billy Long.  And to celebrate, let’s watch the following insightful interview featuring Long and Sarah Steelman, former Missouri State Treasurer, which gives new meaning to the old phrase, “the blind leading the blind.”  (Thanks to Sean at FiredUp!Missouri and Bungalow Bill and Busplunge.)

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