The "Republicans are better on defense" meme

I'm starting to see this narrative from people that once considered themselves on the left, or still consider themselves on the left, that the Democrats are now worse on most issues for anyone in the working class and/or on the left.
I will refer to this group from here on as the Jimmy Dore Left (JDL), but Dore is far from the only preacher of this philosophy.

The most effective lie has a grain of truth, and the JDL is absolutely 100% correct about one thing:
The Democratic Party sucks. They suck hard. More than that, the JDL is 100% correct that the Democratic Party has betrayed the working class and is entirely bought and owned by the corporate/ruling class.
So if you're looking for me to defend the Democrats then you are wasting your time. Also, its an absolute certainty that someone will comment that this is a defense of the Democrats and/or support for Vote Blue No Matter Who. To that person I will reply now with - You either have a reading comprehension disability or like building strawmen. Take your pick.

Let's start with the defense budget.

The JDL is saying that this is proof that the GOP is further to the Left (i.e. more antiwar) than the Democrats.

McCarthy weighing $75B defense budget cut in quest for speakership

There are two major problems with this story and this narrative.

1) This is nothing more than an idea being floated, and anyone familiar with Washington politics knows that Republicans will never willingly cut defense spending.

UPDATE...His concessions to the holdout Republicans reportedly include demands that any raising of the debt ceiling be accompanied by budget cuts, though it is not clear, yet, what those rule changes might be or whether they would affect defense spending.

What the right-wing of the GOP is proposing today is exactly the same thing that we've seen before.

The Republican-controlled House in 2012 passed two measures that sought to replace the sequester cuts and shield military spending by shifting the burden onto domestic programs, including many that serve the poor, such as Medicaid, food stamps and social services block grants that fund programs like Meals on Wheels. The measure was never taken up in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

That was in 2012. In 2011 we saw the exact same thing.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to rescind $110 billion in mandated cuts to the Pentagon’s budget by pushing these reductions onto domestic programs like Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other mandatory social programs, which are already facing substantial budget cuts.

2) The implication that Republicans are more in favor of defense budget cuts is ridiculous, and easily disproven. In the very same article:

The proposal could earn support from some progressives in Congress, including Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who pitched a $100 billion haircut for the Department of Defense earlier this year.

While the JDL jumped at reporting this rumor, they never mentioned the Lee/Pocan amendment.
The proposed $100B cut failed on a vote of 350 to 78, with 1 Republican voting for passage. 
Sanders introduced a similar bill, and it was defeated 77-23. Not a single Republican voted for it.
I can't remember a single time in my entire life that I've seen a Republican-led bill to cut the defense budget go to a vote even once.

There were lots more proposed amendments that the JDL didn't notice.

A prohibition on funding for the Air Force’s nascent Ground Based Strategic Deterrent — a next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile and its warhead, the W87-1 — from Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.
A prohibition on U.S. military forces in Syria without approval from Congress within one year, from Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.
A prohibition on U.S. military logistical and intelligence support for Saudi air forces conducting strikes in the Yemen civil war, from Rep. Ro Khanna.

So how did the Republicans feel about our bloated defense budget? They loved it.

Key Republicans have warned that cutting the NDAA would cost their support, which Democrats likely need to pass the bill. When the House Rules Committee met Monday to screen amendments, the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said his party likes the bill as-is.

The only real Republican opposition to the bloated defense budget is complaints that the budget is "inadequate".
What do Republicans mean by the defense budget being "inadequate"? They want the defense budget to be MUCH bigger.

As Congress finalizes this year’s defense-spending-authorization bill, a number of high-profile Republican policy makers have started to call for a budget topline that exceeds $1.2 trillion.

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So on one side you have a single instance of something that probably isn't real being reported.
On the other side, you have a mountain of both historic and current facts being ignored.
These people aren't stupid. They already know this. So they are being deliberately dishonest. They are lying to you, and it isn't just this one topic.

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Cassiodorus's picture

in Congress that the money being allocated for Ukraine was and is inadequate to any actual strategic war goals and that, if Congress really does wish to notch a "w" in Ukraine it will vastly increase the Ukraine budget allocations. (Here it must be added that, it there is any extent to which the Russians are "losing" the war today, it is because of flaws in the Russian effort itself -- e.g. men fleeing the country to avoid the draft.) The Ukraine budget is there to provide the indefinite military gravy train that was withdrawn when the US withdrew from Afghanistan. Someone in Congress, however, may want to argue that there's some good money to be made in actually arguing for a swift Ukrainian victory. Oh, sure, the result might be nuclear war. But if they were worried about that they wouldn't be doing what they're doing now.

As for the substance of your article, pretty much everyone in Congress likes pointless war (and it's concomitant high budgets), because pointless wars increase their chances of staying in office. Military corporations keep those campaign donations nice and high, and voters in America are totally kewl with incoherent political messaging, because in a two-party system the only real motivation to vote is fear of electing "the other guy," whose messaging is also incoherent.

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" In a war with China there would be a trade embargo. Military manufacturing in the US would grind to a halt almost immediately. But due to a massive competency crisis in DC, they might push for it regardless." -Philip Pilkington

the dominant wing of the Uniparty and focusing on the blatant treachery of predominant quisling Democrats for emotional reasons rather than practical ones.
BTW, do you remember the Jewish Defense League?

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On to Biden since 1973

@doh1304

The FBI deemed the Jewish Defense League a right-wing terrorist group in their report "Terrorism 2000/2001," but its domestic influence has waned in the years since, and today the JDL has no active chapters in the U.S.

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@doh1304

I suggest that the JDLs are sloppily criticizing the dominant wing of the Uniparty and focusing on the blatant treachery of predominant quisling Democrats for emotional reasons rather than practical ones.

You are almost certainly correct for the regular crowd that you find online. But for Dore and those like him, I strongly suspect less ethical intentions.
I suspect that Dore is taking the Dave Rubin career path after seeing it paying off for Rubin in a big way. Both started out on the Young Turks. Both criticize liberals exclusively, even if they have to make a big reach to do it, while not saying sh*t about conservatives.
The right-wing absolutely LOVES to bring a lefty commentator over to their side, especially if the commentator has some lefty street cred. It helps bring over voters, while also reinforcing the myth that they have the superior ideology. And even if the commentator fails to bring the voter over to the GOP, he helps "poison the well" for those on the Left.

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Lookout's picture

As someone said up thread, it is the uni-party. The impetuous of the cut in defense is for budgetary interests not peace nor anti-war oriented.

It kills me when they call out the dimwits as socialist and the rethugs as fascist...they are both representatives of the same corporate oligarchy.

Left and right labels are a way to divide people and try to get them to identify into artificial, fictional categories.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout

The impetuous of the cut in defense is for budgetary interests not peace nor anti-war oriented.

Some in the JDL are starting to say that conservatives are more antiwar. I'm going to slice that one up too.

I know that some people say "What's the point of criticizing Republicans?" It's because of sh*t like this is my answer. Because when you hammer one side every chance you get, while giving the other side a pass, people naturally get the impression that one side is better than the other.
My essay is simply about this same BS taken to the next logical step - which is dishonesty.

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Lookout's picture

@gjohnsit
at least I hear more anti-war sentiment out of the libertarian wing than the dim(wits)...
but as I said elsewhere today I've become a political atheist...the R vs D argument is moot to my mind. Both are pro-war, pro-oligarch, pro-globalists profiteers. The system is broken and the liars and thieves in DC are not to be trusted.

My 2 cents.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout Unfortunately, criticizing both Rs and Ds often just gets the response of "you are just engaging in both-siderism". When you point out that your criticisms are not any less valid for that, it doesn't get you very far.

I saw one person characterize the Uniparty as "two cheeks of the same ass" and that seemed to sum it up to me.

“The United States is also a one-party state, but with typical American extravagance they have two of them.”-Julius Nyerere

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Lookout's picture

@MichaelSF

two cheeks of the same arse... speaking of which his Sunday show is about to start. He often has good guests. I usually fast forward from guest to guest, but often the monologue is quite good.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@MichaelSF

Unfortunately, criticizing both Rs and Ds often just gets the response of "you are just engaging in both-siderism".

My answer to that would be "criticizing one side for doing something, while giving the other side a pass is hypocritical."
This goes double when the side you are giving a pass is marginally worse.

What really frustrates me is that pointing out that the GOP is marginally worse almost always gets people to flame for "defending the Dems" and "Vote blue no matter who".
It's perfectly fine for me to point out the Repubs are even worse than the Dems, while still saying that neither party meets even the minimal standards needed to be worthy of supporting. In fact, to do anything else would be me being dishonest.

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@gjohnsit I've got no problem with criticizing both, but at some point it starts to seem like "X is 195% worse, but Y is 205% worse". When both (I was going to say sides, but they are really just different points on the same side) are so bad, drawing a small distinction seems to not mean much.

So I end up with an "a pox on both their houses" attitude. Maybe offer criticism for "the horrible thing of the moment" and not make a big effort to distinguish who is doing it? That might be a way to keep a focus on policies rather than getting dragged into partisan discussions.

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@MichaelSF

but at some point it starts to seem like "X is 195% worse, but Y is 205% worse"

Am I the only one to notice that people like me that say "Dems are awful, but Repubs are worse" get relentlessly criticized by the Left.
However, people who say "Repubs are awful, but Dems are worse" rarely get criticized by people on the Right.

In fact, people who say Repubs are awful, but Dems are worse" generally get patted on the back for being truth-tellers by both people on the right and disaffected people on the Left.
Meanwhile, someone like me, who says "Dems are awful, but Repubs are worse" are left isolated and even resented, despite having the facts on my side.

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@gjohnsit 15 year lesson in what the Democrats are good for.
ya gotta be some kind of stupid at this point.

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@kelly

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doesn't seem to matter the color of the crooks of the moment
red or blue, don't matter who or which
they are all in the game to make each other rich

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@QMS
Chris Hedges uses far more words to make a consonant case, and takes the current trajectory of our failed government a bit further into a future than I am comfortable with. Not comfortable with only because both his words and thoughts are precise and irrefutable. And I agree with his alarm and pessimistic prognostications. (Looks like his fascination with erudite words has rubbed off on me a bit Smile

Anyway, Hedges’ latest Americas Theatre of the Absurd is not to be missed if you want to be completely disabused of any remaining hope that our dysfunctional government will someday heal itself.

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“What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

GJS, If it is any consolation I now think much less of your ethics too.

" But for Dore and those like him, I strongly suspect less ethical intentions."

I just don't think you get the JDL. I think almost everyone in that group started with Dem leanings. In my case I caucused with Dems. Got to see all of their machinations at a local level of how they defeat actual democracy. I canvassed, phone banked and door knocked for Obama. He had sold me out by the time he was inaugurated. I donated 2700$ to Sanders in 2016, 2800 in 2020. Organized and hustled for the cause. Now Sanders has completely sold me out.
I have no reason to hate the Reps. I always knew they were my enemy. I never expected anything good out of them. BUT, I did expect something good out of the Dems. And they failed me over and over. And not just the elected Dems. Now the average D voter is incapable of having any constructive conversation. Anything at all that is said that is not in perfect alignment with NYTimes and Maddow will blow their top.
If JD and the JDL did not exist there would not be a legit critique of the current Dems. We would have to listen to Fox News to hear about how the Dems suck. But we know they suck. And Jimmy's view of how and why they suck resonates a lot more than Tucker c.
As a stylist I get to have 20-40 good conversations per week. My clientele is about 70/30 D to R. In the past 6 years the D crowd has lost their mind. They stand for nothing. They can't converse about anything. Their brains have been under a constant attack by the Russiagate crowd until their thinking turned to mush.
But oddly, the R crowd now can converse. I can ask them challenging questions and they can respond without losing it. They can admit the shortcomings of their party. The corruptness. And YES, they are questioning this countries hawkish approach to foreign policy. Many to the point of being fairly labelled as Anti War. NONE of my D clients could be labelled anti war.
IMHO if you aren't anti war you have no ethics at all. And from my perspective that means almost the entirety of the D party. And those who would defend the D party. And those who would attack the JDL.

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@wouldsman @wouldsman

I just don't think you get the JDL.

As Doh1304 suggested, people have been betrayed and they have an emotional response. That's understandable.
However, I was quoting actual facts and JD was intentionally ignoring them. That SHOULD also cause you to have an emotional response, but for some reason it doesn't. You should ask yourself why not.

And I'll be addressing the antiwar thing soon.

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@wouldsman that you have.
I think Jimmy was talking about using the "force the vote" idea or strategy more than he was about Rs being trustworthily anti-war. As a political slogan, anti-war is used currently by Rs to get donations, war is being used by Ds to get $.
Interesting comment, wouldsman.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Pluto's Republic's picture

@wouldsman

....from my gleaning of comments in select blogs.

As a stylist I get to have 20-40 good conversations per week. My clientele is about 70/30 D to R. In the past 6 years the D crowd has lost their mind. They stand for nothing. They can't converse about anything. Their brains have been under a constant attack by the Russiagate crowd until their thinking turned to mush.

But oddly, the R crowd now can converse. I can ask them challenging questions and they can respond without losing it. They can admit the shortcomings of their party. The corruptness. And YES, they are questioning this countries hawkish approach to foreign policy.

.
Witnessing the brain damage that the Dems suffered from the Russia Hoax was a terrible thing. At first I thought they would eventually recover and normalize when the hoax was revealed. USians have recovered from many destructive government lies in the past. But the Russia Hoax was an AI managed psyop that used many different information sources at once. As described here. Moreover, it seems to be ongoing. So, for many people, there will be no coming back. Clearly, the enormously successful Hoax was harder on the Democrats because they have to manage more intense levels of cognitive dissonance — suddenly assuming intellectual and moral positions that are diametrically opposed to those they have held for most of their lives.

I don't believe that party politics has much influence on global affairs, including wars and war spending. Those decisions are made elsewhere. In the US congress today, anti-war policy and defense budget criticism always amount to nothing. I think it is safe to predict that military spending will continue to accelerate long into the future.

No matter what the Constitution may say, and regardless of any anti-war noises produced by elected DC politicians — Congress will continue its ritual of "approving" each increased defense budget, without fail. This money represents the revenues of the entire US defense industry, including extreme salaries and bonuses. It is a reflection of the US economy, which must increase year-over-year to avoid a debt crisis that triggers an economic catastrophe.

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Populations don’t like wars. They have to be lied into it.
That means we can be “truthed” into peace. — Julian Assange
Creosote.'s picture

@wouldsman @wouldsman
There's a base of trust in what what you do, by the sound of it.
Very welcome.
Conversations pursued informally in a confidential situation over months and years feels right and is very rare.
My grocery clerk (ex-UPS), an insightful anchor for so long, has now found a far warmer non-GMO space.

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for the first time in decades. LBJ is reputed to have said that he had turned the country over to the Republicans for a generation by getting civil rights bills passed. It turned into two generations before Obama and a changing demographic mix smote the dragon of angry white male politics, In the office job culture, we can all see the ultimate success of the Civil Rights laws. Me-too and woke culture are concomitant victories for our long suffering political aspirations. For 50 years dunb-ass manipulation kept us frustrated losers.

Now Obama and his corporate friendly governance has turned the tables and the idea of winning is no longer a pipe dream and the power of the state and corporate power can be seen as benevolent forces against ignorance, sexism and racism. The working class now deplorably represents all three vices and when what is remaining of the traditional left dissents from this triumphant view of the Democratic Party, we look like carping losers -- and we are.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

snoopydawg's picture

At least they fought for concessions instead of just folding and putting Pelosi back in power and knowing that she would block any progressive legislation like she has been for the last 30 odd years.

Btw were you debating Jimmy live? You make it sound like you were.

However, I was quoting actual facts and JD was intentionally ignoring them.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

@snoopydawg

At least they fought for concessions instead of just folding and putting Pelosi back in power

I endorsed Force The Vote. I also didn't believe Russiagate.
That isn't what I was referring to above.

I'm talking about what he's done SINCE Force The Vote.

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snoopydawg's picture

She stabbed him with a knife whilst her parents slept.

The old essay is dead so I’m posting this here.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

@snoopydawg

but back stabbing politicians is not exactly news
internecine violence is also quite prevalent when
fighting for a committee assignment or procedural vote

Internecine comes from the Latin internecinus ("fought to the death" or "destructive"), which traces to the verb "necare" ("to kill")

the temperament of a 12 year old is also apropos

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