The Parable of Paul Ryan and the Tanks:
So adorable little Romney sidekick, a Rafalca-in-training, if you will, Paul Ryan was talking to the good people in Lima, Ohio last month. If you've ever been to Lima, you know that it is one of those godforsaken ugly towns where one factory, a Ford engine plant, and the defense industry provide a lot of the jobs. Its only saving graces are a pretty good diner downtown and its proximity to Toledo (which is much nicer than you'd think).
Ryan told the gathered denizens of the northwest Ohio hellhole, "If we keep showing that the only thing we want to do is gut our military, that projects weakness abroad. And by projecting weakness abroad, our adversaries are so much more tempted to test us, and our allies are so much less willing to trust us." The man whose budget would slash everything in sight except defense was talking about a Lima plant where they work on Abrams tanks. The President had proposed a defense budget that stopped the manufacture and refurbishment of the tanks.
Yes, the congressman, who voted for the budget sequester told the couple of thousand people from the dull, flat landscape gathered to hear debt-reduction Jesus preach at the civic center, said, "Look, Lima, I know you understand when you have a president who has proposed again and again to shut down this tank factory — the only one we have — over a budget gimmick." Ryan continued, "We’re not going to shut down the only tank plant we have in America. We need peace through strength."
Throughout the Obama administration and, indeed, throughout this goddamned endless election cycle, you have heard the mantra from the GOP that political leaders need to listen to "the generals on the ground." Hey, here's Paul Ryan saying just that a couple of weeks before he dove into tank world in Lima: "[W]here we've taken issue is making sure that the generals on the ground get the resources they need." Mitt Romney often invokes the "commanders on the ground."
So you'd think that if, well, shit, say a general said, "We don't need anymore fucking tanks," they'd be lining up like slavering whores to service the leaders of the service men and women. 'Cause, you know, the Army Chief of Staff, General (notice the title) Raymond Odierno informed Congress that they have enough tanks and if they keep spending billions of dollars on more, they won't be able to make better, more modern murder machines. That would seem to be a "general," since his name starts with it.
173 members of Congress, though, in a rare bipartisan moment, wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on April 20 and informed him that the Army's getting the fucking tanks, like it or not. The letter writers worried that the U.S. wouldn't be able to sell enough tanks to other nations to sustain the Lima factory; that would be "inadequate to sustain the industrial base and in some cases uncertain. In light of this, modest and continued Abrams production for the Army is necessary to protect the industrial base."
Do you get this? The military is saying let's save a little money here. Congress is saying that the jobs are more important, so let's just build totally unnecessary shit just to please defense contractors. President Obama left out the money. Congress restored it. But government doesn't create jobs, as Mitt Romney said, right? And, now, Paul Ryan is using spending on some utter waste of taxpayer money, except as a jobs program for Lima, Ohio, as a cudgel to bludgeon the president. How many lies, how much hypocrisy and contempt can be heaped into one story? This is not to mention how it demonstrates just how dependent the nation is on government spending which is tax dollars getting doled out whether it's for useless tanks or bridge repair.
Are you not entertained?