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Loretta Sanchez And The Defense Machine Hustle

by: David Dayen

Fri Aug 10, 2007 at 13:40:17 PM PDT

As usual, it would be better to quote this Digby post verbatim, but let me just give you the relevant section from the article in question:

(Loretta) Sanchez, Orange County's only Democratic member of Congress, voted in 2002 against giving President Bush authorization to invade Iraq. More recently she voted to begin pulling troops out within 90 days.

Tuesday night Sanchez said she could not support the protesters (who want to cut funding for the war) because the $145 billion in Iraq war funding was in the same bill that would provide money to build the C-17 aircraft in California.

"I never voted for this war," she said. But "I'm not going to vote against $2.1 billion for C-17 production, which is in California. That is just not going to happen."

Sanchez has been consistently against the war, and she cannot be fully blamed for protecting her constituents.  But she's constrained by the fact that a major military contractor in her district has a gun to her head.  Particularly in California, but all over the country really, the massing of the war machine has a definite impact on policy.  They put their factories in all these different districts, so that shuttering an obsolete weapons system will be met with enormous resistance.  This ensures that you can never decrease military spending or even keep it the same.  And eventually, all these systems have to be justified.  Through war.

This is approximately why the nightly news has all of these ads for Lockheed Martin and Boeing on them.  I can't buy a 757, but Boeing can keep that news network in line by threatening to drop their ads if they stray from the party line.

Here's Digby:

It's just another way that big money distorts our politics. Sanchez's statement makes it quite clear that the "power of the purse" is not about stopping anything. It's about funding all kinds of things that have been set up over many years to keep politicians like Sanchez in line. She really does have to answer to her constituents --- many of whom make their living off the military industrial complex dime. You can't blame her.

I don't even think public financing will stop this.  You're talking about thousands of constituents' jobs.  And California embodies this problem as much as any state in the union.  It's something we really have to think about.  How do we, after 60 years of massive military buildup, put this genie back in the bottle?

(This isn't limited to defense, by the way, John Dingell's attempt to upend CAFE standard legislation preferred by the Speaker comes from him protecting his constituents, just as resistance to gas taxes comes from legislators protecting theirs.)

David Dayen :: Loretta Sanchez And The Defense Machine Hustle
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And not just Loretta (0.00 / 0)
At the SFYD meeting on Wednesday, somebody asked Sen. Kuehl (D-Santa Monica)'s health care guru about possible job loss from the insurance sector.

So, we're going to keep going in a high-admin costs systems so that we can have...high administrative costs? Seems kinda circular to me. And ultimately, this problem is really a fault of democracy. It ain't pretty, and it doesn't always get us to the best policy positions, but rather the most popular. History has borne out the problems in that theory.

The problems is that there is no such thing as a benevolent monarch, so we muddle on the best we can working with the flawed system of government that we have.

By the by, I think Loretta really, really needs to be commended on all of her good votes on the war. Sure, this one sucks, but like Dave says, this is really a systemic problem.

I think?

"The bureaucracy is expanding... (0.00 / 0)
to met the needs of the expanding Bureaucracy."

[ Parent ]
I don't want to say it's easy (0.00 / 0)
But it's somewhat simple.  There has to be a commitment to training people for and then creating different jobs.  The economy has been set up over the years to consistently keep people's employment insecure and make stable jobs such as those in the defense industry desirable.  As soon as people don't need them because other industries have been developed, the power declines.

Is that easy? Obviously not.  You have to start targeting developing new industries by targeted education programs, r&d funding, etc. and along the way navigate the minefield (no pun intended) of not pissing off rich and established corporations.  But any plan for the future that doesn't explicitly or implicitly include something along these lines is destined to end poorly.

It goes deeper than Democracy... (0.00 / 0)
these are the sorts of choices individuals have to make for themselves and their families on a daily basis.  Ideology rarely triumphs over putting food on the table.  And so far the War, as generally unpopular as it is according to the polls, isn't seen to be cutting into people's ability to put food on the table.  So either the war needs to be perceived as threatening people's livelihood - or people need to a reach a point where their jobs are so insecure they don't care, before you will see them voting their ideology over their personal needs. 

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