There have been a few key issues that the left has harped extra hard on Obama for, certain pet topics that are a little more important than the rest. In the realm of the economy, one big button has been the idea of cutting back on defense spending. It’s not that we dislike defense, it’s that we realize that 2011 is not a time when defense means having a Noah’s Ark of tanks and fighter jets.
However, although Obama himself has paid lip service to the notion, there’s been a noted lack of actual progression down that path. I’d never considered that a new defense secretary* would be a harbinger of things to come. If John Bennett of The Hill is right, though, Leon Panetta’s nomination could mean that we’ll be finally getting those cuts we’ve been asking for.
“Putting Panetta in as Defense secretary means Obama now has an ally at the Pentagon,” said one senior GOP congressional aide. “He will be more inclined to agree with the president on a number of issues where Gates might have pushed back or disagreed with the president.”
“Panetta will have to enact the cuts that Obama wants,” the GOP aide continued. “While Gates has control of the [four military] services, they’re likely to challenge Panetta. That makes SecDef a tougher job than CIA director.”
Undoubtedly any kind of movement in Washington can prove difficult if you’re changing “industries”, but if it’s indeed the case that Panetta is an ally of Obama’s that puts things in a much better line than they’ve been. Now I know the right’s going to holler about the dangers of having a “yes man” as SecDef (I like that term), but hell, we dealt with the rubber-stamp executive branch for eight years under Bush, it’ll be a nice switcheroo to have some left-leaning people in charge around Washington.
Remember, the people elected Obama. They want him to be able to get things done as he sees fit.
* I just noticed that we still use “secretary”. Isn’t that considered offensive or something? I say we use “Defense Administrative Assistant” or “Administrative Aid”.