Gates gets an ally

GATES GETS AN ALLY…. In the wake of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ military restructuring plan, the response from lawmakers has been overwhelmingly negative. The administration could use a credible ally willing to express some support for the controversial-but-necessary changes.

Enter Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.). If you have a couple of minutes, check out his defense of the Gates plan on MSNBC this morning. He didn’t come right out and call Joe Scarborough a nut for calling a 4% increase a “cut,” but Sestak did a terrific job of explaining why the administration’s plan makes sense — for the military, for taxpayers, for U.S. national security threats in the 21st century.

And as Brian Beutler, who’s been all over this story all week, explained, “This is important coming from Sestak, for a few reasons. He’s a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He’s a young legislator, but very well regarded by his peers. He’s a retired Admiral (the highest-ranking officer ever elected to Congress), so he knows a thing or two about what the military does and doesn’t need. And though his state and his district stand to lose lucrative contracts under the Gates plan he’s nonetheless rather enthusiastic about it.”

In the meantime, however, the nonsense continues. Rep. Tom Price, a right-wing Republican from Georgia, blasted the White House for the restructuring plan. “It seems the only place the President is willing to cut spending is on the armed forces,” Price said.

Actually, if you take a $513 billion defense budget, and you add $21 billion to it, that’s not a “cut” so much as … oh, never mind. Price wouldn’t understand, anyway. Some folks are a lost cause.

Update: By the way, did you catch Jon Stewart’s segment on this issue last night? Brilliant.

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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.