In another one of those little moments that shows just how far from orthodoxy the minority GOP has fallen, the Republican House caucus threatens, plausibly, to vote against a bill funding America’s continued presence in Afghanistan, unless the administration excises non-defense spending (“socialism”).
Lest we forget, Democrats, too, have used defense bills as battlegrounds for larger economic issues: Senate Democrats nearly canned a Bush administration-backed $87 billion war spending bill in favor of an identical bill, to be funded by reversing Bush’s most irresponsible upper-class redistributive tax cuts, but fell just short.
And we payed for it. The distinction between voting against a funding mechanism and voting against the funding itself is tough to draw for a bored public, and eminently spinnable. One such fight functionally ended Senator Kerry (D-MA)’s run in 2004. It’s the stuff Republican dreams are made of: a chance to oversimplify a debate, excise nuance, gloss over irresponsible tax cuts, and make Democrats look weak, all at once!
We could do the same if Obama’s bill comes to a vote, and Republicans stonewall it. The difference between our parties? We won’t. But we probably should.