Burning Question

Republicans and the military: No longer BFFs?

A provocative Democracy Arsenal article suggests that some conservatives who claim to be pro-military are routinely throwing obstacles in the Pentagon's way

The GOP has long had a reputation as the national-security party. But there's a growing "rift between the U.S. military and the leadership of American conservatism," says Heather Hurlburt at Democracy Arsenal. Hardline politicians "who ritually stand up in front of the public and say they want to 'listen to the commanders,' [actually] ignore the commanders on issue after issue." Congressional Republicans, Hurlburt says, are arguing against Pentagon officials on everything from the threat of war with Iran, to military detention of terror suspects, to green energy initiatives designed to cut the armed forces' whopping fuel bills. Is the long love affair between Republicans and the military on the rocks?

Yes. Conservatives are actively thwarting the military: Republicans love peddling the conventional wisdom that they're pro-military and Democrats aren't, says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast. These days it's President Obama who's listening to the commanders, and Republicans who are "actively thwarting Pentagon planning and goals." Nowhere is this dissonance "weirder" than in GOP efforts to force the Pentagon to waste its money on "more expensive fuels (coal-to-liquid technology)" instead of making use of less expensive alternative fuels."Republicans against the Pentagon"

Actually, Republicans still support the Pentagon: Because Congress failed to cut the deficit last year, the military is facing $500 billion in automatic budget cuts over 10 years, says Owen Graham at The Foundry. "The stakes couldn't be higher for the Defense Department — and America's long-term national security." Military leaders and Republicans in Congress want to reverse the dangerous military cuts, but President Obama and his fellow Democrats are standing in the way."What U.S. Civilian and Military Leaders Are Saying About Defense Cuts"

The rift isn't complete, but it's real: Since the president and his commanders see eye-to-eye on so many things, a lot of this can be chalked up to the "radicalized" GOP's knee-jerk opposition to anything Obama favors, says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post. The GOP should beware. If this continues, conservatives might risk "getting a reputation for lacking 'seriousness' on national security," and that's "awfully hard to shake." Just ask any Democrat."Unserious: The GOP and the Pentagon"

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