Political smoke, sequester and deceit

Recently, Concerned Veterans for America sponsored a meeting at a VFW Post in Wilmington, North Carolina.(link) Featured speaker, Ilario Pantano, gave a passionate and enlightened talk about current federal political angst over the so-called “sequester” fiasco playing out in Washington. In 2012 Mr. Pantano lost a close race for Congress against an entrenched, well-connected local Democrat Mike McIntyre. But he hasn’t given up his interest in public service.

Marine veteran Pantano spoke about our national debt and excessive federal spending being a “national security issue.” He expressed concern over the “nature” of sequestration mandated spending reductions—across-the-board rather than targeted reductions of “fat and bloat.” Pantano blamed all parties in Washington and said that the “defense contract system is broken.” Surprisingly, (or maybe not) many defense “hawks” recognize that our military-industrial complex contributes to wasteful spending. It feeds on political favoritism.

Mr. Pantano criticized defense contract lobbyists who contribute to political campaigns with expectations of congressional support to expand defense spending in the various States. As he puts it, “Big money interests control defense spending.” Pantano agrees with CVA CEO Pete Hegseth that Defense Department spending could be cut without jeopardizing our security.

Mr. Hegseth wrote an article in Time Magazine last month calling sequestration a “bi-partisan cop out”—“it does virtually nothing about long-term debt reduction” or “spending trend lines.” And he doesn’t exempt defense spending from scrutiny. “The Pentagon has never undergone a full audit, and continues to delay such efforts. Billions of dollars could be saved,” if weapons purchases and private contracting could be “meaningfully reformed,” writes Hegseth.(link)

In a National Review article, Hegseth points out that President Obama continues to blame Republicans in Congress for the sequester plan, but in 2011 Obama said that he would veto “any effort to get rid of these automatic spending cuts.”(link)

In my opinion, President Obama adds to the problem. He has sequestered himself from responsibility. He immaturely withdraws from the fray. In perpetual campaign mode he avoids his primacy— the buck-never-got-there. Everyone is to blame except him. Narcissistically delusional he can’t face reality and is dysfunctional as a leader.

To cover leadership failure, the Obama administration has engaged in deceit, outright lies and threats. Pete Hegseth wrote that common ground and compromise won’t happen because Obama is “too busy using his bully pulpit to blast Congress for policies that he proposed and signed into law…18 months ago.” Political smoke and deceit hides a sequestered president.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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