Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 1, 2011

THE 'PARTY OF NATIONAL SECURITY' NO MORE.... About five years ago, the Bush administration's Dubai Ports World deal sparked considerable controversy. In a counter-terrorism era, the argument went at the time, port security had to remain a key national priority.

Apparently, Republicans' priorities have changed in the years since.

The GOP war on government spending is set to claim an unexpected casualty: port security in New York and New Jersey.

A measure passed by the House to fund the rest of the fiscal year would slash federal anti-terrorism cash for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by a stunning 66%, a Daily News analysis found.

Nearly $34 million was budgeted to help keep the ports safe, but the Republican-led House voted to spend only $11 million in its proposal to cut $61 billion this year.

The cut was included in the GOP spending plan -- dubbed the "So Be It Spending Plan" in some circles -- passed by the House two weeks ago.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y) said this week, "From a security perspective and a dollars and cents perspective, it's very shortsighted, it's dangerous, and it's wrong.

Of course, King voted for the Republicans' spending plan, despite the fact that it included this shortsighted, dangerous, and wrong provision.

Indeed, I'm a little surprised this angle hasn't gotten more attention in recent weeks. We know Republicans have targeted key domestic priorities -- education, health care, transportation, medical research, food safety, job training, etc. -- with brutal cuts, but these are issues "only liberals" care about.

What's received far less attention is the fact that Republicans went after security-related measures, too. This includes gutting border security, which the GOP generally pretends to care about, and now port security in New York and New Jersey.

This also includes cuts to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, slashing funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration's counter-proliferation programs, and even eliminating funds to maintain the nation's nuclear stockpile.

House Republicans even voted to cut housing subsidies for homeless American veterans.

I realize the GOP considers the mantle of "the party of national security" something of a birthright, but the Republican spending-cut plan should, if evidence and reason had any bearing on the discourse, undermine that reputation.

Steve Benen 2:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

It won't.

Posted by: map106 on March 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

That ultrasonic pitch given off by polystyrene-upon-polystyrene friction has always driven me crazy- I have to grit my teeth and squint my eyes.

Even among plastics, polystyrene is one of the most incredibly stable materials humans have ever made. The cups will naturally physically disintegrate into those little foamy bumps, but nobody knows if those gross white specks will chemically disintegrate. People are saying "more than half a millenium" as a guess; the lifetime might be shortened by e.g. a fire right here in the next 500 years.

Posted by: maverratick on March 1, 2011 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, man, get over it. No one in the media (no one who counts, anyway) is going to call the GOP out. As far as political discourse is concerned, the major media figures have all but stipulated the GOP talking points.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on March 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

The reality is that Republicans care about nothing but seeing that the richest Americans get richer. Everything else is window dressing and dog whistles for the deluded Tea Partiers.

Posted by: ceilidth on March 1, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the good thing is we already have a ready name for any terrorist attack through those ports. The "So Be It" Attack.

Posted by: John Dillinger on March 1, 2011 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this "Snow White" you talk of mirror ?

Posted by: FRP on March 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

The "So be it" attack, that's funny!

Posted by: Trollopoly on March 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Except that, if a successful attack comes through one of those ports, it will obviously be Obama's fault.

Posted by: Kris on March 1, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, I'm a little surprised this angle hasn't gotten more attention in recent weeks.

Maybe, someday - long after I'm gone, I assume -- Democrats will have an epiphany and realize that these things dont "get attention" all by themselves. It takes effort, coordination, determination, and more than occasionally the spending of money to "buy a megaphone." Republicans seem to have learned this 30 years ago; there is no excuse for Democrats to be so slow.

How do you avoid the fate pointed out by Kris (2:39 pm)? You get your messaging out in front, and run ads now that say "if this happens, it is because Republicans put tax cuts for the rich above avoiding the next 9-11." And you make sure every Dem says it on every microphone they can find, to every reporter they can catch, at every town hall back home, and on paid DNC tv spots if necessary.

And then pigs will take wing.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 1, 2011 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's a ploy. They (the leadership, at least) never cared about border security except as a way to beat up Democrats. So now they defund it further, and then they can blame Obama for letting brown people in.

Further, there's literally nothing they can do to lose that "mantle of national security". Fucking 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan failed to do it. It'll never happen.

Posted by: Nobody Important on March 1, 2011 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with Kris; zero risk of backlash for Republicans.

Posted by: Monty on March 1, 2011 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry about homeless vets. I received an email just this morning telling me that they are now listed on the animal rescue website. I am sure private charity will provide for all of our homeless vets.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

If the democrats had cut the funding for port security/border security etc, the republicans would be wringing their hands and scaring the bejesus out of the public saying that Bin Laden now would be attacking, you know, with mushroom clouds et al.

Posted by: j on March 1, 2011 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kris - that was my very first thought. And don't forget, in the pretty recent past Republicans have actually said they hoped for another terrorist attack (the Arkansas GOP chairman in 2007, Charlie Black with the McCain campaign in 2008, and there are probably a lot of other examples, but these came up first).

In the wake of an attack, do you really think that panicked sheep (the vast majority of Americans, I'm beginning to think) will remember that Republicans cut the money? No, they'll only remember on whose watch it occurred.

Posted by: blondie on March 1, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

But hey, IOKIYAR! I knew the day the House budget bill got passed that it was chock full of winning campaign commercials for the Democrats delivered on a silver platter for the word to witness the GOP's blatant hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, I - like my liberal friends who frequently comment on this site - am jaded enough to believe that the Dems will once again do everything humanly possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just witness the commercials used last year despite one of the worst records of GOP govt malfeasance in history. *sigh*

Posted by: Kiweagle on March 1, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

From the School of the Obvious: it's seriously time for Republicans to start getting relentlessly called out as enacting policies that endanger the well-being and national security of the nation.

Posted by: June on March 1, 2011 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

If the democrats had cut the funding for port security/border security etc, the republicans would be wringing their hands and scaring the bejesus out of the public saying that Bin Laden now would be attacking, you know, with mushroom clouds et al.
Posted by: j

******************

right and CNN's Wolf Blizter would be masturbating in front of his camera's he would be so jacked up to inform his viewers about what the democrats are doing to our national security .. so to with the nightly news corporate pimps .. it would be 24/7 .. and david 'swollen lips' gregory would have his typical all repiglican panel on his 'meet the patsies' going off on this ..

Posted by: stormskies on March 1, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Indeed, I'm a little surprised this angle hasn't gotten more attention in recent weeks."

And who did you expect to pay said attention? DianeBrianKatie? NYTWaPo? Radio Fox Pyongyang?

Posted by: Tirebiter in Sector R on March 1, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is not lack of foresightedness at all. If someone brings a nuke into one of these ports, that means: (a) maybe a couple million fewer liberals and icky brown people in existence; (b) correspondingly fewer Democratic-leaning seats in the House of Representatives; (c) an iron-clad reason to denounce that icky brown President as soft on terrorism and incapable of governing; and (d) just maybe a reason to depose him and institute permanent martial law. Don't put it past them to actually arrange it.

Posted by: Reynardine on March 1, 2011 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

A measure passed by the House to fund the rest of the fiscal year would slash federal anti-terrorism cash for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey [...] -- NY Daily News

Actually, this one doesn't surprise me, nor is it for the first time. When the Homeland Security was first set up and monies were being apportioned, the original blueprint had some Lower Piddlinton type towns, in the middle of nowhere, getting as much as NYC. NYC votes Dem and is inhabited by a lot of immigrants. Who cares if they get zapped? Serves 'em right.

Repubs are nothing if not consistent when it comes to "sock it to the Dems!"

Posted by: exlibra on March 1, 2011 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

"In the wake of an attack, do you really think that panicked sheep (the vast majority of Americans...) will remember that Republicans cut the money?" blondie @ 3:36 PM.

There you go again, thinking like ol' Turd Blossom: all politics, all the time!
Much of how the "vast majority of Americans" would react to another such tragedy depends upon how those governing the country react.
If you believe your only responsiblity is to win the next election campaign, then you'll react as Rove et al did. Try as I might, I can't picture the present administration following in Rove's footsteps. Unfortunately, I can imagine Republican/Teabaggers trying to blame President Obama for any tragedy even though they were the ones who cut security funding. I wouldn't want to be the glass-housed Republican/Teabaggers who throw the first first stone, though. Broken glass is really, really sharp.
And it can cut both ways...

Posted by: Doug on March 1, 2011 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

The truth is that we need to start cutting the budget of the "defense/security" complex ASAP, not only because it's become huge, bloated, and ineffective, but also because it's a much better option than most of the other cuts being suggested.

I don't think too many tears would flow from the public at large if the TSA's budget was zeroed out, for example.

Posted by: mfw13 on March 2, 2011 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly