The uniformed services are trying to lock in the next administration by creating a political cost for holding the line on defense spending. Conservative groups are hoping to ramp up defense spending as a tool to limit options for a Democratic Congress and president to pass new, and potentially costly, social programs, including health care reform.
They also like the idea of creating an unrealistically high baseline of expectations for defense spending that will allow them to claim President Obama has cut defense spending.
As the editorial continues, this duplicitous strategy creates a false choice between defense spending and domestic spending for the sake of Republican political advantage. Malign as this may be, I don’t particularly see it working. If nothing else, this election was a highly corroborative referendum on Democratic domestic policies. People want health care reform and they want to end the War in Iraq. It’s unclear to me how this strategy is supposed to make the Republican message more resonant with a majority of Americans.