Gutting the Pentagon

GUTTING THE PENTAGON…. Sarah Palin campaigned in Erie, Pennsylvania, yesterday and blasted Democrats for allegedly wanting to cut funding from the Pentagon budget.

“We’re fighting two wars, with a force strength in need of rebuilding, not in being gutted,” Palin said. “And they [Democrats] think it’s the perfect time to radically reduce defense spending? What are they thinking?”

Yes, what kind of monster would decide, in the midst of two wars, to cut defense spending? Why, to hear Palin tell it, you’d have to be some kind of nut to even think about reducing Pentagon funding right now.

With this in mind, it’s probably an inconvenient time to point out that John McCain has promised to reduce defense spending. He told ABC News in April:

“I’m cutting billions and billions out of defense spending which are not earmarks. The $400 million ship that they had to scrap, it was supposed to cost $140 billion. The $30 billion I believe it is, add-on for a system in the Army that’s gone up $30 billion and we still haven’t got any result from it. The $50 million contract to some buddy of Air Force generals. I mean, there’s so many billions out there just in defense.”

It wasn’t just a random slip; this is actually a clearly articulated McCain campaign policy.

McCain’s top economic adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, blithely supposes that cuts in defense spending could make up for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and the subsequent shrinkage in federal revenues. Get that? The national security candidate wants to cut spending on our national security.

So, Sarah Palin, what are you thinking? Based on your attacks yesterday, it sounds like you may not be comfortable with McCain’s plan to reduce the Pentagon’s budget in the midst of two wars.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.