If the Tea Party stands for anything, then it needs to earn the hostility of the Military Industrial complex.
We already know that the Chamber of Commerce and other “moneyed Republicans” have declared war on the Tea Party. If the Tea Party is really going to stand up for anything, it needs to make sure it also earns the hatred of the defense industry. Even before the Republican sweep on November 4, some legislators were calling for increased military spending when we don’t have the money.
But now that Republicans have control of the Senate as well as the House, the Defense industry is expecting to be stuffed with new money. Thus, we have this headline at Forbes.com, “Election Outcome Is Good News For Defense Industry.”
When your main customer is a political system, elections matter a lot. Everybody in the defense industry knows that, but common sense dictates that companies not take sides in political races for fear of retribution. So don’t expect anyone in the defense sector to be talking in public this week about what a good night it was for the industry on Tuesday. But it was.
The writer goes on to give six reasons why the defense industry is happy that Republicans now have majorities in both houses. Some of them are good reasons, but others not so much.
Republican administrations increase weapons spending, and Democratic administrations decrease it. The Obama Administration came into office promising to rein in wayward Pentagon contractors, and within months announced cancellation of numerous weapons programs. Most of the defense savings realized on its watch have come from the Pentagon’s weapons accounts — so much so that senior Pentagon officials now fear countries like China are closing the gap with America in warfighting technology. The Republican-dominated Congress seated in January will likely take a more balanced approach to the defense budget, in part because so many big-ticket weapons are produced in places that lean toward the GOP.
So they have the more balanced view that just happens to coincide with their states’ method of getting Federal dollars? That’s quite a coincidence. But then there is a much scarier reason:
Republicans are more willing to put boots on the ground. Republicans have been more supportive of the Obama Administration’s air war against ISIS militants than Democrats have, and many of them — like Senator John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — want to go one step further to re-establish an active U.S. military presence on the ground in Iraq. It appears that any isolationist impulses on the GOP’s far right are now in retreat, and Republicans are reverting to the convictions that drove previous interventions in the Middle East. Republicans in Congress will likely pressure the White House to expand the scope of U.S. operations against militants, including the insertion of special operations forces and other ground elements. An expanded military campaign would create new opportunities for the defense industry, especially since it would be funded from accounts not limited by the Budget Control Act.
The Republicans are willing to take us back to Iraq. And this will involve whole new levels of spending that won’t be under any restraints (if there really are any restraints).
But “the isolationist impulses on the GOP’s far right” were driven by voters who were sick of insane and useless wars that left us worse off by every conceivable measure. This same desire drove the Democratic wins in 2006 and the Nobel Prize Winner’s electoral victory in 2008. If the GOP sends troops to Iraq, they are going to lose power again.
The Forbes editorial also predicts that Republicans will get rid of spending caps. So the entire campaign to restrain spending is going to be thrown overboard now that the GOP has the Senate.
This would be a horrible decision. If the Tea Party is real, then it will oppose these moves.